Pining for Finland

Brown Bear painting by Brenda Davis Harsham

Brown bear, brown bear,
what do you see?
Reindeer herds or
Santa in Rovaniemi?

May to August,
the midnight sun lights Lapland.
Under that luminous sky,
the Sámi teach that all
beings and objects have souls.
Paintings, pottery,
dolls and blankets have stories.
A Sámi kota is a circular tent,
a place for visions and healing.

Brown bear, brown bear,
what do you see?
A Lake Saimaa seal,
cut off from the sea?

Long winer nights are
lit by aurora borealis,
heaven’s fireworks,
the celestial dragon.
If we listen,
what will we hear?

Notes: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a classic children’s book written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. I pay homage here to a book my kids love, and I reread so many times it feels part of my DNA.

I’ve seen a rise in visitors from Finland, and I wanted to learn more about it. Finland’s cities of light are dwarfed by its vast wilderness near the arctic circle. In between Sweden and Russia, Finland flies its cross-of-blue flag over lakes, mountains, forests, rocky inlets, migrating birds and northern lights. It’s a place of magic, with trees frozen like trolls, glass igloos and brown bear roaming free.

The painting is a watercolor of mine from twenty years ago, tweaked by iPhoto.

Gingerbread Joy

Gingerbread houses

Snow lingers in spun-sugar drifts
On gingerbread houses: my spirits lift.
Such a colorful display of cake and candy
Makes the world seem sweet and dandy.
Even though holly bushes are snow-bare,
The winter season gives magic to share,
As children, near and far, laugh and play
Because Santa Claus can’t be far away!
Whether you feel reverence at a birth,
Or making kids happy brings you mirth,
May your days be full of surprises and joy,
Like a holly berry, saved for a fairy’s toy.

Copyright 2014 Brenda Davis Harsham

Holly bush with berries

Merry Christmas!!

Note: This amazing gingerbread house was part of a display at Wilson Farms in Lexington, MA.