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My grandfather died last summer.

His favourite color was pink. His coffin all covered in pink flowers.

As a child he would take my hand and we would walk about down by the river.
He taught me the names of all of the flowers. My grandfather knew of many worlds.

They say the Scandinavians have an unhealthy relationship to their children (I say that too).
To foreigners our kids may appear undisciplined and anti-authoritarian. Spoiled.
It is forbidden by law to spank children as it is forbidden by law to home school them.
(truth is that we have found other methods of punishment quilt being king in this kingdom).

But we´ll do anything for the children.
We´ll sacrife everything for them- privacy, agency, power, freedom, self-government.
For their sake we have reinvented serfdom (the kid will suffer eternal trauma if you change, if you move, if you switch schools, if you have different standards, if you´re different) for the sake of the children, for the sake of the children and thus the children have become an elaborate form of social control.

We use them against each other.

Which is not really loving the child for the sake of the child-  but for the sake of the power of the child.
Which is truly egoism.

My grandfather knows. My grandfather will see right through all of that.
My grandfather knew of an OLDER kind of love for the child.

The love of the child runs deep in these landscapes, it is rooted into our culture, the kin is of uttermost importance. We´re clan people. Centuries of long, dark winters unable to leave the home, knee-high snow. Also we have many ghosts here.

I´m thinking about it because most of my children are more or less grown ups now and I didn´t expect that fact to change me so much but it does. My notions of privacy, agency, power, freedom, self government…  it´s not really that simple you know… to just stand there in the door opening and wave to them.
I´m a different person now. Different rules and laws apply.

It´s funny how I see things now that where previously invisible to me, I just didn´t notice, we were tramping around.
It´s straight up unbelievable how this whole experience in the woods have opened my eyes (or reminded me of something I forgot along the way), the beginning of a transformative proces much greater than anticipated.

It´s been raining for days. Whenever it stops we go outside, the child and me- and we go look at the smallest flowers which somehow seems to be highlighted in late may.











9 comments on “The smallest flowers

  1. Tori says:

    Beautiful pictures. Reminds me of my own grandfather. He was outwardly a tough man (never crying or talking about emotional things), but he always used to take pictures of flowers. 🙂


  2. ncfarmchick says:

    Yes, beautiful photos and beautiful words. As much as my children have changed me since their birth (Completely! I was not only oblivious to certain things, I think I was in some kind of coma), I can hardly imagine how I will feel when they go out into the world on their own.
    My grandfather would talk to the plants in his garden like they were old friends. Said it made them grow better. And he had beautiful flowers, too. Makes me smile to think about him. Thank you for that!


  3. If you ever decide to I think in your next life you could pursue photography. Your photos are wonderful.

    My maternal grandfather was gone when I came along. My paternal grandfather could show a child everything there was to know about fishing. My dad showed me how to “see”.

    The good in the world is like the tiniest flowers. Tucking itself in amongst the folds of existence waiting for people to see where it is.


  4. Andy Jukes says:

    Interesting what you say about children being an elaborate form of social control. I read it to my wife. She agrees. It is much the same in the UK. She has often said as much. A huge social pressure to conform “for the sake of the children.” Not to step to far outside the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Yet, what is “normal” and “acceptable” is steadily making the planet a much tougher place to be for our children’s generation. A contradiction. I think we have to be brave. We have to be abnormal. For the sake of the children.


  5. Bill says:

    Powerful post. I wonder if the older kind of love for a child that your grandfather knew is the kind of love our history has taught us. Maybe it’s more natural and authentic than one-size-fits-all legislation. Good food for thought this morning.


  6. Tricia says:

    Beautiful! I think someday we are going to look back at how we’ve treated children and we are going to cry. Society’s beliefs about children are so backwards, so abusive I could go crazy thinking about it.


    1. We’ve already been crying. I look at our (as human society) movement forward for positive change like an inchworm. Leaps ahead and then apparent stagnation. For example, until John Bowlsby’s ideas of Attachment Parenting became widely accepted (in certain societies) it was OK to leave your sick child at the doors of the hospital and walk away from the terrified child and leave them in the hands of strangers. Nay, it was more than OK. It was advised. To make the child stronger. Now at least in the U.S., in this example, parents can and are encouraged to stay overnight and be there for everything except the operating room. We move and we stagnate.


  7. Tricia says:

    I Agree Renee…. I see lots of positive changes happening too, but the negatives bring me to tears. Wish we could get it together.


  8. Abigail Higgins says:

    dear andrea
    this post hits hard.
    thank you once again for your perspective.
    your northland forest provides solitude and detachment– a contrast to the mired lives of most of us. (even residents of small islands still stressed by getting and having.)
    you make original connections again and again that benefit me!
    all best,
    ~ abigail


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