in Finnish folklore, the sauna is the home of Saunatonttu – the sauna elf – a little gnome figure who brings both good (watching over the sauna) and bad (punishing people for improper behavior). Ok, but is Saunatonttu fact or folklore fiction?
A couple days ago, I received this wonderful book in the mail:
Sauna Studies was published in the mid ’70s and as I carefully considered its contents, it carried with it a natural aged scent as if it had been sitting on a Finnish cabin shelf for forty years. With the exception of a postmark from Finland, it came to me with no other clues. No note or return address or any indication of who may have sent this thoughtful, priceless gift.
Then, in today’s mail comes another similar white envelope.
Again, with only a Finnish postmark and no note or indication from whom it was sent. Inside were four large Finnish chocolate bars.
As I consider this whole pleasant set of events, I gaze out my office window and see a nice spring rain falling. I return my eyes to the four chocolate bars. Four thoughts wave into my head like the smell of fresh spring flowers:
- How have I effected someone to be this kind, from almost half way around the globe?
- Is generosity its own reward?
- Is joy and appreciation of authentic sauna be creating this action?
- Could sharing sauna passion be its own reward?
There really is a Saunatonttu.