A Baltic Retreat

Finland experiencing a 90 degree heat wave is a lot like Atlanta getting a foot of snow: a quite foreign set of conditions.  As you may recall from some of my earlier posts, I retreat to Finland each summer to visit my relatives (I’m half-Finnish) and immerse myself in our Baltic coast country life: fishing, berry-picking, sauna-ing, wildflower-gathering, and moose-glimpsing to name a few of the activities. This year Atlanta heat came to Finland.

Many summers, the Baltic Sea is simply too cold to enjoy as a swimming pool. In those years, jumping in the water is a test of endurance to earn bragging rights rather than a form of relaxation. But this year, with the water temperature hovering around 76° (and the air temperature at 90°), the Baltic was a sanctuary from the heat and the main attraction of the vacation. The dock was the central gathering place for all of the relatives, where days were spent swimming, diving, floating and lounging. Our very own nordic water park.

a point of entry

a point of entry

I managed to take a few breaks from the water-world to venture off into the wild with my camera to see what my lens might spot. Wild and seeded flowers prospered from all the sunlight, and therefore all the types of critters (beetles, ladybugs, bumble bees, butterflies) who depend on them were out in abundance. The raspberry, sea buckthorn, and black current season is mostly over but a few late blooming berries could be spotted (and plucked for a snack). Extremely clear water, thanks to the cloudless sky and endless scandinavian light, meant we could peer down at perch sunbathing in shallow waters.

If the skies are unfettered by clouds, the light during summer is so strong it almost has the quality of stage lighting. If you’re by the sea, light bounces off the mirror-like water back at you with multiplied intensity. But, by August, there is a powering down at the end of the evening (unlike Midsummer in June when the light doesn’t abate much). When the light eventually gives way at about 9:45pm and sets behind the horizon, it casts a beautiful glow back onto the darkening sky, a treasure for a photography enthusiast to try to capture.

Here, a glance at my Finland:

the beautiful flower Delphinium (obviously popular around here!)

the beautiful flower Delphinium (obviously popular around here!)

Queen Anne's lace

Queen Anne’s lace

bee hugging a wildflower

bumble bee hugging a wildflower

Ladybug in the shade

ladybug in the shade

the rapseed beetles which love the color yellow

the rapeseed beetles which love the color yellow

buds in my mother's garden

buds in my mother’s garden

a rock which records generations of family members' names carved into it

a rock which records generations of family members’ names carved into it

a view from the shallow water to the horizon

a view from the shallow water to the horizon

camoflauged fish

camoflauged fish

more shadow play

shadow play in the forest

light streaming through the forest

light streaming through the forest

birch trees leap toward the sky

birch trees leap toward the sky

the slub bark of the birch

the slub-textured bark of the birch

the raspberry bushes

the raspberry bushes

black currents on the vine

black currents on the vine

seabuckthorn growing at the water's edge

seabuckthorn growing at the water’s edge

towels drying on a line

towels drying on a line

my grandparent's sauna and dockhouse

my grandparent’s sauna and dockhouse

fields of barley

golden fields of barley

sunset

sunset

another evening's sunset

sunset

A late night fishing expedition

A late night fishing expedition

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