Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lost in Suomi

The map rested in my lap, a useless blur of ‘k’s and ‘l’s and ‘i’s. The GPS bleated unintelligible directives. I’d wanted to take the train, then the bus, to the cabin perched on the brim of the Arctic Circle, but Chris insisted on driving.

“Better to see the land of your ancestors,” he said. “Besides, we’re in no hurry.”

But I was in a hurry.

“See? North.” He pointed to the compass, smiling. “So rest. And trust me to get us to our destination.”

I closed my eyes. He was right, trust and rest; the chemo had robbed me of all my energy. The sun strobed through the birch forest, flinging dappled warmth on my cheeks. The crumpled map slid to the floor.

When I woke, the clock said eight at night but the sky looked like mid-afternoon. Chris rolled down the windows. Wind pummeled me awake, smelling of pine and some quality of freshness, of newness, I could not identify. He hummed softly and kept patting my knee.

“Almost there,” he said.

The trees thinned. I wanted to sleep more, but Chris cut the engine.

“Where are we?”

He helped me from the car. My hips ached. I leaned against him. Pine needles blanketed the ground. Then, the woods ended and sky spread before us, a never-ending canvas of liquid silver that melted into water, blue as his eyes, as blue as our daughter’s, now grown.

He squeezed my hand. “We are exactly where we need to be.”


Inspired by the 52-250 Flash-a-Year Challenge theme -- Lost in Translation. As well as memories of my own distant trip to Finland.

And speaking of lost... I'm off to New Orleans for the Gerontological Society of America annual meeting. My graduate students will be strutting their stuff -- I am so proud of them. Of course, I will enjoy my downtime -- WORDS and MUSIC overlaps with my stay.



  1. haha, we will be driving through (around on loop 12) past New Orleans sometime tomorrow!

    How super cool to see you from my window :-p. I'll wave.

    it's been chilly (for us) but will be great for you. I think no rain (maybe) but what is New Orleans without a rain shower.

  2. This is such a beautiful piece!


  3. "...a never-ending canvas of liquid silver that melted into water..." I love that description Linda. And what a perfect last line. This is simply beautiful.

  4. Now, correct me if I am wrong but isn't Suomi Finland?

    Lovely piece - so descriptive - love the description of the air pummeling her awake,the liquid silver melting and the smell of pine...makes me wish I was north again - this is so northern.

  5. That's a good fellow there. The kind I endeavor to be.

  6. It's been a while since I stopped by - almost forgot about your knack for painting big pictures with few words.

  7. Like John says.
    He is a good fellow and how lucky is she to have him.
    This story makes me want to sigh, lovely Linda. Safe trip to New Orleans!

  8. "We are exactly where we need to be."

    I love that line.

    Good work, Linda, and have a nice time in the Big Easy.

  9. What a lovely man. The emotion you paint with atmosphere is priceless. Love this (as always), Linda.

  10. Very lovely descriptions, Linda. I could feel the sunlight on my face. I hope she finds what she needs to find.

  11. Linda, your dialogue has such an easy, natural flow. This while seeming simple is actually quite hard to achieve. You are masterful. Of course they are where they need to be, you put them there.

  12. Loved the descriptions in this one. I could practically smell the cool pine-scented air when that window went down. Good story!

  13. Hello Linda

    Nice seeing you here. You might have read about the Language/Place blog carnival which Michelle Elvy participated in last time.

    I’d like to include this post in the December edition of the blog carnival which I’ll be hosting. It’s a lovely piece of flash and I want to include more creative pieces than those usual blog posts people tend to submit ;) Would you be happy to send a brief description of yourself and this post to:

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

  14. the way, the deadline is Dec 9.

  15. Loved this. And the last line makes so much sense to me (a traveller).

  16. ". . . some quality of freshness . . ."

    enjoyed discovering this line in your flash, enjoyed the discovery of you via the language carnival.