I don’t remember exactly what year I moved to Lithuania. It must have been about ten years ago.
But I do remember that it was on July 1st. Because in the same week, on July 6th, was my birthday.
From Vilnius, where I lived, I traveled to nearby Trakai. This is a national park with a lot of water and many islands, a castle, beautiful old villages, mysterious cultures like the Karaites, and – like everywhere in Lithuania – a lot of nature and greenery. Some of the islands are connected by wooden bridges, others can be reached by rowing boat.
So I hopped from island to island, like the Allies advancing on Japan, only more peaceful and placid. And without being shot at.
Instead of kamikaze killers, on many of the islands, especially the wooded and remote ones, I was greeted by fairy circles. Through the trees, I observed girls in long white dresses with flowers pinned in their hair. They held each other’s hands and were dancing in a circle and singing.
It was beautiful.
I didn’t want them to spot me. I didn’t even want to take pictures so as not to destroy the magic.
On some islands, there were several of these dancing and singing circles, and some noticed me. I turned down all invitations to join the dance, because at that time, I was still very shy.
When they realized that I was not Lithuanian, they welcomed me to the country and explained that July 6th was a very special day. I agreed with that, but – because I am not only shy, but also modest – without revealing that I was the birthday child.
I don’t know how word of my arrival had spread so quickly. And how they knew I was coming to Trakai that day.
In any case, no country had ever given me such a reception.
Later, someone told me that July 6th is a national holiday because King Mindaugas had been crowned on that day in 1253. However, this was so long ago, I don’t think people would still dance and sing for it. Besides, Lithuania is not a kingdom.