(yes, it is) 23 of May – 26 of June I’ll be one of three residents in the project Walking Peace in the Avian Kingdom in Sweden, organised by ARNA at the very spot where two pilgrim trails meet in Harlösa. Walking Peace is a green, slow and peaceful way of making new connections across cultural backgrounds and religions, creating art as a statement for peace while walking. Afterwards I'll be researching the pioneer life in Värmland.


Winter in summer

Being out of time is a tricky thing. You know there is another world in which the clock is ticking, but it is as if it is a book you can close, a story in which the main character resembles you, a different you, the you in the mirror.
There are no mirrors here. But you can see yourself reflected in the lake. You see yourself in the eyes of others.

There are two different kind of others here. There are the people that stay and the people that go. You don’t see the difference straight away, people have different reasons for staying, for wanting to stay. Some people are on the run, they got entangled in something they don’t want to be part of. They search for a way to free themselves. Others are curious about a different way of living. A way of being. Others are here because they think they want to learn something. But they don’t really want to. Those are the people that leave. Even when they seem to be staying.

It is easy to want to stay. I want to stay. I wanted to stay from the beginning. I thought about staying before I even arrived here. But staying isn’t easy. If you really want to stay you have to be willing to think about winter when it is summer. So you can dream about summer when it is winter. Staying means making sure you have a good roof, enough wood (which is usually three times as much as you think you need). Staying means foraging for berries and mushrooms and herbs so you can dry them, growing and harvesting and canning vegetables. Staying means being willing not to see other people for days on end. Staying means getting over your fear of winter. And the only way to get over it is to work hard. To prepare. To already feel the winter’s chill in your bones when other people are sweating in the sun.
When after a long winter the summer has finally arrived, when the dream of summer has been replaced by the presence of summer, winter is already there again. Winter in summer. Sometimes the real summer seems to be less real than the dream of summer in winter.

Staying doesn’t mean being here. It doesn’t mean planning to come back. It doesn’t mean not leaving. Staying means knowing you’ve changed because of your stay here. Staying means leaving some of your fear behind. Staying means waking up, being happy and feeling as if you’ve always been here. And realising that here doesn’t mean a red house in Bonsäter but a body with some new scars and memories. Some very valuable ones.

Maybe some peoples fear for winter is really the leftover fear of people who went to lead their life in a different way from how they lived it before they came here.