Leaning against the wall in the livingroom is a silk-screen print depicting a big fish under a table, its fin poking through the tabletop. The fish resembles a blend of tuna and koi. The work is called “breakfast” and is by a Finnish, up-coming artist called Samuli Heimonen. How it ended up there is a good question. We were on our way to Savonlinna Opera Festival but Art Centre Salmela is art shopping made too easy. Who wouldn’t love spending an afternoon in such a gorgeous setting, and perhaps finishing the spree with a dive into the lake from the swim-house?
The fish may be dead or alive under that table, but it will look good on the wall.
(Art Centre Salmela, Mäntyharju, Finland; July 2013)
Once upon a time Europe was covered in ice. When the ice receded, three erratics, or glacier-transported rocks, were left behind, stubbornly confronting each other. Who knows how far they have traveled, but this is where they remain.
Today the site is used as a church by the local parrish. Perhaps, 10,000 years ago, this site was a church for another belief, and the firesite lay on the exactly same spot on the ledge outside? Perhaps there were sacred rituals and silent evening gatherings where our ancestors sat on the ledge by the fire, silently regarding the setting sun? And maybe, just maybe, if you stand still you will feel them smiling?
(Korsvik church, Pernaja, Finland; July 2013)
While the Tall Ships’ Race visited Helsinki, Small Ships’ Race was held in Loviisa. Some won. Others capsized. I had ice cream.
At night there was a party on the landing and everybody who was somebody knew everybody else. How estranged I felt when I knew almost nobody and everybody thought they knew me since my family are long-time locals, save my generation.
What a random and delightful day, just like the best summer memories always are.
(Loviisa, Finland; July 2013)
Imagine this particular warm afternoon, the heat, the bees in the flowers, and the complete lack of a breeze. The mallards teaching their young to smack while chewing sea weed, the fathers teaching their young to navigate while sailing, and the world not giving a damn about such a thing as winter and ice.
Memory is short. Summer is shorter.
(Helsinki, Finland; July 2013)
How about Berlin, she said. Yes please, I said; let’s spend some days uncovering the layers. Let’s, she said; and how about a cabaret and some underground jazz? Sure, I said; you go ahead, I will meet you there.
And met we did, for a dinner. And half a day’s sightseeing, after which I was forced to exchange my not too uncomfortable hotel room for another room on the 19th floor, with fantastic views of Berlin. This is what I was told. I never made it to the window to enjoy the view. I spent most of my vacation in an adjustable bed receiving special treatment, hospital food, and the loveliest and most amusing care by the staff by the push of a button.
At the day of our departure she said, let’s go to the Schloss Bellevue. Let’s have strawberries in the sun and tea at the Tea house in the Lustgarten. Yes please, I said; let’s spend the day pretending I did not just undergo emergency surgery.
And I left my appendix at the Charité, heaved myself into the taxi with all three belly holes sutured up, and headed for the sun, strawberries, and finally, Berlin in the summer.
(My only souvenir from Berlin, Germany; July 2013)