Sunday, May 13
I woke up at 7:00 and got up to finish backing parcels for Mother’s Day. I sneaked out of the house at 8:20, while Irma slept, to get a bunch of valkovuokko from the woods. Wood anenome, in English, these flowers form an essential part of the Finnish Mother’s Day ritual, and need picking at the very last moment. The girls used to sneak out in the morning, with me when little and without me later. Now it has become my job.
Some years the valkovuokko prove almost impossible to find. This year they grow almost everywhere I looked. I pick a generous bunch and go back to bed. A couple of hours later I get up and arrange the presents and a card on the kitchen table and then arrange the flowers in a glass. This year the presents include a Marimekko gift voucher; two stylish Swedish notebooks, because Irma loves making notes on paper; and a Life treatment for women, consisting of all-natural herbs and oils.
We will have brunch late and then set about mowing the lawn and doing the same gardening activities in Vartiokylä that we did yesterday in Sundö.
In the afternoon Naa will come round with another, even bigger, bunch of valkovuokko and a card. She will help me pull sheets and I will do the ironing, while Irma finds a set of formal clothes suitable for attending business meetings in New York. We will have much fun with this as Irma has very little in the way of formal business attire. Eventually she will find a combination that all three of us can agree seems suitable.
I will get a suitcase down from the top shelf in the shed and then go for a long walk while Irma packs. For some reason I will find myself listening to Jackson Browne’s best album Late For The Sky. I will imagine Auo listening to it with a young ear and pointing out how every song contains references to loneliness, sorrow, and the utter futility of everything.
If she could say that, then I feel sure she would, then I would think her correct.
I will notice as I near home again how often I seem to have those kinds of conversations with Auo in my head. I will decide I like it, although obviously nowhere near as much as actually having her here to talk to. Not having her here, I will settle for having her living in my head.