Last days of Winter
After having an intense period of travelling regarding my work, we decided to take a week off and do nothing in particular. Just hang out at home, go to the countryside, read a book, go to a lovely birthday party and chill for a change. My grandparents’ country house is located in a place called Võhma. In Estonia, there are two more places with exactly the same name, but our Võhma is the smallest one, so no one really knows about it. I feel like it’s a secret little place that only my family knows about. Driving there makes the feeling even stronger, because our house is the last one at the end of the road and after that, thick forest takes over. The name of our house is Seene talu, which roughly means Mushroom Cottage.
It was the first time after my grandfather’s passing, that I visited the place and it felt both ambiguously nice and strange at the same time. Everything was still the same, in its old place, there were cookies on the table, mismatched pillows on the sofa, solved crossword puzzles next to the bedside table, colorful kitchen towels exactly where they should be - hanging from a rail attached to the oven. At the same time, something was very different. At first, I didn’t quite get what the feeling was, but soon it felt quite obvious. The house was suddenly a bit empty.
My grandmother is always telling how the house is built in an amazing spot, because everyone has the best night’s sleep in there. As a kid, I always slept until noon only to discover that everybody has been already up and about for hours. Either mowing the lawn, picking berries or organizing the garden. Even today, I slept like a log.
Sometimes, when I enjoy slow mornings at home and the sun is peeking through the curtains, I like to fluff the blanket a little and watch tiny dust particles slowly fall across the room in slow motion. The feeling is even better when I know that others are up already and haven’t woken me.
While staying in Võhma, we also explored around a little bit. As there was fresh snow, we saw so many different animals’ footprints and even a tree with recent bear claw marks! The surrounding area has quite many small animals living in the nearby forest, but I didn’t know that bears would be hanging out so close by. I used to love to listen to stories and made-up fairy tales by my grandfather, which often involved all kinds of animals in strange universes. He was a great storyteller and hopefully one day I can also tell my grandchildren funny little stories that they will hear in awe.
Photography: Oliver Tomson