Monday, 7 November 2011

All Saints' Day

This past weekend we celebrated All Saints' Day. My mother, uncle, and I drove far out into the countryside to place a candle on my grandfather's grave. It was a beautifully gray day. The heavens were weeping, and the winds swept over lands left forlorn by the approach of winter. My grandfather lies buried in Bygdeå, his grave watched over by the pink village church.

We drove past my grandfather's old house to get to the sea. I am happy to know the new owners are taking good care of it, giving the barn and annexes due care, fresh paint, and a great deal of tidying up of old parts and rusty wheels left about in the tall grass.

These were my childhood haunts. Every summer we would fly from Singapore to Sweden, and mamma drove us out to spend three weeks in the country with grandfather before pappa joined us. It was good for the imagination. We had no technological complications--the television had three channels, no computers, no film library from which to choose nightly entertainment. Just fields of grass and open skies and wild strawberries in ditches waiting to be strung onto stalks of timothy grass. My brother, sister, and I climbed rocks and trees and petted horses and explored every last in and out of the old house and the nearby acres.

My mother and uncle reminisced about old neighbors now long gone, houses, adventures. Every place we drove past held some memory--the path through the woods that led to Antes hjärda, Jon Anders hjärda, where my mother would walk with her grandmother to bring food baskets to the haymakers in the field, Gunn's house--she's now moved away to breed short-haired terriers. They remebered stories from when that one man shot himself in the head, and those years my great-grandfather blew through rock to make a road to the seashore.
Some people make their own way in this world. My great-grandfather made a road.

Mamma and Uncle Micke look inside the little one-room house by the sea.

No comments: