During my recent trip to Europe, I went to see my dear dad for a few days. At the respectable age of 91, he lives in his house at a beautiful lake in Finland. He built it himself when I was about four years old. I grew up there until my educational pursuits and work brought me to the big city. And later to Sweden and around the world.
It’s good to go home. Apart from having some wonderful quality time with my dad, these visits are always relaxing and pleasant. With quiet time for reflection, nature walks, deep conversations and sauna baths. This time my visit was also a tad nostalgic. I saw many places I hadn’t seen for a long time. Like this church where we lived in the side wing when I was born.
My first memories are from here. I manage to climb out of my crib for the first time and surprise my mom by running into the church where she was preparing for a mass. A little later, I “paint” mom’s green kitchen chair with fresh apple sauce. And I’m very proud of my accomplishment.
Then my elementary school. It’s still standing and proudly providing education for the kids in the village. When I stood there in the school yard, I got another, not so pleasant, memory flash.
I’m on my back on the gravel looking up to faces staring at me in a circle. I’ve been hit on the nose by a baseball bat swung by a fellow second grader. Sporting accident. Blood. And a very swollen nose. Most of my field of vision is filled by a huge nose. Luckily it didn’t stay that way.
My dad drove me around to see houses where I had played with friends, all of whom now lived elsewhere. And beautiful spots that I used to frequent. A full day of nostalgia. Everything changes.
Although it was still October, winter was clearly on its way. Some rivers were partly frozen, and one morning I saw a hint of snow on the ground too. Just a hint in a shady spot in the forest. It’s kind of treat for a Floridian. Provided one is appropriately attired. My pea coat was no match for the wind chill, but luckily my dear sister had left some warm clothes there for me to borrow.
We did many walks in the nature and although most of the colorful foliage was already gone, it was still beautiful.
Some of you may wonder if I saw any birds. Yes I did. Two different kinds. Although the migratory birds, like ospreys, swans and swallows, had left several weeks earlier, I found many Great Tits congregating around feeders or looking for rowan-berries.
And I saw a rooster 🙂 Mind you, it was not an ordinary rooster. But one that made a lasting impression. I was visiting my cousin’s house and snapped this picture with my phone. Just to have evidence.
He was impressive! And although he was not a bit scary, I’ve asked him to serve as my “Halloween bird”.
It was a wonderful visit, but it’s good to be back too. Happy Halloween everyone!