Crossroads by Carolyn #73

     Scandinavia evokes something deep inside me. Whenever I go there, I feel like I’m coming home. It’s like I get to go back in time a little bit and connect with what once was and how I sometimes wish things still were. 
    On one hike in the mountains outside of Bergen, Norway, I came across a clear, cold mountain lake.  The sun glistened off the surface in a way that looked almost magical, like some mythological creature called that water home.  I wanted to touch it, so I dipped in my hand. Then I wanted to feel the cold water on my feet.  I took off my boots and waded in.  I looked around, threw off my skirt, my shirt, and my underwear, and dove in.  All material concerns dissolved as my head broke the calm surface and I was filled with total joy and invigoration.  As I popped my head out of the water, I gazed at the mountains and trees around me.  I was home.
    I continued my hike through the woods and over the rocky hills, stopping a couple times to let some sheep pass by.  Beds of lush green moss covered the forest floor and the smell of the pines energized my every cell.  My body felt pulled to the earth, craving to be absorbed like a lost child in her mother’s arms.  Every leaf, every berry, every molecule of oxygen was so perfect.  And actually, I cried.  At that instant I wanted nothing more than to heal the separation between my flesh and the earth’s, my tears and the running rivers.  It was like some primordial memory rooted in my cells awoke, like I glimpsed the memory of our origins, before the separation. 
    In the northlands I feel things are closer to how they are supposed to be.  The air and water are so clean and fresh; the glaring excess and over-consumption of the U.S. is to a large degree not present; there is no sense of haste about the place, just conifer forests as far as the eye can see.  It’s very soothing.
    Being in Scandinavia allowed me to really see what a violent, corrupt, detached, and empty society we in the U.S. live in.  One night in middle Norway, I walked to the edge of a small town and into the forest to sleep.  I was alone and scared.  I slept with my pack underneath my head so nobody could steal it and a knife in my hand.  I woke up terrified to the sound of something moving in the dark woods behind me.  I jumped out of my sleeping bag and flipped open my knife.  Two wild horses were playing in the forest. 
    It angers me that society has taken peace of mind, trust, and security from me, that a night in the fjords, listening to the soft rush of a nearby waterfall and gazing at the clear sky has to be corrupted with fear.  Is this the price we have paid for ‘prosperity’ and ‘progress’?  Yeah, so more people can drive cars, have fancy computers, eat at nice restaurants, buy tons of records, whatever.  But look at the costs.  We live in a world of crime, violence, hate, and fear.  We live in a society where the rich eat off silver plates while the poor sift through trash.  A world of pollution is outside our door, where poisons we can’t see, taste, or smell invade our bodies.  We are alienated from history, yet continue our wars.  Nuclear war is indeed a possibility, but a more insidious and continual danger is ever present. If you live in an area with industry and/ or military installations, chances are the water you drink and air you breathe has been polluted with carcinogens, maybe even radioactive waste.  I researched this in my area and what I found chills me to my bones.  And the knowing government won’t tell you, nor will the industry. 
    This is a society of deception and illusion, where people are blind and self-absorbed. Many people have difficulty making and maintaining meaningful relationships; they are so fearful of true intimacy. People seem to care more about having the right clothes, being socially acceptable, and surrounding their hearts and egos with armor, than looking deeper into the mysteries that surround all of our lives.  We build preoccupation’s to keep the real questions, the real issues at bay.
    I sense sometimes that there is a special place for punks in the destiny of humankind.  I can’t pretend to know what it is, but there are people out there in which hope and passion live.  There are people seeking to reconnect in one way or another, whether it be learning about the earth and how to live with and off it, rejecting a commercial and homogenized society, desiring to do things themselves, and believing that just as Rome fell, so too can our present systems.
    I want to run away into the mountains or stow away on a boat to Scandinavia when modernity seems so cruel and harsh.  I search for endless miles, but really I can’t get anywhere; there is no reservoir for pain that exists outside this skin.  All I can do is remember the peace and connection I felt in Norway.  While there, I realized how truly vast and powerful the planet is.  I felt connected to the earth and to my visions of a better world, which seemed manifested all around me.  Perhaps most importantly, I realized that the future is not set in stone.  Really anything can happen.   But we must not willingly forfeit sovereignty over our lives.  We must resist the indoctrination’s of fear and submission.  This life is the only life you have.  Do you want to look back from your deathbed and see your life played back as one long, dehumanizing campaign for the system?
—Carolyn /