That's my topic over at WCCO.com today--and you should go read it. Really. That was one of my favorite things about my recent trip to the Iron Range. I find these pieces of history to be so fascinating, and to see them so well cared for is a treat.
The tour guide not only talked about how the Finnish built their homesteads, she talked about why they came to Minnesota: overcrowded land at home, lack of opportunity, fear of being conscripted into the Russian army, a difficult economy. Then she shared this poem, written by a Finnish man as explanation for his departing Finland. I found it very moving.
I left because I felt
The home clearings too confining.
I left because the home threshold
Rises too high.
I left because bread
Always scarce, was now no more.
I expected good fortune out in the world
Since it did not roost under my home roof.
I left to assure
A more secure old age
To provide a loving mother
With a happier twilight.
I left, nay, not a traitor
To my land and people many.
I left, for kinsfolk drew me
Necessity compelled me, need commanded.
Artturi Leinonen 1912