The summer cottage is nestled within the back-country roads inside the forests of Ostrobothnia. A drive of a few kilometers takes us through the winding rural mud paths and wilderness to a small opening in the road. The cottage is hidden away behind trees and shrubs, emerging only to those who walk down the descending path. A painted black exterior of old log panels, the scent of the longstanding sauna emerges from the depths of the land. There is little between the cottage and the open sea aside from pillows of moss and a small inlet of jagged rocks and boulders. We pry open the wooden door to the cabin which hasn’t been cracked open for months, and enter the cozy lodge.
Inside, the world has moved little from scenes of yesteryear. The gas stove and small kitchen space are ample to provide small meals for the summer. The collage of rugs in the living room space, which holds a few books, a couple of chairs and couch, and a large glass table covering the old beige wood floors, provide cover for the trampling of muddy feet that may have once entered. A small bunk bed built into the living room wall indicates that children have spent their summers here in the depths of the forest. Walking to the back bedroom through a small corridor, a book shelf and paintings line the cracked white wall. Old skippers’ pipes and glass ornaments provide decoration for visitors, no doubt used many years ago by the inhabitants of this little home. Turning back through the living room to the front door, the large glass pane catches my eye, the ripples outside rustling quietly into the rocky shore.
Outdoors, the deck levels out the entrance and backyard area with a table and chairs for outdoor gatherings around the house. They haven’t been used for years but are still inviting to visitors. The sauna is separate from the cottage and an ideal fit for a family get-together. I sit inside near the small window overlooking the water, watching the currents rise and dip in the distance. A few feet further outside, the rocks half submerged are a perfect pathway leading out into the open sea. I walk upon these protruding rocks, balancing and weighing my steps until I find myself isolated on a single large stone. There is little to think of but the beauty of forests and seas, of saunas and the passing breeze.