Summer has begun - cloudy, cool, tenuous - all the hard work preparing for the weeks and weeks off is done.
My parents, who were here for a visit, have come and gone. As has midsummer, which we celebrated out on Ornö, a perfect day with sun and all the proper accoutrements: birch branches cut from trees in a wood above a little inlet on the island, the branches wired to the midsummer pole while flowers were wrapped into wreathes by my mother and the editor from Wallpaper, who was in from London without her husband, who was shooting pictures for a magazine in Australia; there was herring and more herring, and snaps and me leading most of the singing with the few drinking songs I know, and then the putting up of the pole and the dancing around it and the games. The island showed itself off to perfection for my parents, and the guests were charming and full of stories.
Along with midsummer, we gave dinners and went to dinners and drank bottles and bottles of red wine. We climbed through the attic and up to the top of the tower at Nordiska Museet and saw Stockholm from on high courtesy of a friend who works at the museum, me clinging to the walls and afraid to grab the railing and look down. We shopped at the market at Hötorget where my parents bought flowers to put in boxes on the front balcony. We heard a lecture at Sofiakyrkan, and my parents met the husband's nephew, the priest and the policeman and their daughter who is our goddaughter. My father fixed countless doorhandles, the front door, the lamp in the dining room and hung a heavy piece of art on the wall.
They left yesterday morning, leaving at 6 a.m. in a taxi.
The husband and I are alone in the apartment for the first time, as the lodger is at a wedding in the States. We spent the day inside, watching movies, hardly bothering to look for the sun between the clouds.
Summer has begun.
The Swedish phrase for the day is det samma. It means likewise.
- by Francis S.