One Stone Island

Anyone who follows me on Twitter might have seen my weird hashtag for #OneStoneIsland. And anyone who follows me on Instagram has seen lots of pics during the years from said island. I thought a small explanation would be in order for those of my friends who I’ve got to know recently, and those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about.

Our family owns an island. Cool, huh? Yes, it is actually very cool. My grandmother’s father bought the island and built the first cabin on it in 1920. It was at the time when Finland had prohibition and the family legend goes that the island was used to smuggle liquor from Sweden.

During the last Ice Age the area where I come from was under a glacier. That’s why the ground rises from the sea every year a little bit. So since my great grandfather’s days the island has got bigger. It was actually three separate islands in a row which were connected by narrow stone bridges. Nowadays the stone bridges are at least 5 metres from the shore.
Another small cabin was added at the opposite end of the island after a few years and in the 1950s a third one was built in the middle. There are two small woodsheds with privies attatched and an old sauna near to the oldest cabin.

The old sauna was built of cardboard. Yes, cardboard. Well, inside it was panelled with spruce. The sauna never was in use during my lifetime. It was full of old doors and a tiny sailingboat and loads and loads of junk until eleven years ago. In 2005 my dad pulled off the cardboards and we renovated the old sauna into a tiny cabin for me.

My aunt stays in the smallest cabin, my uncle and his daughters and their families in the cabin in the middle (they live half a day’s trip away, so can visit only seldom) and my dad in the oldest cabin. And the old sauna is my cabin.

I have lived my whole life in town, but I know as much or more about living in the nature as some friends of mine who have lived in the country. There’s no running water or electricity on the island, though the larger cabins have gas stoves for rainy days and morning tea. We used to use an old well to store food until a few years ago when we got a few gas fridges. My dad and his siblings retired and started spending so much time on the island that they felt that pulling up the food from the well was too much trouble.

If I have to pick one thing in my life that defines me, it would be this island. I spent all the summers of my childhood there, reading on the terrace built on the shore, going to sauna every evening, sitting by the open fire at night.

The actual name of the island on map (those maps which actually show the island) is Enstenen, which is Swedish for either One Stone or Juniper Stone. One Stone Island sounded better to me, so I took the liberty of free translation. The island has also been called Grevsö (Count’s Island) according to my great grandfather’s surname, and Solö (Sun Island) because, I guess, it’s at the very edge of the mainland and most of the clouds stay on the mainland. The town I come from is about 20 km away and it has been called the sunniest town in Finland, so maybe this has something to do with the name.

I’m heading back to the island tomorrow. It’s the best place to let go of the world. To conserve the battery I can use social media about once a day, and sometimes I even forget that. I have a long bookshelf the length of one wall and a cupboard with a couple of smaller shelves filled with books that are waiting for my company.

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