Yesterday I went to swim at Mustikkamaa beach, strangely enough, for the first time in my life. Naturally I have been there before, but for some reason only late in the autumn, walking on the shore. In the early 1990s I spent much of my then plentiful free time sunbathing, reading, and listening to music among the crowds on the cliffs of Suomenlinna, but not in Mustikkamaa, although it is quite conveniently situated for me. Now I discovered that it is a very nice place indeed for a sunny Sunday morning: soft sand, cliffs, grass, and sturdy pines, in the less populous areas tall grasses and wild flowers. When I arrived, there was still plenty of space, but soon the beach started filling up with people of all ages. I had with me only the essentials: keys, towel, sun tan lotion, and the latest number of Temenos to read, no watch. I went swimming twice without any unpleasant consequences, in spite of the suspicious looking tiny green balls in the water - harmless according to the guards. When I came back home I saw that I had spent almost four hours on the beach, instead of the intended two. No wonder I was hungry, thirsty, and hot.

It's strange that I have gone swimming so seldom in recent years. It is after all, in addition to walking, the only form of physical activity that I like. At our summer cottage I used to swim at least once a day whenever I was there, sometimes from May to October. One of my greatest pleasures was swimming in cold water among yellow leaves late in autumn, and then warming up in sauna. But since my father sold it in 1994, I have gone swimming only once before going to Möysä beach, where I had learned to swim, in Lahti this summer - a couple of years ago in the cold and choppy Lake Urajärvi.