From Pi in the Sky.
From Pi in the Sky.
This short NPR segment on Berlin in spring also perfectly describes Sweden as the same “wet, gray blanket of winter is lifted”.
It was 10°C (50°F) and bright on Wednesday. A glorious heat. Fighting depression from recent events, I dragged myself outside and, closing my eyes just like it’s described in that report, faced the sun like a flower. Mom has always performed this gesture. We used to half-mock her when we were young, but it was one of her trademarks. Now I realize it’s a scandinavian thing, running in her blood, just like so many of her idiosyncrasies. Just like her love of cream and hard-boiled eggs and willingness to skinny dip in the coldest lakes.
The weather in Stockholm has hovered around freezing (0°C/32°F) for 53 days and will not change for months to come. No snow or rain, just tenacious, unchanging cold. Meanwhile, back home in Salt Lake City, spring is making it’s usual dramatic appearance, increasing the average temperature by 10°F every week. As witnessed by my pal Jenn Stauffer:
...and on the 17th day, god said unto the earth, “let there be warmth.” and the sun lay its beams into the pebbles of the ground and the currents of the air and all the creatures of the earth. and across the land was heard the sound of air conditioners kicking on, and the land was filled with the smell of pungent dust and sickly stale air. and god saw that it was good and he was pleased.
Also true to form, it will probably snow there tomorrow.
Friends and family, some of you are already aware of what I was doing Feb 19–21. Most of you are not. I apologize for my neglect. The three days altered my life course in a powerful way. So here is a summary:
In short, it was a good time.
What this all means, dear friends, is an unexpected restewflocation. My new work, which began this week, will eventually take me to San Francisco. I will spend three more months in Stockholm, just long enough to catch a glimpse of the prodigal sun as it emerges from winter hibernation. In mid- to late-June I’ll fly back to SLC, gather my belongings, and truck it to the Bay.
When I focus on the new location, specifically Berkeley, excitement builds. The East Bay village topped my List of Potential Post-SLC Home Cities before Sweden unpredictably surfaced. After all, it’s where James and Jen are! And Berkeley is green. It has the requisite hilly terrain and proximity to wilderness to stave off a destructive pining for the Wasatch. Berkeley is young and progressive. The area newspapers are well designed. There is no shortage of concert venues or art shows. Most importantly, a move to Cali will sever the space between me and my love. It’s time to end this state of being away from Jamie. Enough, I say!
So, NoCal sounds great, yet my thoughts inevitably stray to the only home I know. It feels strange to end Sweden without a return to SLC. The nostalgic valves of my heart are the most powerful. They torture, pumping the stuff of memory and longing with alternating pangs of bliss and hurt. I despise and cling to that tenacious part of my soul. I thought this experience in the isolated north might have a numbing effect, freeze it out of me, but it only heats and sinks deeper. I feel more homesick than I thought I would. I miss things I never thought I’d miss — stuff like Maverick convenience stores and local TV news. It’s laughably sad.
To abandon thoughts of my first home is a losing battle. In some sense, I'll always roll back into that valley like a heavy marble. Instead, it helps to remember that there was never a better time to look away from SLC. The dear house that sheltered my first 21 years of life is sold — Bob and The Veig wisely abandoned endless dusting and yard work for condo luxury. There are vital friends and family left in SLC, but the future clearly points west.
Salt Lakers: I miss you all. I will see you on the way to my California home.
Photos of Berlin to appear here soon.