by wjw on July 27, 2017

IMG_4630This week we’ve been looked after by my Finnish friend Kari Salo, who I’ve known since he came to stay with my family when we were both fifteen.

Kari and his lovely wife Anneli invited us to her lakeside summer cottage, where we enjoyed kicking back with a beer and a sauna after our busy week in St. Petersburg.

The water was too cold for swimming, and the weather too wet for much else, but it was still great being on the water.

And the sauna was what I like to think of as a real sauna, which is to say a sauna with a wood stove rather than those bland little electric heaters.  It’s not a real sauna without the smell of wood smoke, and rocks to throw water onto, and a lake to jump into (for all I didn’t jump into it, though I would have when I was younger).

It was reminiscent of my boyhood in Minnesota, where there were also saunas, lakes, and summer cottage culture.  There’s a lot here like northern Minnesota, with the glacier-scraped landscape, the rivers and swamps and lakes, and the birth trees, pine trees, and other trees.  There are even loons in the lakes.

Tomorrow I’m being interviewed by the newspaper with “the second-largest circulation in the country.”  I plan to be awesome.

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