Friday, 22 July 2011

The Cherry Tree

Do you have any cherries?
She shook her head, almost appalled that the bowl had run empty.
The only ones left are in the tree.
And without one more word between us I disappeared
from fine society, bored of grown-up talk at tables,
and climbed the cherry tree in my pink silk blouse
that I shouldn’t wear when climbing trees.

Shadow-dappled, I reached for cherries
that sang the last verse of their season,
dark burgundy, oozing red blood that stained
my lips and hands, my feet when cherries
tumbled and fell.

        Joined by finches, I feasted,
sucking sun-sweetened cherries and leaning
against cool branches to watch skies slide above
me, and there was no one to tell me not to climb trees

in silk blouses.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Picture to Follow

Today I had to buy a pair of polkadot pants from H&M because--well, they had polkadots on them. Weren't you listening?


A Day at Sea

From Stockholm Harbour, we left on the Cinderella and ploughed through glassy seas to Sandhamn. My grandmother took us all on a boat trip because she recently came into a little bit of money; boating and a dinner were in the works.

 Finally they did something sensible with the crane and painted it.

 Joel joined us despite his broken leg. Even with crutches, he outpaced a family moving down the street at what most would deem a perfectly adequate pace. 

 Grandma and Sofia

 I ordered pan-fried herring and mashed potatoes with a side of lingonberry jam. Delicious. I really should learn how to make this at home.

Time Piece

Behold, I make all things new.

A great many things are abandoned for want of a battery and a bit of polish. I found one such thing waiting for me in a basket at Myrorna, forgotten and overlooked even if it perched right by the cashiers. It had a price sticker on the top and looked generally forlorn among the other cheap trinkets. It came from National Geographic, a clock most likely sent to faithful subscribers of the magazine. However, its previous owner had grown disinterested when the battery died, when the clasp wouldn't hold the two sides together. But I saw potential. It looked like a old school compass, and I envisioned myself traversing the edges of the world with this constant timekeeper. I bought it for twenty-five crowns, and once home, I peeled off the aged sticker, replaced the battery, and polished its silver sides.

It is in human nature to recreate, to make new what is old precisely because it is in  God's nature to do so. We were and are continually made in His image, and even when we let ourselves down, when we stumble and fall, when we end up--scratched, marked down--in the bargain basket for used goods, he finds us and takes us and gives us a polish, a new battery, a new life; He is most excited to take us with him on adventures.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sofia Sleeps


 All the time

Without fail

Sofia's New Car

Sofia has a new car. I gave her a princess to put on her keychain, which I in turn was given by my former roommate. I suggested we go find something with which to decorate her rear view mirror, and so off we drove to Myrorna to peruse their secondhand wares.

Sofia found Boys II Men among poorly mixed dance tunes and abandoned classical music.

I don't know.

There are so many interesting things to look at.

 Sofia bought pillows. I bought her a striped cloth for her back seat, a CD of songs from famous musicals, and a parrot necklace to hang on the aforementioned rear view mirror. All in all, a good day.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Letter or Two

 My letter writing has fallen by the wayside. Melissa sent me a letter two weeks ago and I have not even attempted to write a reply. I received it the day of my brother's accident, and I took it with me to the hospital to read in the waiting room. It disappeared shortly after this and the mystery was solved only when I received a large envelope in the mail, from the hospital, addressed to me.

I slit it open and out dropped the letter with Melissa's very attractive drawing of Assissi, along with a note. "Hello! You left this in the waiting room." Why, how kind of you to think of me.

Melissa's letters have a habit of getting lost. They go rummaging about on adventures and travel to all sorts of exciting locales, presumably hobnobbing with the rich and famous. I can think of no other reason why a simple letter would take five months to get to me. Last summer she sent me a letter from camp, which arrived in Sweden by the time I had left. My parents had to send it along, and I received it, perhaps ironically so, in America.

Now that I have purchased some green ink I hope to get back into old habits and bury someone in an avalanche of well-intentioned written communication and what have you.

The Sad Fate of Sofia

Exciting things that happened today:

1. Sofia bought a car.

2. Sofia sent herself the ugliest package in the world. Her lack of penpals has had a profound and disturbing effect on her.

3. I admired the view from the harbour.

4. I discovered the monochrome function on my camera.

5. I made pie, which my mother could tell her colleagues that I had made provided that they thought it delicious.

"If you like the pie, then my daughter made it. Otherwise I did."

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Free Hugs

Sofia and I ran some errands today. Quite a few, I might add. I applied for a new identification card, bought two vials of ink at the stationery store, used the last of my store credit to buy a silver chain for me, a pair of earrings and a necklace for Sofia, and in two other, separate stores a toothbrush, a packet of mint drops, and a camera. I am quite pleased with my purchases, particularly that last one. I can finally take pictures at will, released from the burden of borrowing from others. (You may have found some of my recently posted pictures to look suspiciously like the ones on my sister's blog.)

While in town, Sofia caught sight of a rather forlorn looking Free Hugs guy. She herself has given hugs to random strangers in Singapore, Hollywood Boulevard, Disneyland, Venice Beach, and Skid Row in Los Angeles, California. Casting a compassionate eye on this guy, she felt inclined to show her appreciation.

Craig and Sofia* at Venice Beach

Swedes are not much for public displays of affection, and it was with some surprise that the Free Hugs guy called to his friend, "Here's one!" when he saw this certain someone come barreling at him through the crowd, arms flung wide in enthusiasm--Sofia bowled over a five-year-old in her pursuit--a woman went flying!--pigeons scattered. She tackled that Free Hugs enthusiast like an all-star football player; he folded like a cheap suit. 

A completely true story, of course.

*Sofia claims she does not always look like a boy.

Monday, 11 July 2011

The Gibson Girl

My favourite hairstyle

We Read

I may have left my literary roots behind me.

Summer Days

Sofia flew back here to help nurse her husband back to health.

Blessed with hot summer days
we run amok amongst the willows,
the brightly burdened banks of green
that bend as the wind blows.

Free As a

I could not call Cool Hand Luke Cool Hand Luke anymore because when his feathers grew out and he looked more like a bird than a fuzzball, he proved to be female. I fell back to using her second name Assissi, which works just as well in my opinion.

 For the last few weeks I have been struggling with letting go. Assissi is a fieldfare, a wild bird worthy of the outdoors. My feelings have swung from wanting to keep her to knowing that she must be, against my own personal preferences, set free.

The problem is, she is a sorry excuse for a bird. She does not fear humans, who can in so many ways harm her--she follows me around, hopping after me and sliding occasionally on the hardwood floor, her little claws clicking along frantically; she likes to sit on my shoulder; she once followed my dad outside to watch him put away the tools in his toolbox, and he found her sitting on his shoe; when I watered the lilac seedlings she grew very interested in the forming pool of water and promptly took a bath (a daily habit she keeps to this day, though the forms of bathtubs vary)--and being deprived of her kind's song she sings like the songbird she was never intended to be.

In the wild she would never find her soul mate for lack of a proper song, the mating call of her kind. I find myself asking whether it is better to live forever in a cage or to die quickly in freedom?

She prefers to stand on one leg and close one eye, like a pirate.

She sits on the computer while I work.

Because I am selfish I have wanted to keep her, but I know it is unkind to put a creature destined for the great, open skies into a cage. Therefore, I let her fly as she will, and she hops in and out of the cage, exploring the woods and trees and grass around the house; and she comes back to see if I'm all right and politely asks for worms. I have decided that if she so chooses she may leave.

I cannot claim to be magnanimous. I am selfish enough to entertain the thought of keeping her. However, the decision to keep or let go was taken from me when she one day, not long ago, flew away. She has not returned and I have not seen her since. These are some of the last pictures I took of her.

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 

Matthew 10:29

Take Me to the Hospital

I have been very busy these last few weeks, and I haven't found the time to write. Summer hoisted me on its broad, sun-baked shoulders and ran away with me into the lush forests of the North. And into the emergency room. Seeing my brother in a neck brace, immobilized in a hospital bed and unusually quite made me sick; it flashed hot and cold and I prickled all over and I had to sit down and drink water:

As many of you already know, about a fortnight ago my brother set off to work a shift with Umeå Scenteknik, but at the warehouse, a pallet and a crate fell on him from a height of two meters and struck him in the face and on his foot.

God was truly watching over him as it could have been so much worse. If the pallet had struck farther up on his head his skull could have fractured; a little more to the left or the right his glasses could have cracked and gone into his eyes; a little lower down  and he could have suffered a crushed windpipe. The pallet hit him squarely on the nose, on the bridge of his glasses (which, by the way, my uncle the optician had only days earlier joked that they looked like "protective goggles"), and he needed only two stitches to secure the skin. The cut is now almost healed completely with very little scarring.

As for his foot, Joel broke his fibula. He needed surgery to secure the loose piece of bone with a screw, though the doctors did not realize this until after he had limped around for ten days with a unwieldy and cumbersome mid-thigh cast. (The doctors were not incompetent; the bone piece had moved despite the cast that was supposed to stabilize his leg). Even with a broken bone, Joel has had very little accompanying pain and even managed to join us in all sorts of endeavours, like visiting the fair in Vännäs to look at trinkets and eat ice cream.

As I write this, he is in the Akademiska Sjukhuset in Uppsala for said surgery. Thank you for praying. Please continue to pray for his recovery.

(P.S. His glasses survived without a scratch.)