“We were thinking of rowing to that island.” YK says, pointing across the lake.
“No … you cannot, I think.” The Dutch man holds his hand above his eyes. “It is private.”
“Oh …” I see a small one in the distance. “How about that one?” I say.
“That one is too far away.”
We’ll see about that. YK, Lorenzo, Joe, and me climb into the boat. YK rows.
The place where sky and water meet are ribboned with indigo and orange. The water reflects its palette like glass, perfect enough to walk on, reaching into the sunset. As we row, ripples cover the surface. They glide beyond where we can see.
“What time is it?” Joe asks me.
“22:45,” I say.
It’s not technically the longest day of the year. That was the 21st June: 3 days ago. Midsommar’s Eve is cherished in Scandinavia. I’m not too sure what everyone is celebrating. Some people say it’s the summer solstice. Others say St. John the Baptist’s Day. Either way, Swedes don’t need any encouragement to schnapp a holiday away.
The lake house we left has been getting smaller for some time. We look at our destination.
“I don’t think we are any closer.” Joe says.
“Mmm …” YK smirks then rows furiously, eyes popping like a maniac. “We must—” Puff “—get there!” Puff. After a few strokes he stops and laughs. “Seriously guys, it’s as small now as it was when we started. Shall we turn round?”
“No!” I say, “It’s not that far—look! We’re nearly halfway.”
“Whaat!?” Lorenzo, who for the last few minutes has been muttering away practicing an Irish accent with a hood pulled over his eyes, now sits bolt upright, looks to the island and back at us and exclaims, “No, guys! Why would we turn around?”
“OK.” YK tilts his head in acknowledgement and starts rowing again.
Twenty minutes later, the leaves on the trees and the rocks around the island become visible. We slow.
“Eurgh …” YK studies the terrain. “If we go close then the rocks might make a hole in the boat. We don’t know if there’s anywhere to moor it too.”
We all look on. I bite my lips. Lorenzo stares blankly. Then …
“OK.” We’re in agreement. Joe laughs at our determination to row so far. There’s a risky wobble as him and YK swap as rower.
A Stockholm factory we made out in the distance on the way is now shrouded in dusk. I breathe in as the breeze plays with my hair, and the cool of night descends around us. Whether we got there or not, spending time on the waters of Lake Mälaren was worth it.
If you like ‘Surviving’, check out Sondr’s ‘Tropical Tunes’ Spotify playlist! https://smarturl.it/TropicalTunes