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and I hope you do, will.

It is always painful to come home. Primarily because it is coming home.

Visiting the Motherland means going to my mother´s, being smothered in crocheted blankets and large-family-dinners, it means visiting my mother in law in her ceramics atelier, saying hi to all of her friends, it means going on tour, late nights of talking, trying to make people cry, it means driving for hours all the way across the country, nodding to all the burial mounds of my ancestors, listening to the land as it whispers, it means standing still by the constantly moving fjord and walking in the leaf-bearing woods that we come from.

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It is painful because these are our roots

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… and I feel like I´m clinging on to something that is gone, I want to grab a hold of it but I know I can´t, I can´t grow here, I´m not hard-headed like those trees.

The Motherland has been crowned several times as the happiest country in the world. Most people I know find this study… strange. Combined with the fact that Denmark also have one of the highest suicide rates in the world-  statistics has, as of lately, lost a lot of it´s credibility. It´s problematic when statistics are used for political purposes, anything can be proven.

Someone straightened all of the rivers because of statistics. They plowed the entire land, even a lot of the burial mounds, gone. They felled the thousand-year old oaks, they drained the bogs and emptied the fjords from fish. In Denmark you are not allowed to camp, even for a night, in the remains of the forest. You can’t walk in the space between the fields, I´ve been yelled at numerous times for doing that.
I try not to think about the factory sized farms and the way they treat the animals, shooting them full of penicillin, every day, penicillin in the waters now.
This is the country of HC Andersen, Lego and windmills, Scandinavian furniture and food, it’s all very neat so… stay quiet, don´t tell. Sshhh.
Keep the secrets in the dark. Don´t mention the war.

I do not come from a happy homeland. I come from a broken homeland.
Dysfunctional.This is the happiest homeland in the world!
–  visiting the places of our childhood, visiting our home and the past, it feels like visiting statues, monuments and museums.

The extent of the devastation and the way we could have had it all, the way my homeland has been exploited, abused, shattered .. how does one respond to that?
What would be a proper reaction?

And the boy says “I want to live in Denmark mom, why can´t we live here?”

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Enter doubt.

Could we insist?
Could we create a tiny little spot in the universe, in the midst of the monoculture, would that not be a noble act of resistance?
Could we live without the wild?

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“Child, we can´t live here” I say and then my heart breaks. Again.

My homeland is rich, fertile, it used to be diverse too. My homeland will survive, clearly, it will outlive us all. These are just hard times…

Small havens, fatamorganas, places where you can breathe, that´s what we have here. Random acts of kindness. Explosions of creativity. Resistance.
Long live the resistance!

I want to tell you about a member of the resistance. I respect her enormously.

Here she is- with a choir of sticks from the forest, a sturdy choir, they keep on singing
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Her name is Sanne, she runs an eco café located in the MIDST of the monoculture, a café on a field that stretches as far as the eye can see.
Far out, close to the sea, away from the big city, surrounded by tractors and pig factories she insists on beauty and good food.
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I´ve been doing talks there for the last two nights in a row, full house.
Tea being served, cakes you wouldn´t believe.
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And I get to tell the danes about my sorrow, I get to speak up.
Kind of like a poetry slam, just longer, I consider it an art form, I love doing it – the narrow narratives of going green, being radical and seeking out alternatives, this needs to be adressed too; I LOVE travelling into society, play all of these strings, I love putting on my fancy clothes and whisper about fermentation, log cabin building, telling tales, I don´t care if this is not comme il faut… our business is to exspand comme il faut…

ANYWAYS.
I get to tell them about the loss of wild, I get to question growth, statistics, economics, I get to tell them that more and more people are seeking out new ways of living, authenticity as more as a fad, I get to tell them that it is POSSIBLE. To live. Differently  (not easy of course)

These people. People that have never heard the word permaculture before, people who don´t know about the subcultures of gift economy and the moneyless life
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And here I am, the top of my head, the tip of my tongue, located exactly in the middle between the private and the public, between the retreat and the display
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Some are hard-headed, some are soft-hearted, it´s better if we help each other, it´s better if we fight it, it´s better if we speak up.

I´ll be doing my last talk at Savillas tonight (I encourage you come see this place thriving in the middle of the dark, it´s really something). Tomorrow I´ll be in Vejen and then… around.

21 comments on “Edge blur

  1. John N. says:

    Thank you again Andrea. We hear often of the nirvana that is the Scandanavian countries. I appreciate your perspective; please continue to share. Of course everyone seems to think we are nuts for even talking about leaving the money economy to the extent possible. It is a funny thing though, those people with less money, do with a lot less money, and seem happier than the next. It is a journey, and I and mine are only taking the first small steps.

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    1. It IS a constant journey, a constant choice… sometimes I find myself buying stuff I don´t need for money I don´t have… still. But I think it´s like a diet- it dosn´t work if you go full retard from day one, you have to ease into it, changing habits takes a bit of time, a constant efford, an awareness and then one day it just seems.. redundant (to buy what you don´t need for money you don´t have). That´s my experience anyways.

      Like

  2. DM says:

    Something stirred as I read your post. You capture the tension between regulations and rules (all meant for the common good, right? ) 😦 and the freedom of living w/o all that nonsense. One of the things that stirred is an awareness that I am living in a place here in the US where I can still exercise quite a few of the freedoms they have lost in your homeland…we live in an old farmhouse on 4 acres that I can pretty much do as I please….but not as free as it used to be. We can no longer buy raw milk from a farmer, I can not build a house w/o someone inspecting the septic system and the electrical work…I started reading your blog about a month ago. thank you for the honesty in which you write. DM

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    1. If first you begin to think about it it becomes plain out absurd…. you are not allowed to drink milk from a cow and I´m not allowed to sleep in the forests (this is true, you can´t just camp in Denmark). Come to think about it these are rather important freedoms….

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  3. Dear andrea
    I would also miss the a hardwood forest of Denmark if I were living among the pointy spruces of northern Sweden.
    How did Denmark get pushed so far to the right? I was shocked when the foghrasmussen govt was formed.
    We are all being pushed to the right and are like frightened sheep stampeded into a chute. We have to speak in metaphor for efficiency’s sake and still it sounds shrill and polemical (even though masking a cri de coeur).
    Congratulations that you are finding ears to hear you, and every good wish that you continue to find the energy to continue.
    ~ Abigail

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    1. I ask myself the same question all of the time, Abigail. How did it happen? I don´t think we noticed while it did and now it´s just reality so you can´t really imagine it to be different. It´s sad.
      Thank you.

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  4. smcasson says:

    You can’t walk in the forests between fields?? Whose rule is that?
    Glad you are enjoying the talks and the company it brings.
    I will have to do more thinking about the moneyless life. I was just mentioning to my wife, that living on a very restrictive budget, I really haven’t been having any less fun…

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    1. Yeah: most of the country has been plowed (rivers straigthened, forrest demolished) because of the strong agricultural history here…. and since you are not allowed to walk on the fields themselves you have walk on the small lines between the fields but you are not allowed because a lot of the owners of the fields believe they OWN the land and maybe they´re not big sharing? So if you want to be in nature in Denmark you have to drive to find these small sancturaries – but you are not allowed to just camp or sleep there for a night, if you want to spend the night in nature you are supposed to do so at certain shelters and campsites and it often costs money. Of course people just camp out for the night anyways but then you have to do so with a certain kind of paranoia, afraid to be found out….
      It´s so crazy…

      Like

  5. nicoleaugust says:

    You are giving the whole world a gift. Keep talking !

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  6. David says:

    Hang in there, Andrea! You are doing so much, both with your talks in Denmark and for this community who read your words and your struggles here.

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  7. That what once was, no longer is….
    I think I know what it must be like. I have never returned for fear to go through what you did or worse…. For us there is no going back. And our hearts ache… because it knows, yet still…

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    1. Actually I thought of you when writing this Ron- I know you come from Holland and I know that circumstances (regarding nature) there are really messed up too ….

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  8. Stine says:

    Så utrolig godt skrevet Andrea. Jeg har helt den samme relation til mit hjemland.

    På et tidspunkt fløj jeg fra Norge (hvor jeg bor) til Danmark om aftenen. Når jeg fløj fra Norge, så jeg ned på de spredte lyspletter som tydeligvis bugtede sig på naturens præmisser, da vi fløj ind over Danmark var alle lys placeret i geometriske rette linjer og mønstre.

    ALT er kultur i Danmark, måske bortset fra Vesterhavets yderste revler. ALT, selv den mark som lærken hænger og synger oven over. Og de få pletter der er tilbage af natur du kan bevæge dig i, minder om store tilrettelagte parker med lige stier, hvor maskiner har pløjet sig gennem landskabet.

    Det gør noget ved min hjerne, forenkler den, dræber min kreativitet, gør at jeg mister troen på al den kraft jeg naturligt har fordi jeg er natur, giver mig åndenød, overload og menneskekryb, giver mig præstationstrang og illusorisk storhedsvanvid efter at komme frem i verden….

    Samtidig savner jeg den danske muldjord til min køkkenhave, den skriggrønne bøgeskov i Maj, at forstå hvad folk siger selv på 300 meters afstand, fordi vi som børn har lært at mundaflæse den danske betoning i ordene og så savner jeg de vandrette cykelstier.

    Tak for reminderen idag og lykke til med foredrag. Du er fantastisk inspiration til den tid vi lever i. Vi har så hårdt brug for den.

    Like

    1. Jeg tænkte så meget over det her indlæg, Stine- fordi det på en eller anden absurd måde var dejligt at høre at du har det på samme måde (åh gud, den fede muld!)

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  9. BeeHappee says:

    Andrea, first of all, I love the pictures you added. They are so so you, and so warm.
    And I feel your pain, the pull of the homeland, and the sadness to see it all barely breathing, beaten and bleeding to death, and the wish to go find a better place, at the same time realizing it is all beaten, all bleeding, everywhere. But you want to do something, to help, especially there, in the world that made you. . And you are doing it! Even if you just show up in front of people and cry. If only we could clone you, and there were more of you!! Thank you for your bravery and your words, and I’m sending lots and lots of good energy your way.

    Like

  10. I would love to be able to read stine’s post, if someone were to translate it into English.
    ~ Abigail

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    1. Hi Abigail; I hate to say this, but in this case google translate is your friend!
      Not exactly correct grammatically, but you get the idea…

      “So incredibly well written Andrea. I have quite the same relation to my homeland.

      At one time I flew from Norway (where I live) to Denmark in the evening. When I flew from Norway, I looked down on the scattered dots of light that obviously writhed on nature’s terms, when we flew over Denmark were all light placed in geometric straight lines and patterns.

      ALT’s culture in Denmark, except maybe the North Sea outermost sandbanks. TOTAL even the field as the lark hangs and sings above. And the few spots left by nature you can move in, reminiscent of great organized parks with trails, where machines have plowed through the landscape.

      It does something to my brain, simplifies, kills my creativity, makes me lose faith in all the power I have naturally because I’m natural, gives me breathlessness, overload and human mites, giving me performance cravings and deluded megalomaniac to come forward in world ….

      At the same time, I miss the Danish topsoil to my vegetable garden, the screams green beech forest in May, to understand what people are saying even at 300 meters distance, because as children we have learned to lip-read the Danish accent in words and I miss the horizontal cycle paths.

      Thanks for the reminder today of luck to lectures. You are great inspiration for the times we live in. We so desperately need it.”….

      Like

      1. Stine says:

        Sorry, I was so tired yesterday, that I couldn’t find the words in english. Thank you for using google translate. (ALT = ALL)

        Like

  11. ncfarmchick says:

    It may seem too obvious (well, maybe not to those not from the US) but this post makes me think of Thomas Wolfe’s “You Can’t Go Home Again.” I always interpreted the idea as you can’t go home because, while you were gone, home changed. Or, maybe, home didn’t change but you did. Kind of like when people return to a house they grew up in and remark how small it seems in comparison to their memory. Also, a place can sometimes be more defined by the people you knew there than the physical place and, once the people are gone, the place is changed, too. (I’m thinking of a feeling many people get when returning to school for a reunion.) Your post speaks to the changes on the physical level enforced by others that alter the spirit of that place, as well. All this makes me think that all that change is rarely in sync and we are displaced and feel cast adrift as a result. I am glad that you are keeping the conversation going. Some of the worst parts of change (and there are good parts here and there) is that people forget what came before and forget what is worth saving. Keep shouting, my friend. You are being heard in places you might never imagine.

    Like

  12. Such interesting thoughts, poetic, thank you!

    Like

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