Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Nordic Notes #2

I am writing this on a grey, misty Saturday afternoon. This morning brought the first rain in over two weeks; everything is damp and subdued, and spring seems even further away than it has done over the previous two weeks.

I spent most of the morning writing an abstract and catching up on some reading for my study. The rain stopped at 3:30 so I took myself outside for some fresh air with a walk along Nora Strand. The snow has started to thaw, and is turning a yellow-grey colour from the stains of rain and roadside pollution; the parks lie empty, the roads are desolate, and it seems that I am the only person in this bleak place. The absence of blue skies makes the world appear to be in black and white; a grey-scale from the sky, through the bare trees and down to the grit on the floor.

The only warmth is found in the candlelight of candelabras glowing through living room windows, and the smell of woodsmoke, which brings warm memories of family holidays in the mountains and pubs in winter. A month is not a long time to be away, but two weeks is enough to turn an adventure into normality, and today I am homesick for candlelight and warmth and my home which feels further away than ever. Even Radio 4 and Campbell's tomato soup can't fulfil my yearning for redbrick houses, chunky porridge and a slice of carrot cake.

I do not mind being homesick. I believe that as adults a certain homesickness is something that we constantly live with; surely we are all nostalgic for the comfort of a home that is permanently elsewhere? I am also perfectly happy to be lonely; to a certain extent I thrive in solitude, and find myself at my most peaceful and most creative when my head is echoing from a lack of conversation and company. After a week that flew past in the saccade of a one-year-old's eye (pun intended) it is comforting to find a lonely, quiet space in all of this greyness. The bleakness is also a freedom to not rush out and enjoy anything at all, and to instead stay close to home drinking tea and taking in the first ugly day that I have seen in Stockholm so far. I am certain that the city centre will be as beautiful as it always is, but the painfully slow melting of winter in Danderyd is also worth witnessing, all the while daydreaming about those snippets of home that usually I wouldn't care to notice. The grit and the grey bring a refreshing shift in perspective.

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