Escape to the Forest
As soon as we decided we’d be moving away, I noticed very Buzzy Bees in my Bonnet about things I haven’t managed to do here yet. I haven’t seen much of Europe and I haven’t been to the Eden Project or learnt morris dancing or windsurfing or picked blackberries from the English hedgerows to make wine. I never even knew I wanted to do those last few things, but you get the picture…? Anyway, so when my Finnish friend said she was going to Helsinki, I was quick to grab my diary and mark last week in red, “FINLAND”. I would be paid by then for a recent copywriting job I’ve done, and I would be neatly sidestepping all the end of term goodbyes and tears at school: bonus!
Landing in Finland was like landing on a model railway – you know, where there’s miles of pointy pine trees stretching off around the spaces, with little mirrored lakes and coastlines all around. Flat, green, quiet – no volcanoes though, which our mini railway always had, or some sort of crazy crater or oversized dinosaur footprint. None of that in Finland – it was orderly, and clean. The air was so clean you could almost feel it doing you good. We were basically living in a forest!
The Finnish people love to pick blueberries from their beloved forests. If you imagine a dustpan with the handle on top, and the bottom edge is like a comb.. well, they take these scoops and literally comb the blueberries from the plants, bringing home buckets full of fresh fruit to freeze or make into pies (which I was happy to sample). I saw a little girl picking bunches of wild flowers – something we don’t see much here but it reminded me of times gone by. They also pick wild strawberries – smaller and sweeter than English efforts. The fact that there’s been a rainy summer means that strawberries are running a few weeks late. I know this because it was on the national news – such is the importance of forest fruits to the Finns!
Once I got lost and everything in me told me to worry as it was getting dark.. Later in bed (midnight) I realised I’d been silly because it still wasn’t fully dark! It was like living in a much better version of IKEA, but instead of looking out from your pretend-sofa to see lots of pregnant women buying tea lights and napkins, I looked out to see moss, lilly of the valley (their national flower) and a fern collection. Happy days. More on the city next time..
“Let the trees of the forest shout for joy in the presence of the Lord!” (1 Chron.16v33)