This blue marble

– and yet it spins

Please walk on the grass

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In Finland, park visitors are always welcome to walk on the grass, unless specifically told not to. Of course: the grass is there to feel nice and cool against one’s feet, soft to sit down on, and a cloud of green summer to lie in.

How different it was, then, to move to Cambridge ten years ago and to learn all the rules about walking on the grass. Generally, only fellows, professors, and higher were allowed to walk on the grass in Cambridge colleges. And gardeners, of course. Except for in Newnham, a college built as a beautiful but carefully guarded enclosed space for the girls coming to Cambridge to study. Because they were not allowed out without chaperoning, the college gardens were built for enjoyment – and grass was welcomed to be walked on.

At the Anjala manor in southeastern Finland, they must have seen many timid tourists who needed encouragement: Please, do walk on the grass!

(Anjala, Finland; July 2020)

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