Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Heavens on Earth


The beauty of the place Michael and I live, the place we call Magic Land, is absolutely striking this time of year: at the end of a dirt road, with the creek flowing by creating a constant symphony of moving water, the intense green nuances of the grass on the field, and of the trees standing tall and proud all around. Deer are coming closer to the cabin than ever, looking for apples from the apple trees. Fireflies flash their mating lights in the evening. First they appear as small golden lights over the field and garden, later into the evening they seem bluish-white, like sparkles from a very playful Faery Godmother. It feels like we are living in a flourescent green, benevolent heart-chakra. 
Some nights ago we sat on the porch and the rainclouds rolled in. But just as sudden as the rain had started it stopped, and the sun shone over the treetops. Appaering in this weather-drama was a perfect rainbow, stretching over Magic Land. At the very same time, on both sides of the rainbow flashed electric white lightning. I have never seen anything like it. This was two nights after I came back from an almost month-long stay in Sweden. I felt like a happy kid who was thrown a welcome-home-surprise-party.


Subtle Sweden
 Sweden has another kind of beauty, more subtle, with softer colors, winds that whisper silently in the birch trees, lakes and rivers that glitter on sunny days. Even the birds sing differently, more melodious, but also more quiet. As if they are afraid of disturbing the gentle harmony of the land.
On my trip home from Sweden I got stuck a couple of hours extra at Zurich Airport because the flight that was going to take me to Washington, D.C. was delayed. Those were long hours, eager as I was to get home to the love of my life who was waiting for me. They were also long because Zurich Airport, as most airports, is an artificial world, with seemingly endless rows of stores with luxuries that no-one really needs, and a chemical level in the air that makes it hard to breathe. I hadn’t gotten my gate announced, so I walked back and forth in this strange world, passing the same stores over and over. Interestingly enough almost all sitting possibilities are gone in this in-between area, if you don’t pay loads of money for food or beverage in the neon-lighted restaurants. You are not supposed to sit down when you are there – you are supposed to spend money on over-priced goods. 

Magic Land
Zurich Airport is also, as all airports, a place where people pass through: nervous, excited, scared, or happy, depending on what is waiting for them at their destination. Some are sad (perhaps they left someone they love,) some are joyous, having vacation, leisure or adventure waiting for them at the end of the flight. 

It occurred to me, that at this time in my life, being stuck in this airport was like being in limbo, knowing that heaven on earth was waiting for me at my destination, and also knowing that heaven on earth was a place I had just left. Only there, in that artificial waiting-ground, did I feel cast out of heaven, isolated from my worlds, utterly lonely, even though hundreds of people were on the move around me. I thought that maybe this is what hell would be like for me. Then I thought that if I had to be in hell for some extra hours to be able to move between my very own heavens on earth ... well, 
then so be it. 

Birches, Sweden and rainbow over Magic Land
I got out of hell ... I mean, I got out of Zurich Airport. I flew over the Atlantic. I got to go home. I’m with my love, in a place I love, thinking fondly of the most recent memories of another place that is also my home. I think about how lucky I am, how rich I am, who can say that I haven’t only found one home, but several. That there is no place I would rather be, than the place I am right now. And how lucky I am that I can say that there was no place I would rather have been, than home in Sweden some weeks ago. 

I have found my very own heavens on earth. The only thing I pray for, is that I do not have to spend too many more hours of my life at Zurich Airport.

My parents garden, Sweden
I wrote this editorial for The Echo World, July issue 2017, when I just came home from a beautiful trip to Sweden. That was several weeks ago - but the conclusions still hold true.

Photographs by: top - Lina Ekstrand, the rest - Sofia Karin Axelsson