In case you were too busy to notice it, I just wanted to remind you that you are there. “Where?”, you might ask. In the time between hägg and syrén (bird cherry and lilac) which is so short-lived and delicate in the far North that modern life is in danger of not noticing it. We drive over it, chat and SMS over it, and blog over it (here I am…). Yet it somehow survives to return each year to offer us a powerful source of regeneration if we choose to source it.
Sometime back in the old days when we still took our winter shoes to the shoemaker for fixing in the spring so that they would be ready for the autumn, a shoemaker somewhere in the North decided that enough was enough. He sat exhausted in his workshop, took one look at the piles of ancient leather that had to be repaired before harvesting time, took one look out the window at the apple blossoms that were about to open and decided that he didn’t want to miss it all. He pulled out a slab of wood and on it painted with some of the faluröd color left over from re-painting his cottage, “Closed between bird cherry and lilac”. He laid down his tools with hands that had themselves become like the leather that he cut and polished everyday, turned the large key and locked the door. Passersby and people who came with their broken shoes during these weeks read the sign with curiosity, and immediately understood and respected the wisdom of the shoemaker.
This is the true story of this famous Nordic expression of time, between hägg and syrén, which has become a cultural institution in this part of the world. Even if most of us do not have the flexibility to just lock the door like the shoemaker, we can at the very least find the courage to sometimes put down our tools and know the extreme joy of this time.