“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination.” –Mary Oliver
It was a perfect, actual summer’s day in Denmark today; blue skies, a few fluffy clouds, temperatures in the mid 20s celsius, (about 77 degrees, or so) the farmers’ fields ripe with tall grain, which they are in the process of harvesting. I took the bus from my teeny town down to a city called Ringsted, to do some errands and as a small way to alleviate utter boredom. People walked about the city center looking relaxed, eating ice cream on sticks, girls and women in summer dresses; even the grouchiest Danes seemed less grouchy than usual. I have to admit, when summer comes to Denmark, brief and rare as it is this summer, it is truly a lovely place to be.
On a day such as this, there seems to be no ostensible reason to feel anything but good and free and happy, right? That could be the basic assumption, I suppose. Yet from the time I got back on the bus towards my teeny new hometown, I became less and less carefree, and in fact ended the evening sobbing. Part of the sobs came from seeing two of my beautiful, young and innocent daughters on Skype tonight, which at first made me so joyful simply to see their radiant faces again after leaving them in the States two months ago, but afterwards the letdown and intense missing of their presence in my life got the better of me. When they asked me, so sweetly, “so how are you doing, Mom?” it wasn’t easy to cheerfully answer, ‘oh I’m fine.’ Nor was it easy to tell them that we are now in a town where there is nothing except one grocery store and a cluster of utterly Danish people with whom I cannot even speak English at all. To do anything interesting requires a bus or train and some money. Admitting all this to them and watching their faces as they took it in, was heartbreaking. Their story was in turn, heartbreaking also: their sole bicycle which the two of them shared, was stolen a week ago in front of the local grocery store because my daughter forgot to bring her bike lock along; they had discovered that the bites they were both experiencing in the night were thanks to bedbugs that have inhabited their rented apartment for far longer than they have; and my younger daughter, who has been waitlisted for the good, alternative middle school a short four blocks away from their home, will have to take a bus at 6:30 am each morning in order to arrive a half hour early for her classes which begin at a shocking 7:30 am at the not-looking-so-good, ordinary middle school she has been assigned to in the meantime.
Of course, none of these complaints are earthshattering; people live with far worse conditions all over the world and I ought to be counting my blessings instead of feeling sorry for all of us tonight. Yet I am anyway, I can’t help it. My frustration level with life in general is, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being nonexistent and 10 being Wanting to Scream in the Street, is at about a 9.8 right about now. Life is so ridiculously ironic; when I was in Silkeborg, as boring as a place that it mostly was, at least the forest and lakes saved me. But now that life is gone, it is the past. The future is unwritten. There is only Now, some nice sunny days in a place where there is only my husband to keep me company. He’s wonderful and sweet and I am very grateful for him in my life. But the loneliness of being (again) in a totally new place, in the middle of nothing but grainfields in the middle of a big island at the top of the European continent, surrounded by non-English speaking, shy human beings and having nothing to do except write blogposts and consider what in this world I might even be able to do with myself during the cold, wet days of this coming autumn and winter, overwhelms me in grief tonight.
This afternoon out on the town square in Ringsted, I met a couple of very nice young men, canvassing for Unicef. I spoke with them both for a little while, (in English!) and we had a very nice conversation. These two young Danish men were intelligent, articulate, handsome, bright, awake, interested, compassionate, thoughtful, and creative young people. At one point in the conversation I couldn’t help but blurt out, “I am really sorry that you are inheriting such a messed up world from us.” The young man smiled a brilliant smile, and replied, “it’s allright, we are clever, and we will fix it!” A few minutes later we parted, and as I walked back through the town towards the bus station I kept thinking of him, his brilliance and his confidence. This world, no matter how awful, how lonely and tragic it appears to me through my lens, has hope for something better, something truly wonderful and marvelous to happen, as long as there are beautiful young people like them, like my daughters and their friends in the States, and in fact all around the globe. I really have faith in them, and believe that because of them, what they bring through their love, friendship, kindness and unbelievable amounts of positive energy, we may have a good chance to get through all of the hardships which lie ahead for humanity as we make this huge collective shift from the old way of being on this earth, to the new. There truly is a new paradigm, or protocol, or mode of being on the earth, and these bright young men and women are the heralds of it.It is deeply comforting to me to know that in the midst of my own personal grief and frustrations, the phoenix of Glory rises through them. Even if I never do another worthwhile thing for the rest of my life, I know I have done my part. I have brought and raised three of these new lightbearers here and it is enough. They will (and already do) take my little light and create huge bonfires, as they and their contemporaries will light a fire on this planet that will burn away all the dross, all the egoism, all the pettiness and ugliness of the old ones. And when they do, I will be one of the first to see it, to get up and dance like a mad crazywoman around the burning, singing gloryhallelujah and cackling with glee.