Saturday, July 8, 2017

I have a friend from Finland named Monica who moved to the States with her family ten or so years ago. Her husband, Dan, is an engineer. They've been a couple since high school and have four sons, the youngest of whom goes to school with Will. One of her older sons is in graduate school here in North Carolina, and her other two sons live in Europe.

Every summer, Monica returns to her home village with her youngest son, which means that every summer all of her Facebook posts are in Finnish. Finland in the summer looks very cool and inviting. North Carolina summers are anything but cool, although they're quite beautiful and the tomatoes are delicious. Whenever I start feeling too jealous of Monica and her Finnish summers, I think about the fact that it's very hard to grow tomatoes in Finland.

I've been thinking about Monica this morning because I just purchased via Amazon a book by Finnish author Tove Jansson called The Summer Book. It was first published in the early 1970s, but is periodically reprinted. Apparently it's a classic of sorts. Here's how Amazon describes it:

This brief novel tells the story of Sophia, a six-year-old girl awakening to existence, and Sophia’s grandmother, nearing the end of hers, as they spend the summer on a tiny unspoiled island in the Gulf of Finland. The grandmother is unsentimental and wise, if a little cranky; Sophia is impetuous and volatile, but she tends to her grandmother with the care of a new parent. Together they amble over coastline and forest in easy companionship, build boats from bark, create a miniature Venice, write a fanciful study of local bugs. They discuss things that matter to young and old alike: life, death, the nature of God and of love. “On an island,” thinks the grandmother, “everything is complete.”

I think I'd like to spend the summer on an island, albeit one with tomatoes. 


GretchenJoanna said...

I read The Summer Book a few years ago and loved it!! The grandmother is not all warm and fuzzy as we expect ourselves to be... it was refreshing :-)

Pom Pom said...

I've read part of that book. I should finish (pun) it.
I like a knitting podcast on Youtube called Finfrost. Minna is very outdoorsy and knitty. Sometimes she posts from her family's summer house. Sometimes she skis around and eats a picnic lunch. You'd like it. You can go to Finland that way.

Kit said...

I just love how you write. You bring a smile to my face each time. The book sounds like a good one. I recently found a blog where the owner lives on Prince Edward Island and I am in love! I have been in love with PEI ever since Anne. Island life would be good, but you can keep the tomatoes, I am allergic.....LOL Have a good one! Kit

Tracy said...

An island with tomatoes in summer? Yes please. Except, not an Aussie summer, if you please. Ours can be terribly brutal. We spent three weeks in Colorado Springs, during summer, a number of years back and for the first time I realised why people look forward to summer.

I think Phillip Island, off the coast of Victoria, sitting on a verandah overlooking the beach and summery food, like tomatoes, sounds pretty good. Except I do love a good Melbourne winter, with its bluster and storms. Oh well. When winter is done I can do summer then.