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  • When I tried to step into a train with 3-metre high cherry tree two sturdy conductors stopped me.

    - Do you really intend to travel with that? closer one nodded at cherry tree.
    - Yes, I answered.
    - Well, another conductor said after pondering a moment with wrinkles on forehead. – They plant fruit trees around train stations nowadays. So, why shouldn’t we have one in our train.

    I had spent my day in town called Myllykoski (Mill Rapids). The town is situated by the river, and it had blossomed longer than a century because of big paper mill giving work and living to generation after generation. In 2011 the factory had been closed abruptly and permanently and the whole town was faced with wide unemployment and crashed dreams. From thriving town to ghost town in an instant.

    What did people of Myllykoski do after the initial shock? They decided to organize big cultural event to fight the apathy lurking under long shadows of mill chimneys. Myllykoski World Expo 2012, it was called. Dozens of cultural happenings and practically every resident of town out there organizing or participating in the flow. Wind blowed hard and abrupt showers tried to interrupt the outdoor program but nobody cared.

    In one corner there was archery school with children and adults shooting arrows, in another there was a play “Last one switches off the lights” going on, telling a gripping story about factory shutdown. I was talking in Myllykoski about literature and its relation with society, and after my performance a bit nervous woman asked me to visit backstage. She told that instead of usual bunch of flowers they had decided to give performers a sapling. “Future growth for Myllykoski”, was the idea. Growth instead of dying.

    An old town gardener had been very excited about the idea and he had promised to donate the saplings. Unfortunately the garderner had misinterpreted the idea a little and instead a 30-centimetre sapling he had brought backstage 3-metre high cherry tree.

    Well, I have to say, it was a most memorable flower I have ever given for doing my work. But it was quite hard to carry it upright to train in whirlwinds of hard north wind and showers. When I eventually got into train and managed to deal with conductors I phoned my son to welcome me at Kotka Harbour so as to help me carry the cherry tree home.

    We live by the old courtyard. Around the courtyard there are old buildings made of tile and wood, some of them are used as residences, some are old stables of horses. The courtyard and all the buildings belong to the same heirs, nice long-haired lady who is a great friend of culture.

    So we decided to plant a cherry tree in our common courtyard. Havu dug a hole and a woman janitor helped us with fresh soil.

    Even if you knew that tomorrow the world’s gonna end, today is a perfect time to plant a cherry tree. Isn’t it?

    This was a good working day for me. Even if I didn’t write a word. Until now.
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