Kaiku is an illustrated fictional story set on a small island in the Archipelago Sea in Finland. It is a story about a reclusive shaman, a flute playing girl called Aino and her echo Kaiku. The Kaiku book is the first part of the audio-visual project Kaiku. The Kaiku book is now available to orderRead the first chapter of the book below.

The Shaman

Slowly the cold darkness changed to the promise of a morning. A creeping spectrum of colours appeared from the southeast revealing a landscape shaped and dominated by ice. It seemed as if time had suddenly been stopped. The movement of rivers and streams had been cut. Majestic ice pillars hung over frozen lakes like organs upside down. In the middle of it all a lake stood still, holding her ground, surrounded by a densely grown, frozen forest. The morning sun reflected brightly from the snow that had fallen onto the frozen lake during the night and gave the lake a bright glow. It looked like it was covered in white fire. The moisture of the air had crystallized and created snowflakes, water had taken a new form, but down under the lake water was flowing freely. A different world existed there, living according to its own slow rhythm. Its inhabitants all moved slowly, predators and prey alike saving their energy, calculating their every movement. It was almost like they had entered a long state of meditation. The murky water and the dim lighting created shadowy corners which acted as perfect hideaways. The brief appearance of light was their lifeline.

On the shore of the lake walked an old man. He was tall and slender with narrow eyes, high cheekbones and a pointy chin. He had a prominent nose with big nostrils and was wrapped in a black-grey cloak that dragged behind him in the snow. The Shaman lit his pipe and pushed his hood aside to expose his face to the sun. It was a welcome warmth. An air of calmness hung on top of the frozen forest. During the midwinter the sun never rose high and in a few hours it would fall behind the horizon again. The Shaman walked into the forest, a thin layer of ice covered the snow. It was dark, and the densely grown forest held on to its secrets with an insurmountable will. The darkness did not intimidate the Shaman – he lived according to the seasons, the pace of nature and the changes in light, accepting it all. With a never-ending curiosity he constantly observed and reflected upon what he saw. He did not seek to control nature or harness its powers to his own use, but to live in harmony with it. Although seemingly vast and silent he knew that everything around him was alive. The snow that covered everything and made everything look dead was in fact what enabled the forest to survive and in the spring all the snow would melt and be released as water.

In the middle of the forest the Shaman came to an opening. Here the trees had given space to smaller bushes, and in the middle of the opening lay a huge carcass half buried in the snow. The ribs were pure white. Decay had visited them earlier but now there was no sign of it. Nature had prepared the bones as well as any embalmer could have hoped to. Surrounded by the untouched, virginal snow the bare carcass had its own tone of white. It was an ivory that told of old age and the secrets inside a huge animal. It had been a creature running alive with blood in its veins. The bones had given the map, the structure to its body. They had seen the insides, the secret world untouched by daylight, and now they boldly stood bare in the forest, facing its coldness, the howling winds and hungry animals. It was a testament to a power that even death could not destroy. Frozen in time the skeleton stood high. The Shaman approached the carcass. Dusting the snow from its smooth surface, he ran his fingers over the bones, sliding them in-between the ribs. He climbed inside and sat down. He looked up. The ceiling was made of white arching bones and the walls were bone barred. The carcass had been in the forest for a long time. It was the crown-head of the forest. It started to snow. The first isolated flakes dropped down silently from the sky, every one of them unique. They fell to the ground, sinking into the white sea of snow. Joined by others they disappeared and became one. Together they served a greater purpose by covering the forest in a protective blanket.

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