About 100,000 years ago I must certainly have been related to swans and wild geese, because I feel so drawn towards them.
(To Jussi Jalas, 24th August 1940)
Today at ten to eleven I saw 16 swans. One of my greatest experiences! God, how beautiful! They circled above me for a long time. They disappeared into the haze of the sun like a shining silver ribbon. The sounds are like a kind of woodwind, the same as the sound of the cranes, but without the tremolo. The sound of the swans is closer to the trumpet, even if it clearly recalls the timbre of the sarrusophone [an instrument similar to the saxophone]. A low refrain, which is like the crying of a small child. Nature mysticism and the pain of life! The finale of the fifth symphony [extract] Ligature in the trumpets!! This had to happen to me, who has been an outsider for so long. So I've been in a holy place today, 21st April 1915.
(Diary, 21st April 1915. Sibelius was working on the fifth symphony.)
The swans are constantly in my thoughts and add glory to life. Strangely enough nothing else in this world, not in art, literature or music has the same effect on me as these swans + cranes + geese. Their sounds and essence.
(Diary, 24th April 1915)
I am related to the wading birds; they too live without a clock as I have done during long periods of my life.
(To Jussi Jalas, 13th June 1943)