Every summer when I head home, I think this year I’ll spend lovely evenings sitting outdoors reading and sipping grapefruit soda (it’s a Finnish thing), meeting friends for outdoors dinners, and painting watercolours. Invariably, by the end of the trip I will have read 2 two out of the 5 books I brought, worn less than half of the clothes I packed, and maybe gone downtown twice. This year was not an exception. There were too many biting and stinging insects flying around in the evenings to even to consider sitting outdoors (this is quite unusual for late July/early August). I did meet friends and drink the grapefruit soda though, and even managed to swim – sort of – in the sea.
Boats are still there, laying where the storm pushed them last year. One has all but disappeared under weeds, inaccessible. It’s like meeting an old friend, seeing them, one year older, much worse for wear.
I learned this year that apparently summer is over when fireweed has bloomed. If we are to go by that, summer is very, very nearly over. Everything this year bloomed early, and by the time I arrived, mid-July, clovers were gone, red glovers (one of my favourite flowers) was gone, harebells were almost gone, and there was a distinct lack of fireweed, usually colouring roadsides dark pink this time of the year. At least tansy didn’t let me down. I used to hate it as a child, and I have no idea why. It’s the most wonderful thing – gorgeous colour, beautiful flowers, dries well. The first and the last wild flowers are yellow – dandelions in the spring, tansies and hawkweeds at the end of the summer – little spots of sun.