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Maybe that night we make love till morning…

Sometimes we feel small and insignificant. Much like a tiny girl, walking up a massive mountain. We aren’t quite sure of where we are, or where we will end up. We have an idea of where we want to go – to the top – but the path is winding and we can’t always see the top – there is fog, trees and sometimes fires blocking the sight.

There are nights, when we are curled up by the fire watching a starry sky, and we feel calm and serene, and the path we are walking feels like the loveliest thing ever. Our muscles are tired after a day’s worth of climbing, in fact we are feeling tired through and through, but a good tired – we lived. We lived to the full and we are still buzzing, still filled with life and life force. We are almost giddy with excitement of all the wonders we have seen and are yet to see. Our eyes are still glazed with the beauty of butterflies catching the morning breeze underneath their wings, or the glorious sight of rainbows and waterfalls. Maybe a sudden thunderstorm filled us with power, with lust and then a gentle drizzle calmed our spirits shortly after, only to be followed by sunshine that made us laugh.

We may be sharing our camp fire with some exhilarating stranger we have met whose faces tell tales of faraway countries and adventures more fearful, more wild than we could ever imagine…or maybe adventures so sweet and lustful we can only dream of….and maybe, maybe one day achieve. Or maybe we are sharing the fire with gorgeous loved ones who are accompanying us on our journey and feel as familiar as our favorite spice.

Maybe the night is filled with laughter and excited whispers and tender words. Maybe children are playing and grown-ups smiling. And maybe, long after the kids have gone to bed, everyone is sharing tales that make our heart sing. Maybe we have found a boy whose eyes are sparkling in the moonlight and seemingly reflecting not just the moon, but our own soul, making us feel understood. Maybe for that moment it all makes sense – the search, the climb, the path that we are now on. Maybe that night we make love till  the morning.

At other times we are utterly lost – it’s raining, our knees are aching, we can’t see the top of the mountain – we are walking upwards, but we have no idea if we will ever reach the top, or at least find enough treasure to buy a fire that is always burning, a bottle that is always full, a bed that is always protected and love that is always tender. We are fearful, tired and soaked to our bones. We seek the light in our soul, the inner warmth, the love we know is hidden there, but the fear is overwhelming and the panic seemingly real as the night closes in on us and we shiver.

We  think about friends we have lost, lovers that crossed our path. We think about the chances we never took and those we should never have taken. We think about our own death and wonder where we will be then? Will we have reached the top? Or will we still be fearful and lonely?

We try to fight it, to be strong, but we only get angrier and angrier with ourselves when we do – because we are meant to be strong, right? We are meant to conquer the rain and walk with joy in our heart. We are meant to have learnt enough to find our way by the stars. We aren’t supposed to be lost, or lonely, or tired, or hungry. We are supposed to know better, be better.

Then, we give up. We remember what being truly tiny meant – what it was like being a child. When the world felt large and scary and we jumped up into our parents, or siblings laps and cried, or were just held tight. We were stil told that we were beautiful, that we were loved. No one gave up on us because we slipped and fell. They just hugged us better. We remember that it was OK then. OK to be lost and frightened and sooner, or later we found our way – whether by ourselves, or with the help of others. We felt tiny back then too. We felt scared back then too. But we weren’t angry with ourselves. We just were. We just allowed ourselves to be and somehow, somewhere, we always found the love we needed to find, the light to lit up the deepest night.

Then we take a moment to rest. We sink down, our back towards a cold fir-tree. The cold, suddenly intense against our back, awakens us. We look around. We see a tiny hare, followed by another tiny hare, looking out at us from underneath the bushes. We slowly reach out our hand. We are in desolate parts where man rarely walks and the hares have not yet learnt to fear us. We slowly look at them, as they are looking at us. In their eyes we see our own fear and trepidation reflected. We see curiosity and hope. We see warmth and love.

One of the hares slowly, slowly moves over, seeing whether to trust us. And then, with a final jump it is by our hand, sniffing it. Its nose feels warm against our cold skin. It keeps sniffing around, then suddenly jumps up, into our lap, and looks at us with big eyes. The other hare now follows, carefully, but bravely, seeing the success of its fellow friend. And then, you have them both in your lap, sharing their warmth, their lives with you.

Everywhere the rain is drizzling, turning the wood into a hazy, almost surreal place. The raindrops glisten in the final hour of dusk and the sun is making one last effort to shine through, turning everything golden. You feel a little warmth from it against your skin and the hares’ body heat radiating through your clothes, into your stiff, frozen bones. For a moment you are sharing your life with two other creatures, like yourself, trying to stay warm, find food, love and happiness. You are helping each other, understanding one another. Suddenly life has conquered and you once again feel calm – inside a new dawn has awoken.

You feel fresh. Every part of you has been shaken – you have been lost and you are still lost, but inside you have found the light. You know that as night comes rolling in you will eat some food that strengthen your body and find peace in your dreams. You will then awaken with the sun and move towards new horizons. Maybe with some furry friends by your side.

It is impossible to know if we will ever reach the top of any mountain. Life is an adventure and as such, we know that there will be struggle, there will be loss, but what will always save us is our own life force, our own love of that which surrounds us, that which we do and those whom we love, including ourselves.

We will continue to get lost and we will continue to get found. Storms will shake us and events move us. We will lose what we have found and move on to find love in unexpected places.

The best we can do is find our own heart, our own peace. We can never know what storm is coming next, or how far we will get the next day. We can only continue to move with a purpose in our heart, which gives meaning to our journey. We can continue to build love in our heart, which will strengthen us and keep us calm in the eye of the storm. We can surround ourselves by love, by doing what we love and taking time to build friendships with those we love, or those we think we will come to love. We can give of what we have, as well as our gifts, our talents, and share our lives with others.

We can love and with love always comes a treasure.

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Memories…

Orange blossom and oranges. Taken by Ellen Lev...

La France...

Footsteps paved a path. A path up the mountain. The sun was lingering in the sky – it was late afternoon and it was making its decent. As always the orange trees added luster to the picture; the orange dots matching the color of the sun. It was magic. This landscape so alive, yet so dry at times. The rounded mountains rolling in the horizon, adding softness, adding charm. It was the perfect picture of the French countryside: dark browns and greens mingled up with color. To her it was beauty.

Her heart was there. In that image. Somewhere. She could recall almost everything. The stage. The people. The moonlight. She hadn’t known that summer would change her life forever, but it did. How young she had been. It was an interesting picture. Her, back then. She was essentially the same, yet not at all.

She hadn’t thought of it for so long that the memories came to her almost as a shock. The fact that she could remember so much. It was a path she hadn’t walked for a very long time, but as often is the case: once you start walking you recognize the path, you know where the turns are and one thing reminds you of another.

Looking back she smiled. It was a beautiful story after all. Maybe the ending hadn’t been great, but then the new beginning had been marvelous. Where one journey ends another starts. And she was happy now. For real. And the journey continued to make funny twists and turns…never seizing to fascinate the people on it.

She smiled once more. Life…

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Being a spoilt brat…

I was twenty minutes late for class, as always, and walking through campus with a man in front of me. He looked rough – down and out – and he couldn’t walk properly because he had something wrong with one of his legs. He had an old book he held onto with all his might. I suspected he was on his way to class.

My mind made up some sort of story about the man: he was thankful to be there, to him his class was very important, maybe a new start in his life. He had hardly any money and this was his chance of getting a decent job. For some reason I was filled with sympathy and pity for him – from behind he looked like a sad case of neglect and hardship.

A few minutes prior I had been bitching about having to go to class – I felt tired of being in school and being broke. Being at the school I am at is a privilege, really. I have learnt so much and I have had some amazing teachers. I have gotten an incredible internship through it and I was able to come here only because the Swedish government provide student loans. All in all I’ve been lucky, only I haven’t always seen it like that. My focus has been on the fact that I feel too old to be in school whilst making no money on the side.

My life has been so amazing – I have been to so many places, met so many wonderful people and I was brought up by a loving bunch. I guess my problem has been my mind. I have always been on my way somewhere else, trying to climb a ladder. Never satisfied with being who I am in the moment. My mind never rests, unless I’m standing on a dance floor. Even then I might get distracted by some bloke next to me…or trying to dance better than someone else. I’m always competing. Constantly. I pick men whom I want to impress, or become as good as at something. I pick situations that constantly challenge me. I never feel satisfied just being. I’m constantly tormenting myself by pushing myself harder and harder to the point where I snap.

Our minds are sometimes machines working to our disadvantage – complaining, taking us through the same situations over and over again, diminishing the moment by going astray in thoughts… My former principal, as mentioned before, used to say that “It (the mind) takes control over you, until you take control over it.” So true – it’s like a computer programmed in one way until you decide to program it differently; until you take control.

I think it’s time to push myself to live more every day, instead of think of all my difficulties. Really, I don’t have any worth mentioning. I’m just happy to be alive in a very gorgeous town, surrounded by very gorgeous people.

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The wind is blowing…

They come like whirlwinds, or breezes at night. They sneak in, or they arrive with a storm. Some twirl around for a while, creating patterns, or disruptions. Others gently stroke one’s skin with tenderness. It happens they stay for an hour, a day, a year, or a lifetime. Whatever their role, you find out as you go along…twirl along.

With the years I’ve come to expect the disruptions, the tenderness, the patterns and the storms…when the wind blows and the bell chimes I know that there will be change, I just don’t know which kind.

When I was younger I always thought that the change would be the best ever. That this time it was “It.” The wind would stay, it wouldn’t suddenly move away, or cause havoc. Now I only expect change. One kind, or another.

I’ve learnt that some winds just don’t move in the same direction. You have to follow your heart, they have to follow theirs. When the hearts speak the same language, that’s when you can actually talk…fly together in a dance.

I’ve never been able to predict the winds, yet they have been very predictable because of the ways I’m blowing myself…always moving, always changing, always craving more, better, higher… Only when I’m constantly striving do I feel satisfied. Constantly moving along.

The most surprising thing is that it’s not the winds one think one will, that one ends up remembering. It’s the most unlikely of winds that actually made you change direction…change course and left an imprint on your heart…

It takes a lot of courage to fully engage with a wind, because you never know where it will take you…in which direction it will blow you…but when you let yourself go entirely you are swept off your feet in the most marvelous adventure. You experience yourself through them, with them, and you see life in a different way. You get a new pair of eyes to lend you their sights.

I love it when they sort of whistle your name, because they are so you…the pure sight of them makes you dance and twirl and…fly. Fly so high and so fast and so wonderfully deliriously exhilaratingly crazy. They are the rough, unexpected winds that leave you smiling for a long time after…or forever dancing…

Ride like the Wind

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Knights v.s. investment bankers…

We’ve all heard the fairy tales – since we were kids time and time again we have been told the story of a Knight in shining armor riding to fetch his Princess. Sounds a hell of a lot more romantic than the Investment Banker (who had gotten tired of one-night-stands) sat down in the bar after a long day, laid eyes on a Journalist (who was tired of emotional fuckwitages, fuck buddies and fucking lousy lovers), bought her a drink and that was that. Boring plot.

Now, in reality, I guess it doesn’t matter where and when you lay eyes on your darling to be, but I have contemplated this knight’s tale for a while and I think there is some truth to it. Let me explain:

Us women live with the idea of one day this bloke will come riding into our lives and we will recognize him easily as he will be standing underneath our window fighting dragons (and if not, at least defy our father and climb up to our balcony to declare his never-ending love for us). The thing is, usually we are not sitting stuck in some tower guarded by dragons. No, we tend to stumble upon him in all other weird kind of settings – from match.com to the local pub. So how the heck do we know it is him? He’s come to save us of course! No, truly he has come to save us from singledom, but for us to give up this nice secure tower where we have locked our heart up, he better well save us with some sort of glorious deed. How else will we know that it is he? Why else would we trust him with our heart? No clue. Therefore, he has to fight. Basically, he has to climb the tower and fight the dragons (I’m sad to say I don’t own any dragons to let loose on him, although between my sister and my best friend, he better watch out) so instead he will have to fight for us in other ways. That is to say: he can’t take no for an answer, he’s gotta be prepared to move mountains to be with us (whether that be to defy his mother’s opinion of us, or drive 50 miles a day to see us), he has to believe he can outdo all the other suitors out there and he better be doing his chase in style – from text messages to surprises, he’s gotta be a good warrior – if he does not stand out from the crowd, we won’t recognize him, nor trust him. We will not give a Knight our heart unless he puts up a fight.

Men, on the other hand, have been told that they will have to fight for their fair maiden. In other words – they will not go after a woman who does not expect them to fight for her. Unless they get to fight, how will they know that it is she? They won’t. They need to feel like they fought a war to win her heart – whether that was to be a master in coming up with clever dates, defy her best friend’s wishes (in my case: forget it – if she doesn’t like you, you are out the door in a heartbeat), save her life, outdo a gazillion other suitors, or move Heaven and Earth to be with her. Besides, she needs to be skilled enough in winning his trust, so that once they have fought bravely and climbed all the way up to her chamber in the tower, she is able to remove their armor, piece by piece, until she finds the man underneath it. No man will allow this unless he feels sure he has won her heart.

Of course, after the fighting has taken place the Knight and the Princess need to prove their abilities by making each other feel like King and Queen, as once you have been given a heart, your duty is to look after it and make it beat stronger and stronger by the hour. Else it is likely that the heart will take flight.

What say you dear readers? Is there any truth to this? I guess sometimes it’s reverse roles and the woman does the fighting and the man gets rescued, but it seems to me that many women sit in towers and many men hide under armor, and until a fight takes places, both are stuck in their hiding places. Love is, after all, to understand someone; to truly see them and feel for them and most of us don’t let anyone see our heart unless we think they deserves it – either because they are good at fighting, or they are good at disarming us. It’s very easy to have a crush on someone you know you will never get; the imaginary Knight or Princess, but to actually commit in the real world takes quite something. Or well, at least it takes someone walking straight into one’s life and claiming one’s heart, fully confident that they will get it, only most people don’t do that, as they are unsure of whether they want it or not. Hence, a fight is in place to make it all that more exciting and give us the feeling that the trophy is all that more valuable. There’s a truth to the saying “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” It may also be that you don’t know what you’ve got till you’ve had to fight for it.

There’s gotta be some reason why armor and amour are such similar words…so now with your amour, disarm someone of their armor…the cheese factor just reached 10,000 on a scale of 1 to 100….

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Filed under Courage, Dating, Humor, Life, Love, Men, Relationship, relationships, Self-confidence, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Women

The girl and the ocean…

The morning sun was stretching its first rays up into the air and it created a streak of orange by the line of the horizon. It was a calm morning. The ship was moving slowly and the young man felt a twinge of impatience, at the same time as he knew it was ridiculous – you can’t change the pace of a ship.

The young man was acutely aware of the power of the sea, the winds and everything else which his world evolved around. It was not he that was in control, all he could do was to learn to cope within what was there. If he was in charge of the winds, they’d always blow in the direction in which he was going. If he was in charge of the clouds, they would only be there when the sun was too hot to muster. He wasn’t in charge though, and he knew it. He knew it because he had spent enough time at sea to know. He had been shown the powers of nature time and time again. The more he saw, the more in awe he became of nature, yet, the more he learnt to play within her games. When a storm broke loose, he would look up into the skies and ask what he needed to learn from this one, or if it was just a joke she was playing on them all. A tease. Something to make them work for their ride. They had, after all, been given her planet to play upon. If it could be called playing.

As they would reach harbor today the hull would be washed; everything polished to look nice, including themselves. They had been gone for twelve full moons. It was a long time.

The sun was slowly climbing its way up the sky and the warm rays caressed his face, making him feel relaxed. He needed to sleep. He had been on duty the last five hours. It had been a calm night, nothing much had happened, but he was still getting tired now. He wish he could sleep outside in the sun, but he knew he would have to go downstairs. He yawned.

The ship was his home. Maybe more so than the old cottage in which his parents lived. The smell of salt, seaweed, tar and wood felt more familiar than earth and grass. He had been at sea for six years. It had taught him a lot and it had kept him calm. On land he always felt restless and agitated. At least he had done. Now, he wasn’t sure. He didn’t want to keep moving around always, but the thought of staying in just one place…what was there left to discover after some time? What colors and smells would wake him up, resurrect him? He didn’t know. He had never managed to find them before. As a kid, all that ever interested him was when the ships arrived in the harbor and he got to come down and see what they had brought with them from afar – the colors, smells and sensations of different worlds from his own. Discovery awakened him. Routines made him fall asleep. They were nice for a while. They were like resting – one could switch off, sleepwalk. After a while the body had rested enough and longed to once again discover something new. Something different.

There was one thing he didn’t want to be apart from though and that was her. She had moved to their little town when he was gone in travels. Her family came from afar. She was different; she had seen some of the world out there and she wasn’t sleepwalking like the rest. Her eyes were always open in wonder, she studied, she asked questions…

They would talk for hours. They would walk through the fields together. She would ask him questions about the nature around there, questions he, himself, who had lived there all his life, could not answer. She made him wonder about the meaning of things. About how a seed can become a plant. How some men love what others hate. Everything he had taken for granted she questioned. She was like him, but what he questioned was different.

He had always questioned why people chose to live as they did; day in and day out the same routines. Once he travelled and saw how people lived differently in different places he would question even more – why couldn’t they take the best from different places and merge it together? Would he ever find a place where he would feel like their way of living suited his dreams?

He had been used to feeling different; like no one else understood him. Until she came along. They saw the world, so differently, but they understood each other’s differences. Of course there was also the Captain of this ship. He understood him quite well too. They didn’t share the whole world though, they just sailed together. He would miss him if he stayed ashore – she had asked him when they would settle down together and he had promised that when he returned this time they would get married and he would stay. Use his savings to buy a boat and become a fisherman. The idea of seeing her every day excited him, yet the idea of staying ashore did not. He knew in his heart that he had chosen her, but part of his heart died as he thought of living in a cottage always. There’d be nothing new to see apart from when the ships arrived. She found something new in every flower; every spring she’d be amazed by the wonders of nature. As the ice melted and flowed down the mountains, the flowers burst into bloom and the animals gave birth to their little ones. She praised it all. To him, it was the same as the year before.

She was sitting in the seers room, feeling a bit nervous and ridiculous. Most people did not believe in such things as the planets ruling the minds of men in this little town. In the big city where she was from some people did. Here it was frowned upon; your fate rested entirely in the hands of God. The seer entered the room with a smile; her large red and golden robe making swishing sounds as she moved. Her brown hair was hanging loosely; the curls seemingly playing with one other. Her eyes were green like jade and emeralds. She was a stunning exotic beauty and she had a warmth about her that had a calming effect on people who were close. Even the decoration in the little room was warm – red colors and wooden furniture. She sat down, still with a smile and took her hand. “Don’t worry, God created the planets too. This is not a crime, you are just checking out what God created for you.” “How can you know that already?” she asked, confused. The seer smiled. “You see, he left traces. Like the planets. The lines on your hands. The energy that radiates from your heart and soul. It’s like learning to read, but it’s not the alphabet you are deciphering, it’s people. You cannot predict the entire future – God gave you free will, but unless you break free, your path is written.” She felt a tad calmed down by this. It didn’t sound too bad.

The seer looked her in the eye. “You have a beautiful soul and you will travel far. Much further than you could ever imagine. You are worried right now that the man you are marrying will leave you. He will never leave you. He loves you. No matter where he is he will love you. You see, love is funny like that – you do not have to be in the same room to love someone.” She felt anxious – the idea of being away from him still hurt her. How much time did you need to spend away from loved ones? Since they met, two years ago, he had been gone for 18 months out of 24. She did not want to live like that, but she loved him. Other men made her smile, bought her roses, sang to her…he just had to look at her, but it was difficult when he wasn’t there.

The seer smiled at her anxiety. “He hasn’t forgotten you, nor never will he. You are special to him. So if the world separated you and he was forced to be apart from you forever, no matter who else he loved, he’d still love you. Such is true love. You don’t have to worry though. Your stars tell of different tales. Before I tell you what they are, I need you to understand him though.” She nodded. “You see, like you love spring…the excitement to you of the rebirth of nature, so he loves to travel. If you imagine an eternal winter, life would not be much fun. Everything around you would seem dead and it wasn’t just there to make you appreciate spring, it was there forever. Sure you would enjoy the snow, the occasional sunny day when you go skiing, tea by the fireplace, Christmas candles and spicy treats…you would love that, but you would still mourn the spring. To him traveling is like spring – it awakens him, makes him acutely aware of his surroundings, makes him alive, smiling. You see, to him you are the world, but without spring in it, he won’t be happy.” She looked at the seer in amazement. “I think I can understand that, but are you telling me he will always be traveling? That he will always be gone for more time than he will be with me? I would have to accept that, because I couldn’t leave him and I couldn’t let him live without spring.”

The seer offered her some mint tea and she accepted, still, in her mind, trying to accept the idea of being away from him so much. The seer slowly stirred her cup. “It’s nice, you accepted it. So it’s true that you love him. However, it’s not what you think. For him, the world without you is potentially even worse than a world without spring. It would be like a world without summer.” She smiled and so did the seer. “You will wander far together. Soon a party of travelers will pass through town and you will go with them. They will not mind women on their journey, in fact they will like having you there. Your gifts are valuable to them. You heal people. What you know of herbs and spices will help them. You will help them trade with teas as well. You are truly gifted you know.”

She had always loved the sea, just like him. Somehow she felt that it could tell her the truth – for hours she would stand and stare at it as a child. It had brought her him. It had taught her that she could not tame it – she could play with it – jump in its waves and splash it around, but it would forever be what it was. It was not hers, but she could enjoy it. It would take her places, but she had to be willing to go.

The young man awoke with a smile on his face – he had had a nice sleep and now he was ready to enter the harbor. He just needed to wash first.

He could not only see land now – he could smell it in the air. It had earthy undertones and some vague nuances of burning wood – fireplaces. It always excited him to reach harbor. It was for the sake of harbors that he traveled – new places and sights. This one was, however, familiar. It always looked a tad different every time he returned though, because he saw it with new eyes. Eyes that had seen more of the world. He had changed and therefore his perspective. What he longed to see today though was not the harbor, but her. He knew she was well – he could always sense if something was wrong, but today everything felt right.

She stood there. Skirts gently rustling in the wind, a smile on her face. She was beautiful. To him she looked different than any other woman around. It was as if she stood out – everyone else looked a bit blurred, out of focus, but she was crystal clear.

He was even more tanned than before. His brown locks were slightly blonder and if possible even more tousled than she could remember. His teeth, when he smiled, looked as white as stars in his tanned face and his blue-green eyes shone like emeralds with glints of turquoise. His rough hands, would soon hold hers in them – trace her lines, make her remember that she was alive. This was what she loved about him – how he made her feel more alive when he was around – he looked as if he was part of nature, rather than separate from it. He didn’t live within a house, he lived within the world. She had never liked walls, confinements; she too belonged to nature. Together they felt freer than when apart.

The sailor returned home that night, but home was merely a harbor in her heart.

In each individual there is an individual, yet we are all made from the same materials, so inside each person is a part of who we are. Our bodies are made up of the same earth. We feed off what lived here a thousand years ago. In our genes rest the beginning of man. Our lives, as Leonardo said, are made of the deaths of others. To gain you must also lose. To grow you must, therefore, give. It is only by giving that something is returned.

It seems like some people compliment us; bring out the best in us and help us see what we did not see before. We are a team. It is true that you should be able to live on your own and feel whole in you. It is equally true that to build a house you may need one person who can visualize what it will look like and another to build it. It is true that some like to lead, whilst other like to be led.

In other people we find someone who sees the world like us. From that day on, we are never alone, no matter where we are, because our minds are connected, our hearts beat like one.

In each person is a world. How they live, how they see, how they feel might be light years from our own. When they share their world, we discover a new world and ours, as a result shifts.

There is a reaction when we meet someone, but we cannot control their reaction, as little as we can control the ocean.

We love ourselves in others and others in ourselves. We love the new worlds others bring us because they compliment our own. We love and it is through love anything worthwhile is created. We sail, but it is in harbors that we belong.

Maybe I will always write stories of entertainers, sailors, healers and seers – travelers that seek truth and joy in life, whilst creating something of their own. I cannot escape myself when I write, just as little as I can escape myself when I do anything. To me those figures are beautiful, because they are my harbors in this life. They are me and I am them.


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The Journey…

Someone challenged me to write a Love Story and as every Entrepreneur knows, challenges are irresistible. And as every Artist knows, an Artist cannot sleep, nor eat when an idea has taken control of the mind. The idea is, of course, your own, but it owns you. I have many times cursed such ideas, because it feels like I cannot choose. They call me passionate, but I call me a fool. When I cook, or paint, or write, or direct, or create business plans, or design, I am simply possessed by that which I do.

I had for some time contemplated writing about the character that owns my heart. Sometimes he is an adventurer, sometimes an artist, sometimes a sailor, sometimes an entrepreneur and sometimes a traveler with a camera around his neck, but most often he is what the character of this Story is.

I had also for some time contemplated writing a short story because it would be a nice change from my script and my novel – one a comedy, the other a spiritual adventure, but both time consuming and seemingly taking forever to complete. In the meantime they are playing violin in my ears, distracting me from everything else, because as the Artist knows…you are possessed.

So when I got this challenge I merged the idea of a blog post about my favorite character and the language of the short story I wanted to write. So this one is for you. Enjoy.

The Journey

For those readers that know me well, you also know the story I’m about to tell. Not because it ever happened, but because it was always part of me. You know how I longed to find it, at the same time as it was in me. I guess what I was seeking was an understanding from someone…someone like me that wasn’t me. I have cursed this story many times, because I did not feel like I controlled it, but rather that it controlled me. Yet, it is the most beautiful story I ever came across, because the story is about me. This is all that I am.

It was a town that you could get lost in. Alley after alley swirled in a mesmerizing pattern on the hill. The river passing through was a landmark, but even that twirled. Twirled around the little town and twirled in and of itself as the water was playing… It was a town that could play, that was for sure. Carnivales would light the streets, bring out the townsfolk and bring in strangers. Carnivales are designed for that – for openness. For something extraordinary to happen. You can almost taste it in the air – change has arrived.

People liked this town. It was quaint. Old fashioned, yet open. At least during the Carnivale. It was one of those weird Carnivales that no one knew of through advertisement. It was only the people that came across other people that had been there that knew. And those people often felt propelled to go. Because something, something captured them when listening to the stories of those that had been. It was almost like magic. You could taste the smell of gunpowder, spice and soft vanilla in the air. It was a strangely alluring smell. It smelled of adventure, of danger, yet of comfort and warmth. It was a two sided coin and you were drawn in to see both sides.

The town was, of course, made up of cobble stone streets and medieval sand colored houses. Flower pots decorated entrances and balconies. The sound of life echoed through the streets during the day and lovers’ whispers sneaked around the corners at night – if you listened carefully enough you could hear them. The wind carried them around.

The wind liked caressing this town. Rarely was there ever a storm, yet everyone knew that when the Carnivale arrived there was a different wind. Not the one that caressed the houses, but rather a wind created by something inexplicable. A wind one could feel within, not without. Although you could almost taste it in the air. So strong was the sensation.

In Carnivale time there was also a sweet taste to the air, because every other woman was preparing treats. Chocolates made with secret ingredients, teas made from exotic spices, cakes that looked more inviting than a hot tub in spring, desserts so overpoweringly indulgent that people had been known to become mesmerized by them and candy so supremely sweet, yet so mild that it melted your tongue and your senses.

If you can imagine this town – so sweet, so quaint, yet for one week a year covered in forces so strange, so delicious and so powerful and tantalizing it was almost as if they ruled you rather than you ruled them. Still, you knew, on some level or other, that if you were there it was only because those forces were part of you. Just like the joker is part of the deck. For some, of course, these forces were stronger and they were used to living with them. For others it was only once a year, or once in a lifetime, that they truly let them rule them and that was during the Carnivale.

At dawn, of course, most people and forces were asleep. Instead freshness was in the air. The smell of flowers, water and country air overtook everything else. It was only ever so often that the wind would bring you a taste of the undertones, those that would get stronger as the day moved along.

During one such Carnivale, at one such dawn, sat a man atop a bridge, overlooking the town. The sun was painting the sky a dusky peach, mixed with blues, greens and yellows. It was the colors that made this man arise so early. The colors and the need to see things for what they were. Come night he would become part of the dance of the living and if he did not watch out, he would forget. Forget who he truly was. Forget to see life.

He liked living though, he just didn’t want to entirely fall into the dance because he knew that then it would never stop. He would never step aside to watch. He would just play his part like all the others. Be swept off his feet rather than walking his way. He would always know what people thought, but he would not think it. He would be too mesmerized by their colors, their faces, the sensation of their hands against his…he would dance, but he would no longer be the one choosing which dance, which tune to follow, he would instead be led by the music, the people, the steps…

No, the jester preferred this life, this life where he walked on his own road. The road of course belonged to everyone, but few others walked it. When he did meet someone on the same road they would instantly become friends even though they did not come from the same place. They became friends because they were going in the same direction. They were few though and he had gotten used to being on his own. He had a life. He knew where he was going, even though that was a matter of a constantly changing heart. He knew he just had to follow it and that made him secure. He was comfortable within his own skin.

He was an entertainer, that was his profession. He would tell people what they thought – read them like an open book. Of course he only saw that which was obvious, but they thought it was hidden and that he had cracked them open. Like any good entertainer he would also talk of the news of the day, only he would tell them for what they truly were, not what they were portrayed to be. There was a lot of humor in the truth. He would tell the audience that everything was a lie, but then that was the truth. He could juggle and do tricks with cards, he could play the flute and stand on the one hand. He was, to everyone else, a mystery, but to him he was quite open. He spoke the truth so everyone thought he was lying. He showed everyone a trick, but they could not see it, so they got tricked.

The woman was standing in her shop grinding spices in her mortar. She could have bought them ground, but they were more potent when fresh. The woman knew spices very well – she had studied the use of each one, but when she made potions she did not think. She let her subconscious decide – it had gotten all the information it needed through her studies and it was more trustworthy than her logical brain.

She was up early as her mind tended to be clearer and her instincts purer. That way her potions became even stronger. Besides, she liked seeing people in the morning – the few that managed to crawl out of bed. It was as if their minds, too, were clearer and it made it easier for her to determine what they had come there for. To treat themselves, of course, but what for? You’d think they’d come for celebration, but most came because they needed comfort. No sorrow felt as bad when indulging in something pleasurable and light, or sensual and musty, or simply tantalizing and warm. As the customers entered the shop she would serve them accordingly with wit and charms, but also with the right spices, cakes and drinks. As she saw it that was her job. That and the joy she got from playing with the ingredients, always creating something new. She also created potions for her own sake. Joyous little things that matched her mood. Sunshine food for the soul or tantra for the night time. Kiss me quick cupcakes. Turn me on chocolates. Take me out fudge. Make me laugh cookies. Soothe my soul tea. Bring it on truffles. Sleep well mints. Dream of love candy.

The wind suddenly swept by, swirling in underneath the crack in the door. A second later, whilst the wind was still playing outside, the woman heard a bell gently playing somewhere far away. She smiled. So he was coming. Whoever he was. The wind and the bells always let her know. It had started on a square in Avignon during their Festival. Since then it always happened.

The woman was used to reading signs, just as she was used to reading thoughts. To her it was simple, so long as her mind was clear. As soon as she wanted something the messages got mumbled up – the signs were still there, but she misread them.

The spices she had chosen today were warm – cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, chili… It suited the spirit of the Carnivale. It was made of such animal instincts. Of pleasure. Of the need for transformation. Liberty. Love. Laughter. Beauty. Truth. It was a bohemian revolution according to some, but mainly human if you knew nature. It was what every man dreamt of, but few dared to pursue. The total freedom of being without the need to be. It brought out your hidden desires. Those that were meant to be played with, not suppressed. People had left the Carnivale changed. People had left not knowing what had just happened. People had left pretending to be what they used to pretend to be. It depended on how strong the forces within them were to be free. Some felt more comfortable returning to their old shell.

The scent of the spices twirled up into her face as the door was opened. She didn’t have to look up to know that it was a man, but she was surprised at the lightness of his step. It was not an intrusive one she thought. He was humble, yet with force. He was strong but he cared to be light. Light on those whose path he crossed. She was sure he made an impression, but he didn’t change them by crushing their defenses. He changed them by softly showing them what was there.

“Bonjour monsieur, que c’est que vous voulez?” she asked and looked up as yet another waft of the spices entered her nostrils. So these were his spices she thought. Deep, yet with a playfulness and warmth. Warm, yet with a zest.

“I don’t know,” he replied, his eyes following her body. “I would like breakfast, but why don’t you tell me what’s the best in this café to eat?” She nodded. “Please, have a seat.”

He sat down and opened his bag – a worn out, yet sturdy backpack made of leather. It looked handmade. He picked out a wooden flute. “Would you mind if I play?” he asked. “I will keep it quiet so that the neighbors won’t complain.” “Not at all,” she said. “In fact I’d be curious to hear that which only you can play.” He looked up at her in some surprise. So she knew that each song was different to each man. He had already studied her. He knew that she could read people, yet she seemed somewhat confused by his presence. He too felt that there was something about her that he couldn’t explain, yet knew that he somewhere knew. It was something…

He played and she became mesmerized. In the song she could hear his journeys. She could see the grass fields and the towns. She could taste the food and drink the water. He played with feeling so everything was there in sight.

She placed a plate in front of him and a large cup of hot chocolate, gently spiced with cardamom. “You think I need to be soothed, do you?” he asked, somewhat surprised. “You think you are strong, and you are, but you have walked far. You have given your energy to the hearts of strangers, helping them. You have recovered in the fields and in the valleys, but not many send their energy to you. There was a woman in a town once, but she is but a memory to you now. It brings a smile to your face, but it no longer brings you warmth. It is rare that you find someone you like. Sometimes you encounter fellow travelers, and you share a laugh. You get giddy and happy through talking to someone who knows, but it is not love, it is only sharing. You understand each other. You do not love one another. Yes, the chocolate will soothe you and the cake heal you.”

She walked back into the kitchen, knowing that she had said much more to him than she had to any customer in her whole life. To others she had to talk in fairytales. She had to tell stories to make them understand. If she spoke her mind they would be frightened, but he was like her. He read them too.

The jester bit into the cake, which indeed made him feel an instant warmth, a comfort, throughout his body. He wondered what spices were in there? Now he knew what he had seen in her before that he had not been able to understand. They did the same job. She through patisseries, he through cards. They played tricks on people. They entertained people, through their taste buds or their minds. Both, of course, leading to the heart. They saw people for who they were and then showed it to them in ways they understood. They opened them, healed them and let them move towards where they needed to go. The people never knew. At least very few. Often they just felt entertained and lighthearted, excited and thrilled, turned on or high, comforted or blessed with joy. They didn’t realize that someone had just gone in and rearranged the pieces of their puzzle. It was a lonely job, yet a very sociable job. It was a heartwarming job, but it did drink some of your energy, like the woman said, because all your energy went to them. You then had to sit and recover in nature – gain energy from somewhere else. He did not question his path, he just sometimes wished that someone would understand it. Not just understand it, but travel along the same path as him, stretching out her warmth to him. Because of course, the warmth of a woman was different from the warmth of a man – both needed but in different ways.

As she came back out to continue grinding her spices for the cake she was baking he asked her: “So you are the magical witch of this town?” She laughed. “Some like to think that. There is nothing as exciting as spells, but there is nothing magical about my food. I make people believe in a message. And I add the spice to enforce it and the intention to go with it. People would understand if you explained, but they prefer life’s little mysteries to remain intact. They’d rather think they were saved by a spell than by nature itself. Such is life.” “They’d rather be fed health than told to get healthy, you mean?” “Something like that.”

The woman’s body swayed as she was grinding the spices. It was as if she was dancing when she moved. She played with nature. He played with minds.

“Can I hold my show here tonight?” he asked. She nodded.

That night the Carnivale atmosphere once again swept across the little town. The air got musky and hot. Desires were lived out, laughters shared. Performances brought joy, fire eaters brought light. Sweets brought freshness and dancers brought lust. The spices became intense, the people open up and played.

As dusk fell the jester performed his tricks. People were baffled. He would tell them little things. Things they didn’t quite understand. He would also gently whisper the desires of their heart. The woman fed them desserts and cakes that suited their mood – gave them what they needed to get; took them from where they were to where they needed to be. There were many laughters, a lot of confusion and finally dancing until dawn. People forgot to think beyond that night. They were swept away by the moment. By the passion. By pure joy.

As dawn came the jester and the woman sat on the bridge. “These are the colors of the jester,” she said, as she pointed to the sky. “I know.” “You play with the colors like you play with the people. You jest, but in your jest lies the truth.” He laughed. “And you bake, but in your baking lies the truth.” She smiled. “It’s an easy disguise.” He countered: “And so is the jest, the magic, the entertainment.”

From that moment, or even before that, they knew that their lives were intertwined, as was the spice with the batter and the cards with the deck.

Sometimes an Ocean meets a Wind. The Wind stirs the Ocean to move and the Ocean sprinkles its mist on the Wind. They fly together, but they will always be apart. Sometimes a Fire encounters a Wind. The Fire burns brighter and the Wind gets warm. They gather strength from each other, but they know they will forever be apart. Sometimes the Earth has a rendezvous with the Wind. The Wind brushes the Earth and makes it come alive and the Earth throws itself into the wind in a game. They twirl together, but they know they will part. Then, once in a while as destiny says, a Wind comes upon another Wind. They match each others’ strengths. They intertwine with one another to see if they can play. They swirl and twirl in patterns to see if there is a rhythm they both like. Maybe sometimes they fly rather quickly, maybe sometimes rather slow. If two such Winds meet and they find a rhythm and enjoy to play, if they are both flying in the same direction, even though only their hearts can tell where to next, then they have found their true partner in life. Because as we know, they know each other inside out. They were born the same, only life moved them apart. They know different notes, but they belong to the same symphony. And together they play.

//

Maybe one day I will continue the story and really tell the tales of the Carnivale and of the journeys to come, but for now I feel happy to say that “journeys end in lovers meeting” as Shakespeare would have said also…but then again a new journey begins… (For Chapter II…click here…)

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