Sunrise has taken on a major significance during these days of Ramadan because I am awake and alert, having consumed breakfast before sunrise. It is so strange but this, it was learned at camp when I was a girl, it echoes in my mind: “God has created a new day, silver and green and gold. Live that the sunset may find me. Worthy his gift to behold. “ I was a Protestant as a child, now I am a Muslim, but they are so appropriate for these days and my journey bringing me closer to the Islamic faith.
Yesterday while hunting through the upper kitchen cupboards, looking for something (or another), found a piece of pink paper nestled in a flower arrangement container. It was placed on the desk awaiting perusal at a more opportune moment. Well, I simply must define perusal at this moment. Perusal which is the action of reading or examining something. Synonyms are:
scrutiny, inspection, examination, study, scanning, review; read, look, scan, glance, skim, browse. So I scrutinized, browsed and inspected the words on the pink paper. It was initially amusing as Scandinavia was spelled incorrectly in the title, must have been typed before those days of autocorrect. No idea just when this was penned, it would take two much work to figure it out. The third marriage was still intact (sort of), so it would probably be about fifteen to twenty years ago.
Made some minor corrections but here it all is. The title is Scribblings From Scandinavia
“One, you shall remain nameless said” “ I sort of wish you would do a travelogue.” That rather tepid request was all it too, Carefully chose a titled full of alliteration and off I took. (This not in the original: I do love alliteration – it is a noun, its meaning; the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words) To first provide a sense of place, I am sitting in a hotel lobby in the village of Flam. I call it a village because, in the off-season it home to perhaps about six people. But this is NOT the off-season. Flam is beautifully situated on the shore of one of Norway’s deepest fjords, isolated, at sea level at the mouth of the fjord. A.certain image emerges upon treading travel guides. Pure, pristine, perfect are some of the p words that come to mind. From my perch on a stool in the hotel lobby, overlooking the fjord should be a perfect new. But alas and alack, the gorgeous view is totally blocked by an enormous cruise ship, the MSN Erica, and the positioning of another ship, the Mond Lisa, waiting expectantly for her turn at shore. A sister ship, clearly held responsible for view blockage yesterday sailed out at 18:30. According to hotel staff, this is a daily occurrence during THE season.
The local’s main and over riding concern seems to be the disgorging passengers from the bowels of the ship so that they are able to spread their money throughout the village. This seems a bit hypocritical from the same ‘crew’ that suggests (nay demands) that I save the environment by placing my damp used towel on the towel rack and reuse it rather than asking for a replacement by placing it on the floor. The cruise liner, has its diesel engines running constantly, all day because, according to Paul, the engines fuel the ship’s power system.
Cannot be one to complain, because after all I am about to climb aboard a really big boat in about four days. Defensively I assert that my journey to this pristine spot was eco-friendly, my carbon foot print could fit in Cinderella’s shoe.
Paul and I arrived by train, the renowned Flam railway brought us down from the highest point in the Berg-Oslo train route down to sea level using a complex system of switch backs and a total of twenty-two tunnels. My smug ecologically pure self ignores the magnitude of destruction to the environment some seventy years ago when dynamite created the many tunnels. Flam’s railroad museum features photographs depicting the chaos and devastation of those days. I avert my eyes.
Tomorrow it is off – going from Flam to the Stalheim Hotel by ferry and public transport. All Hail Ecological Alexis McBride. Go to the website: Stalheim Hotel.”
I did this day in 2021, went to the website. It is a stunning building, has been existence for 200 years. It does seem to be welcoming guests in 2021 despite the pandemic. But I did not remember the hotel, perhaps because I did not write about it?? Or find my musings in an Ikebana container? I wrote and illustrated a MacBook describing the fjord journey but have been unable to find it, due to the demise of a prior computer and iPad. I do remember this. Paul looked at the book and said:
He: Where am I in this book? I was traveling with you.
Me: You slept until noon and beyond. You got up and read a newspaper, anxiously awaiting cocktail hour (hours and hours). I went to bed at a respectable tomer, you stayed up well into the morning before coming to bed.
We travelled extensively during the marriage. I would read travel books, plan the trip, make the hotel reservations enjoying my mornings alone exploring museums, taking in the sights while he slept. Then one year journeyed to Japan with my Ikebana instructor., instead of Paul. She met her family following our conjoint trip to Tokyo. I journeyed on my own, not knowing one word of Japanese. It was an incredible adventure. I got on the bus to take me to the airport and home and at that point in time – despite heroic adventures on my own – had a panic attack. Correctly perceived that it was returning to the marriage that caused it. Upon arrival in North America, left for Edmonton because my mother was dying. Always will I remember these words.
He: Your mother is not dying, you just want to go and spend time with your sister-in-law.
Well he was wrong, I did return to California but she died three days later. She was ninety-four and did want to die at that point. But she died alone. I do not think he did, but do not know as I was living in Vancouver at the time. Learned of his death from my Primary Care Physician, his family did not see fit to inform me. There was no obituary published at the time – wrote one on my blog. It was healing. I am sure it is still there – type Paul Skvaril in the search engine.
What would have happened in my life it I had not divorced him? Well, I would not be a Muslim, that is for sure. Realized yesterday that I have been a Muslim for six months and eight days. Did not think it had been that long. Eleven more days of Ramadan. It is going well, today is an IN day with very little planned. No visits to Instagram today. Yesterday was a shocker but it is not possible to know what is real and what is unreal on Instagram. Do not need to be upset for nothing. I was most distressed yesterday – extremely so.
I shall scan my photographs to locate some Norway photos but perhaps they are not retrievable.