A perfect day naturally begins early in the morning. That is my time! I hope I never learn to sleep in! I’d never exchange the promising silence of early mornings for anything else. In winter, I light a fire; on warmer days, I take a stroll around the yard or occasionally, if I’ve time aplenty, go on a longer walk through the neighborhood.

My mind is sharp, but I don’t get right down to work. It’s nice to quietly watch the world as it gradually rouses from slumber. Every little movement and sound is meaningful; it speaks worlds. When traveling, I like to observe the way an unfamiliar city wakes up, especially when I haven’t any urgent, high-priority obligations planned for the morning, giving me a chance to wander the streets and imagine what kinds of lives are lived by the passersby hurrying past and what they might be up to now. I simply drift aimlessly, maybe getting a little lost as I do (a wonderful thing!), and without any advance knowledge put my faith in serendipity for the café I enter randomly upon that early morning to be COZY and JUST RIGHT.

            A perfect day certainly holds a wealth of all kinds of daydreams. Presently, I’m dreaming of the bookshelves that should be wrapped up and delivered to my new home any day now. All I can envision is arranging my books on the shelves and being awash with blissful satisfaction.

            Books. All those that are unfinished, and those I plan to read. I’m often partway through several at once unless one has seized me completely. Which does happen. Often. And then there are a few vital books, ones tied to a certain sense of security and well-being, that I must always have on hand. Last summer, temperatures in Estonia were scorching for a long while. For me, it was quite unbearable – I didn’t scuttle straight out into the blazing sun and the enervating heat. Instead, I spent my days indoors behind closed curtains, reading for hours on end with a cooling beverage in reach.

            The rhythm of my work and personal life can be characterized like this: there are spurts, and then there is idling. Times of idling are necessary in order to frenetically create something in a flash. My writing can also be described and characterized in this way. Over a very long time, I’ve managed to nearly rid myself of all the Protestant guilt that scolds you for simply being idle; that says one should always be doing something ‘useful’, ever productive and ‘shooting from the hip’.

           I love to sit in a garden or a park. And obviously by the sea, if possible. I love to let my mind wander. Observing the tiniest of phenomena and putting them into words is a fantastic activity and exercise. I often set tasks for myself and attempt to phrase a situation, a feeling, or a phenomenon. Something from the micro- and the macro-worlds. It’s especially enchanting to do nothing while everyone else is doing so much around you, even if it’s just growing up so plainly! Sitting in the yard and becoming one with the day, and afterwards writing something such as this:

Sitting in the yard and becoming one with the day.

            Becoming one and being that day.

Removing your glasses, closing your eyes. Drifting off for a moment. Still seeing and hearing all.

Being the cloudless sky.

Being the juices of all the trees and the honey and tears of sap.

And especially the cherry tree in her hope of new fruits.

And the bee, like a flying vessel of nectar.

And the robin whose nest is so snug and ready.

To be the mild western breeze meandering over the terrains that have grown too hot or cold because of me – and nearly lifeless.

To be, now, that alleviation and life’s return.

And for you, my love, to be that unexpected, refreshing gust just as you pause wearily to wipe sweat from your brow and wonder: where on earth did this gentle relief come from so suddenly?

Actually, I first wrote that poem in Norwegian and only later in my native Estonian. I began studying Norwegian early this year and if I only had the time, I’d dig deeper and deeper into it. A new language! The thrill of being capable of expressing something in a new tongue so soon.

            It’s an uplifting sense of success and of being completely, helplessly hobbled, all at the same time.

            So right now, I feel that one component of a nice, perfect day would definitely be having time to work on my Norwegian, even if just a smidgen: to read, try to put something down on paper, or sing a Norwegian song.

            A day wouldn’t be perfect (or even a little bit good, for that matter) without singing and music. I sing every day, at every opportunity, and almost everywhere. I can’t imagine a day without singing. It’s my form of exercise, in a sense – something with which I keep myself in shape; which I allow to pass through my whole being; with which I heal myself. It is the key to different cultures and languages.

            Music, my daily rescue. I’ve mused before about how it’s one of the assets that is always with me and will always endure – it organizes and assembles my molecules even in the most catastrophic of times. As I write this, 16th century Venetian lute music is playing in the background.

            It’s important to remove yourself from your usual trajectory. By that, I don’t mean one should always push further and accomplish something unusual or extraordinary. A slight Renaissance-like diversion enlivens even the most routine day imaginable. By Renaissance, I mean openness. Looking at someone for longer than a glance, immersing in an unexpected conversation, peering into an unanticipated nook, taking a moment to observe what’s behind you in order to better see what lies ahead.

            I’ve been spending a lot of time in Helsinki lately, where there are new paths and places to discover. An out-of-the-everyday environment is always refreshing, as are my long strolls through the city and the invigorating dips in the sea on Seurasaari.

            However, there are still many more components to perfection! I won’t even begin to write about food and drink – topics that would take at least two pieces just as long as this.

            Lastly, being with my children. Listening to their stories, playing word-games, being affectionate, being silly, our own little inside jokes and joys.

            I feel exceptionally satisfied on the days I’m able to write a longer letter. One to someone who READS.

            Since most of the little writing I do is done on, and about, days just like these, a literary day needn’t be anything special to be a perfect day for writing. Come to think of it – all that put together is incredibly special, after all.

Veronika Kivisilla is a storyteller and bard, who made her poetry debut in 2011 with the collection Dear Calendar.   She is the kind of poetess who believes that today, literature must be brought to the reader and the author must read their words aloud. In 2018 Kivisilla made her prose debut. 2019 will bring two new poetry collections by her.