Vee peal is the title of a new autobiographical novel by Olavi Ruitlane, which has been likened to a new Kevade (“Spring”, the beloved 1912 novel by Oskar Luts). Vee peal is set in the small southern Estonian city of Võru, the author’s home town, in the 1980s and describes his passion for fishing, as well as a plethora of colourful characters he fishes with and who influence his life. Photo: Maimu Mölder. Texts: Riina Kindlam
At Metsaülikool (”forest university”), the annual Estonian language & culture seminar week in the forests of Kotkajärve, a bright young boy from Pärnu, Erik Martin Ojamaa, was strikingly similar to the young Ruitlane in his enthusiasm for fishing. He arrived with his aunt, MÜ lector and instructor Maarja Lõhmus, Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at Tartu Ülikool and ended up catching at least 3 smallmouth bass, like the one seen here, the exact equivalent of which does not exist in Estonia, but is similar to an ahven (perch). At least one other hefty bass was caught by a hundu (cub scout) in camp the preceding week. Catching was followed by a lesson on gutting the fish (rookimine / rappimine) and they were then cooked in foil in the lõke (campfire) and served to the entire MÜ family as a fantastic late night snack. One of the themes of this year’s MÜ was koha vaim (the spirit of a place) and eating the delectable meat of a kala which had spent years in the depths of the very special spiritual body of water that is Kotkajärv, was very special indeed. Photo: Erik’s fishing buddy and coach Sören Ruutsoo from Otepää
A laevastik (fleet) of red canoes was vee peal simultaneously when the MÜ children tried their arms at sõudmine (paddling) with a mõla (paddle). MÜ steering committee member Tauno Mölder is (naturally) steering and instructing Marie Teppart (in the vöör or bow) from Tallinn, Eneli Mölder and Getter Liitoja from Saaremaa. Marie, like Erik, came to Kotkajärve with a famous relative, in her case her grandmother, actor Anu Lamp, who held a lecture on the development of the Estonian language and headed a morning language group. A touching memorial to local poetess and long-time MÜ-lane Urve Karuks was held on the water the night before. A canoe carried Jaan Seim, principal of the Stockholm Estonian School, across Kotkajärv playing the flute, while people took turns reading Urve’s inspiring poetry. Photo: Maimu Mölder
PHOTO 3: (can be cropped, but a bit of reflection in the water would be great!)
Local jooga instruktor Aili Kuutan was at Metsaülikool for the first time and led her afternoon huvi/ring (interest group) on the paadi/sild (dock). Long-time MÜ-lane Jaak Rakfeldt from Connecticut also led a popular mõtestatud meditatsiooni (mindful meditation) huviring. Following both, participants said they felt like they had grown, expanded, or been purged of negative energy. Hands up if you’re coming to Metsaülikool next year!
Photo: Maimu Mölder. Texts: Riina Kindlam
Vee peal / On the water Estonian Life