The sky is bright blue for a change, our bellies are full from a continental buffet-style breakfast and the air feels crisp. We’re ready to hike, in every way possible. A volcano crater had loomed on the horizon the last of yesterday’s drive, and that’s where we were headed this morning.
The ground had been slippery when we’d walked out of our room that morning, and we’d been afraid it’d be difficult to drive, but the car had proven worthy and we were speeding along the road as if it was high summer and the roads were dry. The crater looked impressive on the horizon, with its perfectly flat surface. Surrounding it were trails of smoke rising to the sky coming from the local hot springs. All I could think of was the coming hike and the views from the top. Stories about volcanos had littered my life until then, but I’d never been close to one myself and all I could think of was walking along that ridge. Pitch black dirt underneath my feet, never ending views all around. Not for the slightest moment did I think about the anxiety attacks I’d been having lately, why would’ve I?
I’m sitting on a hunter’s platform overlooking a valley. Right in the middle of it I can see what I think is the outskirt of La Roche. A river twists and bends its way through the city and then the trees and I imagine myself walking there only a few hours before. The signage hadn’t been very clear to me and I’d felt utterly lost, after a few confused looks at the map I’d picked up earlier I’d mustered my best french and asked a local man if I was going the right way. Yes, he said, and he said it with so much confidence I had trusted him entirely. A little further down the road, I’d asked another group of locals again and they had said yes with perhaps even more confidence than the first. It was probably because of that, that it took a little while before I found out, but I found out soon enough to eventually find my way looking around and behind trees and signposts. They had sent me the wrong way, I guess it’s just the tourists walking these routes and not the locals. It didn’t really matter, though, the tracks and climbs and views were just as beautiful. It was just a little harder to navigate, walking a different route from the one I’d planned in the opposite direction.
“Nothing, Everything, Anything, Something: If you have nothing, then you have everything, because you have the freedom to do anything, without the fear of losing something.” ― Jarod Kintz
It is a long time ago now and it feels as if it was. I was a different person back then, a different version of me living in a different world. But I remember those three weeks of getting lost on Swedish roads well. Mum and I had decided it was time for a different kind of holiday, and instead of the warm coast of the south we took to the cold roads of the North. We didn’t have a plan, we didn’t have a list of things we wanted to see or do. All we knew was that we’d drive north and turn back down once time would make us.
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
In the beginning, we had planned to work a month as wwoofers in the farm of a 70 years old couple, in small hamlet close to Oslo. Difference of opinions and generational conflict, we had stayed one week. After a few talks, some trees planted, a lawn-mower broken and window-panes well cleaned, we had decided to escape for the fjords of Sognfjord. This is the summary of three days of our one month trip, in a place where time seemed to pass differently.
Our day in Liverpool ends quickly though and the next day we find ourselves on yet another ferry to Dublin, where we get our first taste of Gaelic. All the road signs are both in English as in Gaelic and I rejoice in trying to say all the words out loud. I quickly memorize the word for exit as we pass the sign at least every five minutes on the highway and I don’t think I ever stopped saying it during those three weeks.
Ireland, I haven’t seen you for a while. A couple of years it has been since my feet touched your soil, but if I think of you I hear the music playing in my head and images of roads winding under flowery skies and over green hills littered with stone hedges come to me clear as if it happened just yesterday.
wildflowers i tuck between two slender pieces of cardboard…walking is art…collecting too is art…i make no separation nor distinction between the making of things and being present in the world ~ one swims into the other. A root knob on the shore, weathered and smooth by wind and briny water, the vertabrae and bell shaped ribcage of something that once swam…inviting strangeness in the perfection of sky and the sea that breaks just beyond the narrow stretch of a sandy shore. By now the plover are nesting – the males build scrapes in the sand. The male and female play a game much like charades to distract fox and those who come to steal the small pale buff colored eggs. The cycle of spring is arcing and in a two moon cycles we will meet the solstice.
“There is another world, but it is in this one” – Paule Eluard
The Sequoia trees humbled me, to say the least. I had never seen a more enchanted environment as I did while walking amongst these giants. The light was magical, as were the skies. They say Holland is famous for its specific natural light, however looking up at the clouds hovering over the American valleys was, well, something else. Read More