Someone told me I should write on naval matters… can’t connect my thought-line to anything naval as of now though, just can’t. Seems to be an entirely different course to take me to the naval issues, though I would very much like to voice an opinion in favour of global thalassocrasy.
Now, on to the topic I have chosen to write a few words about… cities. For some reason, it seems to me that cities are taken very light-heartedly. Yet, I cannot imagine myself living in most of the cities that I visit, simply because I cannot find the spirit and emotion that I require in them.
I mean that a city can be gloomy and it can be happy, it can be green or a jungle of concrete. A city can govern the skies, or spread on scores of square kilometers. The varieties that a city can take are immense; there are basically no limits to where or how a city can go and develop. The only limits here are presented to us by the borders of the human mind (ie, infinity in all directions), the advancements of technology in engineering, and the will to terraform in order to get a more stable ground structure-work. Therefore, in all practical matters when we take that we have the eternity in which to develop, the varieties of cities we will see will also be infinite. This matter is however quite insignificant, and I am unsure why I stopped on it for such a period of time.
The Life. I don’t think that the city is its people. I’d rather believe that the people add to the tones and colours of the city, and not shape it. The city itself is the structures, the geometrical shapes that are formed by the districts and street networks. Therefore, I’d also say that the spirit of a city remains the same if it has one inhabitant, a million inhabitants, or no inhabitants then the city itself is the same, it just has taken on a different aspect of the same thing. Turn a rock upside down, and you see the same thing. This said I believe that you can understand why I generally do not care how many people a city has since that does not change the city itself. Also, it makes little difference when you see the city — at daytime when it is packed with people, or at night when it has none… it all still adds up to the one single city, which you see whenever you look at it.
What I actually wished to address was however, that you can only see the entirety of a city when you have seen it in all seasons. Then you know it, then you know what to expect and what to not expect from the city. I think I have seen only four cities during all of the four different seasons (might be five, but I can’t remember the specifics on Stockholm). Anyways, the four would be Tallinn, Pärnu, Helsinki and Nõmme. Truth be said, Nõmme isn’t a city anymore, but in the dreams of Freiherr N. von Glehn it was a city, and it held it’s city rights proudly for nearly fourteen years before it was united with Tallinn (*cough*Soviets*cough*). I suppose I should address them all separately, but I don’t really feel like it. To make a long story short, only Nõmme, Pärnu and Helsinki deserve credit. Tallinn itself is nothing worthwhile for me, and the city seems to have forgotten something… perhaps itself, its reasons, its motives. It should find them again, or it will never be as grand as it once was. Anyways, Nõmme, Pärnu and Helsinki… Nõmme and Pärnu are quite the same here, with both being very green and friendly, comfortable places for a comfortable person. Helsinki is more of this metropolian center which has forever been cast into my memory due to its… scope — the statue of Ratsuväenkenraali Mannerheim, the central alleys, tram-routes, centuries’ old houses, and yet it feels friendly: it does not give off the same aura as Tallinn (excluding Nõmme, be it city or district).
So yes, to know a city, you need to see it during all seasons, and embrace it. Then you will know it, and understand what it wants. Moreover, I believe, that a crucial part of the founder lives on in the modern city, in the modern city’s planning and development. And I believe that it can be seen, what fits the dream of the founder, and what does not.
Below, you will find Ted Nasmith’s drawing of Tirion. Beautiful.