07/17 Archipelago Stockholm, Sweden

17 Jul 1985, Posted by Scott An Chora in Travelogue, No Comments.

07/17 Archipelago Stockholm, Sweden


Behind us we towed a small motor boat.  Being an inexperienced sailor, I first thought we brought it along in case the boat began to sink.  But no, when strawberries were needed to complete a meal, we suited up and headed in the small motor boat toward a local port.  I liked to imagine that it was my blue eyes, or my healthy build, rather than just the curiosity of “Who is he?” Dark hair and a tan was a rarity in those out of the way ports that time of year.  But either way I did get a lot of attention.  Like a puppy in the park.  We traded smiles but I was on a short leash and couldn’t wander off.

I‘ve don’t believed in destiny, where things just happen because they’re meant to.  I think that once somebody accepts that perspective it kinda removes some of the responsibility.  I believe that I have been given free choice and either reap the reward or suffer the consequences of my actions.  But I also believe that we interact within an environment that I will never fully understand and can only know it by its appearance.  So I guess I don’t really know anything completely.  That being said, when situations that were so wonderful and unexpected arose, I admit I kept my mind open.

Lying back on the deck looking up at the passing clouds, I felt a cool breeze through the warming rays of the sun on my face.  Every so often as I glanced over at the girls sunbathing I could hear in my head the words of our Captain “Why would I want to be anywhere else when I have all of this?” as he pointed to the young ladies in their birthday suits and the beautiful horizon.  Brent’s girlfriend wandered over and I found myself trying to look into her eyes rather than at her breasts, or other lines.  We danced between subjects while she was tried to discover the roots to my journal.  I didn’t like opening up my journal to people I met.  I considered them my private thoughts and where not intended to be shared, yet.  At this point in my life I needed to put my thoughts on paper to keep them from bouncing between my ears, or to have as a simple picture to appreciate when I’m older and have forgotten the details.  I always felt that if I shared those thoughts, people would misinterpret them and take things for granted or out of context.  I was changing day to day.  The person I was the day before was not the person I was the next.  When I was twelve I thought I was the smartest twelve-year-old.  But when I turned thirteen I believed I was the smartest thirteen-year-old but then knew I was a stupid twelve-year-old.  Brent’s girlfriend requested that I write her a small poem about this chapter of my journey.  Honestly, I just couldn’t say no to a beautiful young lady sporting only a birthday suit.

A journey through the pieces, isolated by the sea, this place of inner solitude, has adopted me
and though dreams may come and dreams may go, I’ll keep this picture painted in my soul, my Swedish family

A picture framed with smiles, on faces of compassion, of my shipmate and his princess, his queen and her captain
standing in front of the many white sails, you could see the winds come and go
and our captain’s eyes had stories to tell or many journeys and rainbows

Look around, he told me, I already found the pot of gold and I’d give every last wish for eternal time
if this was the end of my road, don’t let yourself be, like the others, never letting their feet touch the ground
maybe you have to grow as old as me before you’ll understand

The three of us took a small boat to the mainland so I could catch a ferry to Stockholm.  We sat waiting, drinking beer with money I had won playing poker.  “You’re going to have to come back for our wedding” she explained.  “I wouldn’t miss it for the world”, thinking a trip back there would be nice.  “Perhaps we’ll come visit you.  On many occasions we’ve entertained the thought of renting a van and driving down California’s coast”.  A kiss, a handshake, a hug and then there was just me alone sitting at the rear of the ferry, thinking of the white sails, grassy inlets, strawberries and cigarettes.  I knew they were all just oddly shaped gaps among pieces of a puzzle, and no matter how they are assembled; it was the gaps that couldn’t be easily explained that made the puzzle so special.

My mom has always tried to keep things even between my sister and me.  The value of gifts, the number of times she says I love you, it was just her way.  So it’s no wonder that I get uneasy when those scales are out of balance.  It had always been hard for me to accept gifts if this balance was not maintained.  A few years ago my friend Don unexpectedly gave me a guitar.  He was trying to motivate me to learn how to play.  I told him I could not accept his gift unless he would accept a gift in return.  He was no longer a bachelor without a microwave.  But along the river I have been learning to accept the generosity of others.  I gained the knowledge that it is a continuous chain of events that connects us all and I accepted the obligation to pass the generosity I received on to somebody else.  In doing this without reservation I knew one’s cup would never be empty and the world takes on a new and different color.

I began letting the feelings of loneliness creep back into my mind.  Like a broken record, my needle jumped back into the previous song, allowing thoughts of young ladies and past short dances where I had entertained romance.  I found myself thinking of a young lady I had met crying on a football field back home.  She was very young, too young for me to consider.  But her curious eyes, heart unbroken and innocent outlook were a breath of fresh air.  She also had long term goals, something I was unaccustomed to at that age.

Are you in love my lady or are you waiting for something more, then please my lady come to me,
let me open up the door

I know my love is strong enough, you’ll see my love is true and if you keep an open heart, I know, you’ll love me too
I know that life is very special and I know the songs you sing, so how could I, let you pass me by,
not knowing what I bring

I bring you flowers, this summer’s day, so when you’re down, you’ll hear me say, I love you, I love you, true
I know that life is very special and I know the songs you sing, so how could I, let you pass me by,
not knowing what I bring

I bring you warmth, on winter days, so when you’re cold, you’ll hear me say, I love you, I love you, true

While I was wandered about Stockholm’s streets I eventually came upon a unique statue of a man looking up from a manhole.  The statue was about two feet off the ground.  It was unique and I thought it would make a nice picture, so I got out my camera and squatted down to frame the picture at its height.  Then somehow, no I know how, I’m an idiot and let the camera slipped through my fingers.  The camera crashed onto the hard cement and ending up in pieces.  The last roll of film was exposed and lost, and now my camera totally out of commission.  “Fuck, you’re a retard” I said out loud to myself.  Even though the statue was named “Humor”, I didn’t think it was very funny.  I eventually ended up sitting at a small table outside a café overlooking one of the main squares.  I wrote a little and drank a little.  I wrote a little more and drank a little more.  I was very upset.  I had taken some really good pictures and couldn’t rid myself of the disappointment, so I assembled a few words in an attempt to fill the gap that remained.

I’ve lost the colors, pictures of memories, of the best-made pieces life has polished, now lost inside of me
one careless moment and it found its way, this light destroyed with speed and took away the colors,
I could never let you see

I still had a few days left until I’m scheduled to meet up with Jim.  I talked with Solsberg’s mother who explained that Jim did get my message and had not call back to adjust our revised schedule.  Who knows, by now he could be all wrapped up in wedding vows?  Since I still a two days left I thought I’d head to Bergen.  I planned to walk the trail between Myrdal and Flam, so it was train tag from Hallsberg to Karistan and then an all-nighter into Oslo.  I met up with a young lady going in the same direction.  Sure I’m repeating myself but it was so true.  Hooking up with a young lady was the only way to travel by train.  If you don’t have one you got to get one.  Besides the company and conversation, cuddling up together almost always eliminated sleeping in an upright position.  Everybody else would kinda keep their distance and would leave us alone.  I kinda have a way with asking personal questions and still keep people in a comfortable mood, allowing them to open up and share the most intimate details of their lives.  Even though we had just met and were only friends, having a young lady sleep in my arms temporarily helped relieve any loneliness I might have been entertaining.  The two of us woke alongside one another about an hour or so before the train pulled into Oslo.  After a kiss and a hug again I was steppin out on my own.

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    Usually behind a cup of coffee waiting for the world around me to wake up I entered today’s thoughts about yesterday’s activities into my travel journal. I’m not a writer, so I’ll apologize in advance if I jump around or seem confused. These are just the thoughts of a young man who left his possessions behind and who believes that getting lost is how one finds oneself.

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