Op ed

The Love for Sun in Finland

Summer in helsinkiListening to the sound of marching feet as I sat in a bench at the Esplanade Park and the sun was up in the sky and everything under it were basking in it. I noticed smiles on faces of all I saw, the giggling of a little baby in a pram beside the bench the baby’s dad sat on, the hoarse laughter of companies’ chief executives in their suits as they were enjoying the sun with ice-cream. I looked around me from my bench, the pasture is green, people scattered on mats all over the grassy areas, some having picnic, some just drinking canned beers, some playing games, some lying with under pants and exposing the areas they wanted to tan, some sitting on bench with books, some walking lazily around in one or twos or more, some looking like they are in love, some looking like just good friends, and amongst all they all had happy faces. Under this scenario, enemies could easily become friends indeed. The flowers were swaying with the wind current, and every now and then the cool breeze from the nearby harbor gently caresses my exposed neck and skin. With all these happening, I realized that the real importance of sun here is not only on its radiating warmth or in its valor and brightness after a long and dreadful winter, rather it is all about the sun’s life. The sun means life and the dark means death.

I watched as employees have their lunch in the park, the disposable container that had the meal slid into the waste bin pitched at interval from the benches. I saw kids and teens running around and shouting happily. There is something common among all that I saw and it is the life the sun gives. Even the birds in the sky glided extensively to display their appreciation to be home again from their long trip to Africa or Southern Europe, and their shrieking sounds like “I love you sun”. It’s been almost 7 months I saw this sort of sun’s life. During Last year November till this day, things were different. I had to eat fish capsules so that I could be able to get up from my bed the next morning, which I couldn’t even tell the morning from the night because both times were covered in darkness. Though the intensity of the sun altered, however I couldn’t but enjoy its comfort. Suddenly, I observed two guys sitting on a bench on my left were sipping coffee from a paper cup. I cared less if it suited them so well to drink hot coffee in such weather, by the way who cares? I suppose such act adds to their enjoyment of sun’s life. I strained my ear to listen to their strange language, perhaps it was Italian or Portuguese, I don’t know, what does it matter anyway? I guess the sun’s life can hypnotize our mind under heavy spiritual influence that we develop the ability to speak in different tongues.
Immediately an aged lady sitting on the bench next to mine left another aged one took her place, probably to share in the sun’s life. The sun’s yearly life span over here is very short. Cyclists rode without ringing bells as usual; probably they did not wish to startle people from the mesmerizing beautiful effect of basking under the sun. I sensed the power of the sun’s life is strong here

My eyes were darting from the book I was reading to different faces, shapes and sizes of people walking across and in the park. Some masked their faces with their sun shades, some dressed in funny outfit, some more white than others, some tanned, some share in my skin color, some pregnant, some pushing prams with babies in them, some still having hoddie on them, some times disparate flashes of teeth occurred, some were sort of wandering around, and it was all the effect of the sun! Though I had my ears phones on with the song from a band called Incognito blasting in my ears, I could still hear the marching feet, the cars honk, the shrieking noise from seagull flying very low looking out for ice.-cream or anything edible to snatch off from people. I recalled that before leaving my house this day, I took a surreptitious look at the thermometer and it read 20 degrees centigrade. Oh so nice! The effect was quite obvious.

Suddenly an old lady stood in my front and switched on her video camera, probably a tourist, gradually she took steps forward, my eyes strained off and when they returned, her steps has increased in a steady pace. Across the street in front of me are lots of cafes lined up to serve, and people settled into chairs with tables. On the tables, I saw glasses of beer, mugs containing perhaps coffee, cappuccino or hot chocolate. The thought of hot chocolate brought smile to my face that cut across my lips that I wetted my lips with my tongue and went to fetch one for myself. Walking into Esplanade café, I was greeted with lots of beautiful warm faces, I smiled back, and it didn’t matter if we all knew each other earlier or not, it is just that the sun’s life is very contagious. I bought my hot-chocolate and a snitzel cake and walked back to the Esplanade park with my confectionary. This time, my previous bench has been occupied. I found another and warmed into it comfortably. I brought my hot chocolate paper cup to my nose as I took a bite off my cake; I gave out a good sigh like omg! The tremendous feeling of the confectionary and beverage under the comfortable sun was very soothing. As I looked up, I noticed 5 men in suit walking across, and 2 among them were speaking nicely on the phone. I presume they were talking to ladies on the other side of the phone. Well, whoever they were talking to was not my own business anyway. I observed gestures from passersby as it was conspicuous that each time I looked up, I write; some gestures I returned, some I passed; it depended on my focus and mood at such time.

As I was writing down my observation, a gypsy beggar with walking stick stopped in front of me. She did not say a word but shook the Mac-Donald’s coffee paper cup that collects the donations she receives. The coins in the cup vibrated, perhaps the message was telling me that the coins stays in the cup and the paper money stays in her purse, or perhaps the message meant God loves a  cheerful giver. However, I opened my wallet and emptied all the coins I had in it into her Mac-Donald’s offering cup. She walked away with out saying any word, no thanks, and the face was intriguing. I couldn’t tell if she was unhappy with my free will offering or she was timed on how much she must make in an hour, perhaps the reality of such profession’s minimum wage is not something she is happy with, who knows anyway? However, I asked myself if God loves a cheerful giver, what about an un-cheerful receiver? Well. How can I tell, I am no God. But the gypsy lady seemed religious and pious or was I charmed by the head scarf over her head that ran as a beard over and across her chin and mouth. Indeed, she must know more than I do.

I looked at the time piece and it said 1:30pm, its time for me to leave for an appointment. So I sat on my bicycle and cycled off and suddenly I heard a siren. I looked and saw a police bike riding towards me. The police guy caught up with me and passed me, it suddenly occurred to me that the road was not busy as always, so I soft pedaled as a Mercedes Benz drew closer and passed, then the second Mercedes Benz drew closer to pass me like others did. I looked at the occupants of the car, and who did I see? I saw the graceful President Tarja Halonen (koko kansan presidentti), and I smiled again. I am one of her biggest fan. Her car drove by and was followed by another police bike. I was glad that I saw President Tarja Halonen, although I have seen her couple of times but each moment I see her radiating personality, I get to appreciate her more as a president that loves her people and shares in everything her people lives with, like  sharing in the sun’s life too.

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