Winter frost had fled the dark forests and a gentle breeze had the snow sweating. Tumultuous rivers were running down, crossing the lowlands, speeding towards the freedom of the wide open sea. As they sat on the bank, the flow of the river had not yet succumbed but still watered the green spine of nature.
With lessons passed on from centuries ago, the tanned sheath had just seen the final stitches on the tough leather when a salmon, weighing about a kilo and glistening like snow on a spring day, jumped in the air in front of the Sámi man, its tail split like the marked ear of a reindeer. They had lived on the sea shore for long but, like the salmon, they knew that their longing could no longer be contained. They knew they would find their place as the compass found its true north.
They didn’t leave much behind. When they looked back for the last time, they thanked oula for all the gifts it had given them over the years. They never knew that the word oula, meaning flooding water, would be one of the rich seeds of tradition. Over time, it would grow and give the name to the city of Oulu.
Up north, they found a home by the scent of smoke. Be it courage or determination, roots and tradition have made the noble skills of salmon fishing and reindeer herding pass on from a weather-beaten man to the unexperienced hands of a young man. The basis for all this has always been the rich nature that has given something of its own to us all for centuries.