There’s a saying in Finland that after Midsummer, summer is over. From a scientific perspective, after the summer solstice, the days do get shorter. We here in the north start the movement from endless day to endless night. I’ve learned, however, that the best part of summer is just when it’s about to end because that’s when berry season starts.
One of the perks of living in Finland is having a forest within a five-minute walk of anywhere you are. There is literally a forest behind the apartment building we live in and we are about 15 minutes from downtown. The lake is a three-minute walk away. It’s very Walden Pond in a way or so I imagine. It took a lot of getting used to, let me tell you.
There’s something called everyman’s right that people take very seriously here in Finland. Anyone can enjoy the countryside as long as they don’t damage it. That means you can go to the forest and pick your fill of berries and mushrooms. And the forest has been especially bountiful this summer.
Last weekend, a friend took me blueberry hunting near her childhood home (and yes, I am aware that these are actually bilberries, not blueberries, but some habits are just not worth the effort of breaking). We spent hours there, with no rush to fill our buckets with berries or the silence with our talk. It was the perfect practice of mindfulness, handpicking berries and the best meditation session I’ve ever had.