Autumn, Scandinavia

Helsinki downtown on Wednesday morningWe went through white curdled clouds that stretched as far as I could see from the left and also the right windows, all the way until the horizon, but I could not tell the horizon because in the far distance it was all a jumble. The sun, too, had pierced the cloud somewhere and bright light shone off homesteads on the ground, red and black and yellow things on irregular polygonal patches interspersed with clumps of forest, and lakes. When we landed and rolled in, the glass panes on the terminal flashed harsh light at us. Arlanda, Stockholm.

I’m now departing for Southern Europe from Helsinki, after three days of sun and no rain, having enjoyed the sight of thick masses of slender upright Scandinavian trees, and leaves that have begun to turn yellow and red, slenderly hanging leaves trembling in constant breeze. Yesterday, in a town an hour from Helsinki, my customer took me after lunch to the lake from where it is possible to set sail for an uninterrupted two-hundred and fifty kilometers on lake-water, and we walked to the old railway station on the lakeside which is now a pretty restaurant and I stood and gazed at the straight long avenue created by the removal of the railway tracks. On the other end stands a cubic glass-encased building which is a concert-hall where Vladimir Putin has been recently, and the space between the old railway station and the concert hall is a fine wide promenade. My customer proudly called the space the living room of his town.