November. Instead of chilling sleet, the gentle whisper of linden and the drowsy scent of roses. In place of sparkling icecaps, the shimmering reflection of a swan on the mirror of the pond. Sleepy rabbits beneath the bushes, boutiques with their treasures, hiding inside the colourful stonehouses, and shadows of the fragile laze in the sea of tulle. At night, the quivering, silent song of stars…
I spent several weeks in Dreamland, during early winter 2010. In Finland, the weather was freezing cold so I was more than delighted at the possibility of visiting a world where the summer was blooming high! Inspite of the warmth and breathtaking, bounteous beauty, my assignment at the time proved to be very painful. The target person, a little girl called Aana, had been ill for sometime. She was desperately longing for her parents, who had died in an accident a year before. Now, the girl was living with her godmother, Oili, who did her best to care for the child whilst also working.
The primary directive of my assignment was to look after Aana’s safety during her exceptional transitions from one dimention to another. We became good friends over the weeks and I grew deeply attached to her – therefore, when she passed away by the end of my journey, I was devastated. After her death, I couldn’t work as a storydetective for almost a year.
Because her bittersweet fate didn’t seem to leave me at peace, I started to write it down. I also drew pictures of Aana and the Dreamland, based on my memories. When writing the story and drawing the pictures, I realised how utterly fragile is the memory of humankind. Surely, I’ll never cease to regret not owning a proper camera at the time! I only have one photo of Aana; and of the Dreamland, none whatsoever. The picture of Aana’s dear puppy, Cutie, I got from Aunt Oili a couple of months after the girl’s death. Aunt Oili adopted Cutie but the poor dog never quite got over losing her young mistress. So, one night she just fell asleep in the lap of Oili and never woke up again.
Aana’s godmother was the first to see my drawings and to read the story. She liked them both very much but the story awakened such strong feelings in her that, in great distress, I buried the manuscript in my cabinet for almost a year. It was finally published by Karisto 2012. The book was loved and I was happy – Aana’s sad fate felt less unwarrented because it aroused so much sympathy and compassion and helped people to get through their own griefs over death.
I still visit Aunt Oili every now and then. We reminisce together and ponder how it is with Aana now. We are both sure of one thing, though: that she has found what she was longing for and that she now twinkles as a star in the glittering belt of the Milky Way!
Unfortunately, Aana’s story is yet to be translated into English but it can be found in most of the Finnish libraries. And who knows, maybe I’ll translate it myself one day… Anyway, some of the pictures I drew for Aana’s story can be found in my Art Salon and in my Redbubble Shop. You are always welcome to visit!