Pielpajärvi Wilderness Church
The word 'Siida' can mean the following: reindeer village, reindeer herd, village, home, habitat, living environment. It is a place which offers security and nourishment to a communal heritage and way of life; maintain identity and cultural self-esteem.
Before darkness comes, we are in the open-air. Shelters and settler's cabins. Hunters traps and elusive squirrels, birds and fish with antlers. But no bears. So we follow the human-made trails.
Example fauna and animal presence blends in. Still motion. The ability to adapt to a longer dormant period. A matter of getting by with a small amount of light between very short but abundant growing periods.
It was a 6.5 km walk through wilderness landscape to the 18th Century wooden church. It used to be the site of the old religious and economic centre of Inari district, sitting on a birch-clad hill behind Lake Pielpajärvi.
There were regular and irregular signs to follow. Regardless, the bright orange paisley-pattern of the headscarf danced through the crispy footsteps and winter blue-brown landscape.
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| december || october |
Before it was too late, they arrived at the church.
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| n68.94914 e27.11480 || Wilderness Church |
A flash of the digital camera highlighted the empty congregation. The wedding parties happen in a different season, and they normally arrive by boat, with a shorter walk in their celebratory costume. All that was left was the priest's tunic hanging up in a cupboard, and some used candles.
Both of them signed the guest book by torchlight, and left. On reaching the destination, the furthest point of their journey into the wilderness, they paused shortly against the nearby wooden shelter.