As I Explore the City

John-Atkinson-Grimshaw-Paintings-Moonlight-1871Up early again, in the quiet hours of morning.

My heart tells me to write. I would love to write a lot more than I do. I read a book where the author felt lonely because she hadn’t written that day, and she had lost the thread of her soul.

Yesterday was magical. I spent it mostly in the city, first at a cafe, reading, writing, and then exploring the different streets of twists and turns. I only moved here a year ago and haven’t yet gotten to know the city closest to me, I mean beyond the main shopping streets.

First I walked through the marketplace, where the farmers sometimes gather on Saturdays to sell fruits and vegetables, usually in summer time. Then I passed the giant stone church and a place of big trees and purple crocuses not yet in full bloom. My big sadness is that there aren’t many large trees left in the forests here. It must be because they cut them down, and they never get to grow old.

I’m drawn to those thick, beautiful trees. My heart aches for them. They have wisdom and voices of their own, deeper voices than the young ones. Something is terribly amiss without them, as they bring both beauty and magic to a place.

So I was very happy to see them here. I wanted to sit down but something drew me forward. The horizon. It looked beautiful as it was getting close to sunset, and I wondered what lay at the end of a long street of little white houses.

This city is a bit different from what I’m used to. I come from a place of mountains, where you can never quite see the whole sky. But here, if it wasn’t for the tall buildings, I would be able to see the sun dip into the ocean. This gave me a sense of being free. It made me smile.

I’ve sometimes wondered why I chose to come here. Or rather, why the Goddess chose this place for me. My heart has always belonged to western Norway, with its high, dramatic mountains and fjords. But here in the south all the peaks and angles are softer, kinder. Somehow it helps me hear myself better. And I find myself tuning into that guiding voice inside of me as I try to figure out who I am, and what I can possibly offer to others, and to the world.

The Lady of Shalott 1888 by John William Waterhouse 1849-1917

With a brown paper back of organic groceries, I head down the street towards the horizon. I love the old white houses with little blue doors, so typical of the south. I admire them as I pass them, wishing we would stick to the old way of building things, sometimes cringing at the modern structures of concrete or brick. They always seemed so hostile to me. Like they’re trying to be all big and important, without feeling, without heart. Yet today the sun has softened them a bit, and I don’t mind them as much. I’ve found that when I’m inspired, when I’m in the present moment, life is just interesting and beautiful, no matter what.

The street ends at a small body of water, with a bridge and houses on the other side. I sit for a bit on a bench close to me. I put my paper bag on the ground. It’s not cold, at least not right now. I can tell everyone basks in the glory of spring, in the way people walk past me, often in something lighter than winter coats. But winter is still in the air. And as I woke up this morning the ground was white with frost, a thin layer of ice on the far corners of the lake.

I watch as the sky changes into a darker shade of blue. There’s pink at the edge of the horizon. The setting sun is reflected in the windows of the houses across the water.

I stay for a bit. I pray to the Goddess because even now I feel anxious, and I don’t fully understand why. I feel that if I lean into her, fully trust her, then my anxiety eases up a bit, but it’s hard to stay there. I keep trying though, as often as I remember.

Touched by her love I get up, finally feeling the chill of the evening. I start to head back, to my trees, but then I’m distracted by the pink of the horizon to my left and a glimpse of the ocean. So I head that way, still carrying my somewhat heavy paper bag. I want to see the sun before it sets completely, but I’m not sure which direction is west. And I think I’m too late, the evening is already too deep.

John_Atkinson_Grimshaw_-_Spirit_of_the_NightThe place I come to is the most magical yet. Here too there are crocuses and snow drops. And my beloved big, old trees. The ocean speaks to me and reaches far beyond my sight. There is a structure of stone, I think an old fortress that is being renovated. It brings a sense of wonder to the place, a whisper of a time long past. I especially admire two giant oak trees next to it, their bare branches filled with crows. As I watch more birds come to join the others, and the sound of them makes me think of ancient forests, of bubbling cauldrons.

I want to stay and soak in the feeling of the place. I sit down by the water, watching two ducks paddle away from me. A man and his wife. He is handsome with colorful feathers and a green head. She is brown and lovely, a more gentle presence.

A woman walks past me with a tiny, fluffy dog that stops to sniff my pants. It’s cute beyond words. I want to cuddle it. There is a deepening shade of blue all around me, touching everything. It’s almost nightfall. The moon is out, has been out since the time I first started walking. Now a few stars have joined her.

The ducks return, and a woman and a boy snaps a picture of the fortress, or perhaps of the sky. They walk to the edge of the ocean and points at something, talking.

I decide to leave. The chill of early spring always seeps beneath my jacket, and into my bones if I sit still for too long. I should have brought my hat. My head aches a bit from the cold.

I’m getting hungry, a little tired of walking and decide to return to the street lined with cafes. I think I know where to go and head in that direction, still exploring the city as I’ve never been here before. I touch one of the trees as I go, pausing for a second and then moving on.

I pass two kids ice skating on a small man made pond. And then I have to stop again. I have followed the edge of the ocean and I want to watch it for a while. It stretched past a few small, rocky islands and then beyond my line of sight. I think Denmark is somewhere on the other side.

I turn and stay with my eyes fixed on the sky. There is a trail of fiery pink next to the moon. I stay there as the night deepens all around me. The pink is mixed with darker clouds and soon it all fades into grey.

The amount of people around me are dwindling. I hear music, someone playing with an instrument, a kind of a toy next to the icy pond. I walk into the streets of shops and cars, feeling relieved when I finally recognize where I am.

I‘m close to a new cafe I want to explore when my husband calls. He is done with his thing and wants to meet up. He wants indian food, but we discuss it, and somehow end up with sushi. It’s a good choice. It turns out to be the best sushi I’ve had so far in Norway. I feel tired, a bit sleepy from all the fresh air. My heart is full of wonderful new impressions.

2 Comments on As I Explore the City

  1. Jodi Sky
    March 11, 2014 at 9:28 pm (5 years ago)

    I was completely lost in the dreamy adventure and imagery that you painted with your words. Thank you for this treasure. I agree about the wisdom and magical energy of mature trees. Would love to live near them some day. “I would be able to see the sun dip into the ocean.” – that reminds me of the coast town where I spend 10 years of my youth. It was a blessing to watch the sun rise and set over the ocean.
    Jodi Sky recently posted…Surrender. Flow. Trust.My Profile

  2. Anne Linn
    March 14, 2014 at 11:27 am (5 years ago)

    Thank you Jodi! There is truly something magical about being able to see the sun rise and set over the ocean. I would love to move closer to the coast.


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