Sweden. Day 19. Three birds and a funeral.

A little bird appeared on my window this morning, right next to the desk where I usually sit. It was a yellow and blue bird: in English it’s called a “great tit”, which sounds a bit funny to my ears, but in Swedish it’s “talgoxe”, and in Italian it’s “cinciallegra”. They are pretty common in Europe, so if you live in the continent I suppose you know what I mean.

Those are the same type of birds that I used to see all the time in my window back in Germany, where I was living before and, alas, where I should soon return. But, back there, I put a plate full with sunflower seeds, so they had a reason for coming. On this window, which by the way is pretty high, there was nothing, just ice and snow.

I don’t know what the bird wanted, but he remained for a while at the windowsill and seemed to be looking at me. He even came twice — or they were two different birds, it’s hard to know.

Now, this may sound a little crazy, but I always interpreted birds as supernatural messengers. Whenever I see a bird coming very close, or doing something unusual, it seems, to me, to have a meaning beyond its mere presence. I don’t know how to explain it, but there is something about birds that makes me feel like the ancients who used to see omens or prophecies in all kinds of animals. Only, in this case, I don’t know what it meant.

Was it a bird that came all the way from my neighbourhood in Germany to tell me, “Hey man, we don’t have any more seeds back there!” Or was it a bird who followed me all the way on my travel, and now expected to find sunflower seeds here too?

Was it a signal to return sooner, or a signal to stay here forever?

That’s the problem of birds as messengers, you’re never quite sure of what they’re trying to say.

Later on, outside, I saw a magpie up in the tree next to our building (they are also common here), and I had taken a picture of a blackbird before, so that takes care of the three birds of the title.

And the funeral?

Well, a bit later on, I heard the church bell ringing insistently, and I found it strange, as I knew from my previous visit that the church is not so active during winter. I thought: this can only mean two things, a wedding, or a funeral. Unfortunately, it was the second.

I dropped by, and there was quite a crowd for such a small place. In fact, half of the people needed to wait for their turn outside. Either the person was really popular, or there is some sort of life here in Björkö after all, even in winter. Perhaps you don’t see anyone simply because people just stay home baking cookies and watching movies, and I am the only fool who takes long walks under minus zero degrees and strong winds?

Anyhow, in true Swedish fashion, that’s how we ended the day here at the house: baking cardamom buns. Cardamom is a spice that comes from Asia, but it seems to be really popular here in Sweden. They use it in all kinds of things, from bread to cookies to cakes. The American artist residing here made them, following an original local recipe. I just assisted with the baking, and with the eating. They were really good.

Let us hope the birds are good omens, and good things are coming our way.