I feel a little lonely. A little sad. Perhaps it was the book I read about the girl of the forest, slowly losing everything she loved. Perhaps it’s because I’m sitting at a cafe alone, and I wish I had someone to talk to, a friend I could open my heart to.
Things are changing though. When I came here there were a lot of people. The place was loud. Now there is only me, and the guy in black sitting against the wall. A woman walks up the stairs to take a seat at the table behind mine. We’re all sitting by ourselves, and somehow that makes everything better.
The sun is out. But it’s cold. For a moment I pretend I’m in another country, somewhere a little more south, as I look out on a brick bulding in pale orange and white, with slivers of sunlight on its cracked walls.
I enjoy people watching, and I smile as I see to women stop to greet each other, a quick hug and laughter before continuing on. The delivery guy is on the phone, his arms full of tulips. Tulips are everywhere. They’re the promise of spring.
I try to understand the anxiety I feel. Why I suddenly have such a need for hugs, friendship, cake and a good cry. Maybe it’s because I allowed myself to be vulnerable, let people see what I usually keep close to my heart, hidden away where no one can judge it. And I was not judged, I was welcomed with open arms and encouraging worlds. Still somehow my soul feels raw, my pride bruised.
I needed to get away, so I came here, to this cafe/restaurant of organic vegetables and raw chocolate cake. It’s not my favorite place, somehow it lacks heart, but I like it more now that I know I’m not the only one who comes here alone.
And I love that I can sit and look out the window, and do nothing except read and write. At home everything is shouting for my attention, there is always more to be done, and sometimes I just need a break to gather myself.
Cafes help. And chai latte. Chocolate eaten slowly. A walk in the forest. Observing people. Observing life.
What is your favorite place to go when you need to get away?
I want to feel love. I want there to be only me and my divine mother. I want to feel nature around me, to feel what can’t be seen and to nourish myself on beauty.
I made myself chai tea. The air is still sweet with milk and spice. I enjoy adding the ingredients one by one, cinnamon, clove, cardamom, ginger.
I have a jar of wild rose honey that I made last summer. I’m waiting for my tea to cool a bit before adding a teaspoon of it, perhaps a bit more. Something in me wants to cry a little. I think of a warm summers day by the ocean, fat bumblebees buzzing, pink roses moving in the wind.
I feel like I captured love in a jar. Of all the herbal medicines I’ve come across, this is to me the most powerful, the one I make every year. My heart needs it, my bruised soul longs for it. I’ve been stressed lately, wanting everything to be perfect for the Spring Equinox, and just in general putting a lot of pressure on myself to get it all done. I feel hard like ice inside, and I long to melt into the sweetness of rose and honey.
With the coming of the Spring Equinox, I feel there is a new lesson for me; to flow with life and not demand things to be perfect. Love and beauty is more important than clean windows. True, I did want to do a thorough spring cleaning, but it’s more important to be present, to soak in those special energies of the Equinox.
I’m drawn outside, into the forest, to walk among trees and to sit on mossy rocks. Look at things, those little details that make up life, the slow drifting of clouds. Even there I can feel stressed, but I allow myself to feel it and it begins to melt away. The Goddess is close to me there. I can feel her in my heart behind all my worries and doubts. She reminds me that love is most important.
There was a storm last night with rain and heavy winds. Now everything is quiet, and a blue and white sky whispers a promise of a sunny day. All the birds seem to basking in the magic of dawn. Several waterfalls are roaring in the distance, mingling with the sound of little streams that trail down rock and crevice. The world is cleansing itself in anticipation of spring.
The sun is on the mountain across the water, lighting up a forest of dull green and brown. I started walking, but then just had to stop and sit. Words were in my head, and I know I had to write them down before they disappeared.
I feel such joy at the beauty around me. My soul is drinking it all in. I remember sitting in a forest in California, among streams and giant trees. It was only a short visit before returning to the city. But it fed something in me, something that was starving. I remember thinking that I could live on and for beauty alone. Beauty and magic.
The spring equinox is approaching. I will dress in white, and if there is no snow and ice to hinder it, I will climb a specific hill with my husband to greet the sunrise.
Being back in Norway I search of remnants of the ancient religion, of ancient magic. I bought a mini series on DVD, and went through some trouble to get it, simply because it inspired something in me. I loved the scenes with the older woman, the grandmother. She would wear a knitted shawl around her shoulders, secured by a bronze brooch, her silver hair tied into a bun. The children would gather around her as she shared with them tales of old. Stories about the vikings and their mythology. They did rituals together, and the kids went on a dangerous quest of their own, to save the world from Loki and Ragnarok.
It was a kids movie, the acting a bit shaky, the Gods silly and not at all how I would imagine them, but I loved every moment of it. Especially those parts with the grandmother, of candles, sacred food and stories.
So I look for it here. Listening intently to the land to hear whispers of the ancient ways. Of celebrating the change of the seasons, and the return of the sun.
I’m sitting on the frozen ground, on a square of dark pink wool, a stubborn patch of snow at my feet. The lake moves in little ripples. The mountain and forest is bathed in sunlight.
White clouds float across a blue sky, the wind barely touching the trees, my hair, my face. I’m not cold. Perhaps spring has indeed come. I make out a few black dots on the water. A family of ducks. Sometimes I see swans, but they’re not here now.
I was eager to get up this morning. In the past I would have wanted to stay under the covers, hiding from the world, thinking everything was just too much. Things are shifting inside of me, and just as the wheel turns, the world changing, I too change. An eagerness to fill my day with magic is starting to take hold. I’m finally allowing myself to do what I love.
If you could fill your day with anything, what would it be?
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.
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.
The 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.