Kuu kiurusta kesään, puoli kuuta peipposesta, västäräkistä vähäsen, pääskysestä ei päivääkään.

-- Traditional Finnish proverb

Ask a Finn for a traditional Finnish proverb and the above is probably what you'll get, although odds are even they won't understand it, much less know how to apply it. Finnish has hundreds of similar nature-related proverbs, nearly all of which have been obsoleted by weather satellites and TV news, and consequently forgotten. Only this one remains firmly lodged in the collective memory of every Finn.

So what does it mean then? The answer is simple enough: the little alliterative ditty counts the days to summer by following the migration of various bird species. However, in these urban days, most city-dwellers would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a finch and a wagtail, even if they did spot a creature with wings perching on a mobile network repeater station or something...

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