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Thursday, August 8, 2013

#Midsummer Eve: #Funen in the 1970's by John von Daler


                The great bonfire on the beach sends flames as high as three of me into the Nordic night. As the gigantic, orange sun edges towards the horizon at the end of the Danish inland waters, three swans float past, their bills pointed towards their nesting place on one of the nearby islands. Soon they will take off as the sun sidles down behind the quiet, green sea.
                Tonight it is midsummer. A symbolic witch will be burned later - thank god for symbols, they make reality so much easier to bear - and a beautiful song about peace-loving Denmark will be sung.
                We should actually have been dressed in white cotton pants or skirts with light blue shirts or blouses, but nobody wants to change for dinner. We run in and out of the water as if Funen in the evening were Rio on a Sunday afternoon. Dinner is being served at the long wooden table: cold chicken along side salads of fresh lettuce just pulled from the garden and new, boiled potatoes just shoveled from their dark, underground hidingplace. We clip fresh dill and parsley over the melting, golden butter on the potatoes. We drink a light rosé from Provence, a hint of lavender in our thoughts.
                The children are still up. A whole group of cousins, mostly girls, from two to eight years old scramble mostly naked in and out of the water, making up unending games that nobody ever wins or loses. Smiling faces surface from the water and small, lithe bodies spring into the air exuberantly for no reason other than joy itself. We call for them to come and eat.
                A clamor of pass me the potatoes and here's the butter fills the air while myriad small, pale arms, like some friendly, delicate octopus reach out and across and under. The young parents pour milk and fruit-flavored water for the children and carve up chicken pieces for all those who cannot yet manage knives. Soon the stillness of the eating settles around us in the approaching darkness.
                I feel the sun and salt on my skin, the food and wine in my belly, the warm sand on my toes. I look at each and every person around the table, every face now illuminated playfully by the rambunctious fire. Someone starts to strum on a guitar. I pick up my violin and start playing, just to send my own little message to whichever god happens to be listening.
                With a great flapping and swishing the three swans take off, flying past us parallel to the coast and then off to their island home. We stop playing a moment just to hear the gentle thundering of their wings.

               

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