It is early may. I am alone in my study at our summer house on the island off the coast of Finland. The leaden gray sea lies heavily with its soothing calm reflected by the overcast sky. Faint streaks of pale blue lighten the horizon like distant hopes. A lingering coolness hangs in the air with the receding echoes of the winter that held the island in its icy grip during months of darkness. Gulls wheel effortlessly through the vast silence. The distant chirping of a bird evokes the cry of a lost child. Pine trees stand erect like sentinels holding their breath in the morning mist. Birches with fresh green leaves of mouse ears stand self-consciously as recent arrivals not yet at home in the unfolding spring.