One Man's Waters: A Finn's Lifelong Relationship with Water and Waterways
In Finland, the land of the thousand lakes, water and waterways are an inseparable part of the individual environmental relationship. Earlier, I have suggested that environmental historians should not only study eminent environmentalists but also ordinary people and their life-long environmental relationships. I have also stated that oral history is irreplaceable in studying contemporary individual environmental experiences (Rossi 1995; 2004; 2007). In this article, I examine the water relationships of one individual, a Finnish man, Frans Lind (1903-1988). He was a painter employed by the Ahlström Corporation in Varkaus, in Eastem Finland from 1916 till 1968. This small industrial community was first situated on the border of two rural municipalities but separated and established as an independent township in 1929 and as a town in 1963. Short periods excluded, Lind lived all his life in Varkaus. At the time of his birth the town had 3 000 inhabitants and 25 000 when he died. He was also an amateur artist who made drawings, watercolors, oil paintings and other pieces of art in his spare time. In some twenty paintings water is present in one form or other.