Happy Itsenäisyyspäivä, Finnish Independence Day!

My great great great grandmother Catherina Mikkelsdotter was born in 1776

In Ostrobothnia, Finland, in the kingdom of Sweden

home to the common swift, the common whitefish.

She married Eric Andersson Utter there, both born in the beautiful month of May,

and when she died in 1838

that same spot of land was

The Russian Empire.

Perhaps this is why

her children and grandchildren crossed borders

and oceans to plant themselves

in a landscape of rock and water, pines

and deer, where they would yearn

for their homeland

in much the same way

that she did.

 

Julia Klatt Singer

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