the timbers of the house she helped build, that house haunted by the earth beneath it; earth heaving in waves that moved and groaned and foamed up boulders. (292)
Schoonover's sense of the earth as alive, wild, in motion implies that a relationship with the land is possible and necessary. It will not be ignored or unknown. Earth is a unifier; Minnesota is not Finland, but it is of the same earth, requiring the respect and care she and her people have always shown and providing the same sustaining elements of sauna, food, water, and farm. The evocation of land and wilderness scenes and themes in Finnish-American literature reflects a value found in acknowledging and celebrating the relationship between the land and the human community.
This central place of nature in the literary mind is a reflection of an attitude toward the environment within the Finnish-American community at large. Work by Arnold Alanen, University of Wisconsin-Madison, documents the integration of environmental concerns and ethics with wise and prudent twentieth-century resource management by Finnish Americans. Valuation of land and wildness within the literature encourages Finnish Americans to value nature in their politics, economics, and cultural environment. "Reclaiming the land" is a commitment to both environmental ideology and ethnic heritage and identity. Finnish-American literature captures ways in which the relationship of nature and the human community is important and how that relationship contributes to a sense of identity with the land, important to the immigrant, and a corresponding identity with the national culture, the American culture.
Gray Rockwell. "The Nature Essay." Essays on the Essay: Redefining the Genre. Ed. Alexander J. Butrym. Athens:University of Georgia Press, 1989.
Jarvenpaa Aili, and Michael G. Karni, eds. Sampo: The Magic Mill. A Collection of Finnish-American Writing. Minneapolis: New Rivers Press, 1989.
Lopez Barry. Arctic Dreams: Desire and Imagination in a Northern Landscape. New York: Scribners, 1986.
Schoonover Shirley Waisanen. A Season of Hard Desires. Rpt. in Finnish Americana: A Journal of Finnish American History and Culture 3 ( 1980): 1-2.
Finlandia Foundation, P.O. Box 2590, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163. FinnFest USA, c/o Ray Lescelius, President. 412 Huntington Lane, Elmhurst, IL 60126. Finnish American Literary Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 1838, Portland, OR 97207. North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc., P.O. Box 451, St. Cloud, MN, 56302, has published a number of Finnish-American texts, including poetry collections by Aili Jarvenpaa and Jim Johnson, autobiographical works, and fiction.