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Extra sunscreen
by Edna Nelson
2009-05-27 08:48:21
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Summer is coming and part of me is falling asleep to all the responsibilities underfoot. Behind me are all the plans for next year that I started making in early spring, the regrets and hesitation, the worries of our long and seemingly endless winter. Finally I feel that I might breathe. Shaky lungs cracking their winter shell and desiring warm expansion. Body moving and for the first time in months my stomach feels as if a salad might actually be enough. Soft reminders me in the sun being out that I don’t have to worry about starving to death anymore.
Mesmerized by the call of the beach. Fantasies of waves, heat and the smell of sunscreen fill my mind. There are not so many real beaches here, but lots of lakes that I don’t have the effort to visit. Although I miss the Atlantic and its wild saltiness last year I grew an appreciation for walkable city beaches, which are not listed in tourist guides. Dirt sand coastlines that serve as a perfect place to enjoy the best hours of these endless days, city locations that give an exceptionally convenient experience like the beach with almost no effort to get to. There the sun like a lazy lifeguard allows us to wade out into the depths of contemplation for hours without even a whistle. During Finnish summer parties drag on too late, and the morning comes, as if it never left in the first place. It is easy to walk drunk and sun bleached through the night, and come home feeling like lunch, ready for a new day, the next party.
 If anything what the summer provides is an opportunity to drop the escape plan, and opportunity to indulge. The smells, the flowers in bloom, grass and weeds reaching upwards, dew. Sitting outside forever if we are lucky enough to find a good spot with only few bothersome bugs. Fields of flowers and small summer-homes scattered across an expansive, flat and seemingly serene wilderness.  Summer is a chance to let go of all the woulda, coulda shoulda’s from the year before and simply enjoy life while we have it. Short and sweet under the direct rays of the sun, eating strawberries and peas while wandering through the street and hiding ice cream from seagulls. If only the whole year was faced by the single problem how to keep the light out of the apartment while I sleep.
Midsummer and the relaxing promise of an empty city are only overshadowed by the shortening of days. If only the winter wasn’t so long and terrible the summer would make these coordinates a perfect place to set up shop. For once to enjoy the surroundings rather than running from one indoor location to the next, wondering why socks don’t stay dry and when the wind will stop. I know that once the cold returns and the bathing suit finds itself somewhere in the bottom of a box my dreams will be fixated on vacation, sunshine and getting away from this terribly cold and dark place.  Until then my beach bag is packed, and I've got extra sunscreen.

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