For Anne…

Anne Faber bewerkt (2)

A couple of weeks ago, Anne went cycling on her own. Twenty-five years old,
she was just a young woman, right at the start of her life, going on an ordinary, little adventure at the end of the day. A young woman, much like myself, much like many of us. A young woman, who never returned home that night & whose body was found dead and discarded in the forest 2 weeks later.

Anne has been on my mind a lot lately. Not just because the news has been dominated by her disappearance, but mainly because her story and all the details of her passing have found a way to my heart and won’t let themselves be shaken off. The cycling trip, the numbered tracks, the day drawing to an end, the world around her dripping with her imminent ending.
In this past week, I have found my thoughts drifting to dark places as I thought of her discarded, lonely self left in that, once so innocent ,forest; so far from those she loved & those who loved her. To me, nature has always been a place to feel fully at ease, a place to recharge & come to terms with the bustle of life. The forest in fall has always been my go-to-place, my unquestioned favourite season.
Yet, suddenly, this same place & this same season were dragged into the harsh light of reality & were made to be stained by the vicious act of Anne’s killer. It’s like I just cannot not comprehend how so much natural beauty & so much sickening violence can co-exist in one place at the same time.

Anne, just another story on the news. Anne, the girl that went cycling & never come round again. Anne, who I never met & was never likely to meet. Anne, whose senseless death has settled within me for reasons I might never fully understand.
This is for Anne. This is for me. This is for the forest in fall. This is for the restoring of innocence & beauty in places where it is lost. This is for all of us who might need this right now….

The forest and the girl

The moss and the fungus
the evaporating dew
the endless singing overhead
the smelling and the creaking
the frail, motionless canopy
the breaking and the falling
the inevitable ending;

The forest and the girl.

Remembrance Day, 2017

SONY DSC

‘This aggrieved time will tell
whether we’ve learned or unlearned
from all that came to pass,

N.J

If you would like to read my Remembrance day – posts from previous years, simply click on the links below.

Remembrance day, 2013
Remembrance day, 2014
Remembrance day, 2015
Remembrance day, 2016

Goodbye November

Goodbye November, farewell my friend. Your turbulent times have come to an end. Your windswept days, your glorious mornings & equally brilliant midnight skies. The ups & the downs, the highs & the lows. You have been a challenge for the soul, a true sharpening of the senses. And more than anything, you’ve been a rude awakening to us all.

Goodbye Dear November. I feel I’m still trying to come to terms with you, because you haven’t been easy to digest. Like I’ve been put to the test & even now, after all our time together, I’m not sure whether I succeeded or utterly failed. But I’m still here. Still standing. And I guess that should mean something.
I struggled, you know, I struggled a lot. I was taken aback by the world; the shape we’re in, the direction we’ve taken. We felt ever so divided, so scattered as a human race. Everything seemed to spin out of control. For every step once taken forward, we seemingly took two steps back. And it scared me. Everything scared me.
I learned. Yes, I guess I learned. About myself, the world & everything underneath these wide skies. I attempted to reinvent myself at the start of each new day, tried to strap on more armour than I could possibly carry. I came undone, then picked myself up again.
A poet died & he took arms full of inspiration with him as he hurried from this world to the next. I felt at a loss, like nothing was ever going to be simple anymore. And it scared me. Everything scared me.
It was my birthday. I looked at the world where I spend all those beautiful, confusion, incredible, fulfilling years, surrounded by all the best of people, and found I didn’t understand what I saw anymore. And it scared me. Everything scared me.

Dearest November, I don’t want to be scared any longer. I don’t want to give up on hope. Don’t want to let go of the idea that all that is good & right & true in this world will always prevail over everything that is not. ‘It is possible to choose peace over worries’ it said on the magazine I picked up just the other day. Struck by the simple truth of these wonderfully hopeful words, I suddenly understood that it was up to me & no one else where to go from here. Up to me to decide whether to be defeated or to stand tall. So, I will choose peace over worries. I choose hope over fear. Every single time. I know I might sounds naïve, silly even. But I’m rather naïve, than negative. Rather silly, than sad.

Goodbye Beautiful November. I feel for you. I understand your struggle, your endless search for identity. You’re stuck somewhere in the middle of it all. No longer autumn, but not quite winter. No colourful leafs to decorate your hours, no Christmas lights to lighten your days. But I want you to know, you have been beautiful & incredible & meaningful in so many ways. You’ve been unique & moving, challenging & all important. You have brought me thoughts & insights which I will cherish forever. I want you to know that, understand it, before we say our goodbyes. I feel that, because of you & all that you have taught me, I have finally begun to understand how to shift the weight of life, so that it may sit more comfortably as I go. And for that I’ll be forever in your debts.

Love, Naomi

Book:Friday on my mind’ & ‘Saturday Requiem’ by Nicci French. Now it’s time to break-in the newest novel by my all-time favourite author Jonathan Safran Foer.
Series: Showtime original The Affair, which was really honest, confronting & good. And then we started watching ‘Lost’ once again, which will always be one of my favourite shows. After finishing season 1 last night, I’ve turned right into a proud Lostie again;)
Songs of the month:
Come Healing – Leonard Cohen
I’m yours – Jack Savoretti
Night comes on – Leonard Cohen
Destroyer – David Gray
String reprise/Treaty – Leonard Cohen

to Leonard

We stood at the edge of the world together. You & I. You were ready to go. You held your hat in your hand. Your face solemn, at peace, ready to trade this world for the next. The night came on. It was very calm. I wanted the night to go on and on. But you said; go back, go back to the world.

I stood beside you. Silent. My heart felt a little broken, my soul a little shaken, as I thought of all that endless uncertainly that lay before me now. Our roads would part soon. You would finally be going home, while I would go my own way. Back to the world that lay waiting. Some of me wanted to turn to you & tell you of all the fear that was building inside of me.
‘I’m scared, you see’ is what I wanted to explain, ‘scared of what’s to come, scared to see what waits around the corner. Soon, when you leave this world for a better place, please let it truly be a better place. A place where people can still see the difference between right & wrong, a place where hate has no ground to grow its dark roots, where hope may be found in abundance. Find a tower of song to lay your head down & let the sisters of mercy soothe your soul. Because this world, this world where you have lived out the beautiful days of your life, this world might never be the same again. It seems to me that humanity took a blow this time from which we might not easily recover. Like it has all become unsteady now. Justice hanging in the balance & the scales ready to tip the other way’.

The wind, the wind was blowing, through the world the wind was blowing. You freedom soon would come. And you would move from the shadows, towards the skies above. ‘Which heaven will you go to?’ I wondered, ‘when all gates are opened before you, over which threshold will you step?’
There was so much & so little left to say. I thought of you & of me & all the wondrous stories told between us. Stories of a place near the river, where you could hear the boats go by. Stories of a captain whose ship had not been build, stories of a Gypsy’s wife lost in the night, loaded dice & rivers dark.
‘Your passing feels like yet another light turning off,’ I thought quietly, as silence grew deeper around & within us ‘while it seems apparent to me that we can’t effort anymore darkness to nest in our hearts & minds. It’s my birthday today. Or at least it was, until a few minutes ago. And during this special day, I was thinking how I lived this part of my quiet & joyous life with you at my side. Your music, your poetry ran through me like blood has run through my veins. You have been a friend, a silent guide & a great teacher. You were always there, as a silent companion, a soundtrack to accompany me as I travelled down a road filled with new beginnings, frightening farewells & unexpected challenges. You, your whispered words, your wandering mind have taken me by the hand, led me through the sunny days of my childhood, the darker days of adolescence & you are still here in this endless wondering that is my life. Preparing me for your departure with the same grace as you have prepared me for my life.’
There were a thousand things to say. A million thoughts to share. Because you are a gem. A once in a lifetime. A rare find. And now I feared there may be no more diamonds in the mine. But that is our burden to carry. Not yours. I looked at you, one last time I looked at you & knew it was only fair to let you go with a mind free of all that is to be.

You & me. At the end of the world. A moon larger than life. The night came on. It was very calm. I wanted the night to go on & on. But I went back, back to the world….

Goodbye October

Goodbye October, you have come & gone. I have been running late & before long, I might forget what made our time together so special & valuable. And that would be such a waste, wouldn’t it?
So, before you go, let me take a moment to thank you. Thank you for celebrating nature at its best. The showers of yellow, orange, red & brown, the leafs dancing in the streets, the bright blue skies & the silent, early mornings. You amazed me, you had me looking up & up & up. Had me mesmerized; constantly captivated by all your glorious beauty.

Goodbye Beautiful October, I’m sad to see you go, but you have certainly fuelled me for the winter months to come. I will treasure the days, hours & moments we spend together.
As time went by, your days grew shorter, your wind sharper & more whimsical. But at the best of times, I could still leave my coat at home. I got to see the sun climbing into the sky, witnessed the start of so many perfect autumn days. I stared up at the trees, their colourful canopy like a party in the sky. Cycling, I had to course correct, remind myself to put daydreams on hold & pay attention to the world in front of me.
During the comforting time we spend together, I ran into challenges, big & beautiful. And, despite the fear & the mix emotions which go hand in hand with all newness, I grabbed opportunities with both hands, ready to learn, not so ready to stumble. I took a moment to embrace the underrated joy of hearing a new masterpiece. I celebrated the birth of the greatest person on earth. I mourned the loss of those I’d never know. I cooked new things, reintroduced old favourites. As always, I planned & planned, mostly too much, but never really enough. I learned, I read, I loved, I thought & then thought some more. And in the midst of our time together, I ran into a new side to myself. Thinking I knew it all, thinking I had peeled back every single layer of the person I have always aimed to become, I wandered into unfamiliar territory. And I have been wondered about this unexpected insight ever since.

Goodbye Dear October, you have been ever so sweet. But you’ve also been wild, ruthless & unforgiving. You had hurricanes sweeping in, tearing away everything from those who had nothing to begin with. I watched the world as it unravelled into a battle of right & wrong, decent & savage. I felt us inching towards a time in history I’m afraid I will never be able to understand. The overflowing boats, the vicious seize-fires, the never-ending tug of war between rightfulness & reality. And even though I know I am supposed to be some sort of vague part of it all, I never felt further removed from the world & all its boundless violence.

Goodbye lovely October, you will be missed. Your days were busy, unorganised at the worst of times. There were moments I wanted to pause you, take a breath & reset everything. But more than anything, you were magnificent & my life was beautifully whole & lovely incomplete at the same time. Thanks you for everything; the confidence gained, the lessons learned & the beauty given. Thank you for the music, the words & all the inspiration. Thank you for the evenings, spend in the safety of all I know. And thank you for the days full of colourful wonder.
I’ll wrap this up now. November is here, she has already begun & it’s time for you to go. Take care, sweet October, let’s meet again next year.

Love, Naomi

Book: ‘Waiting for Wednesday’ & Thursday’s Child’ both by Nicci French
(now I might aswell finish the series:)
Movie: ‘Das Leben das Anderen’,
a beautiful touching movie, which I have seen about three times now.
Songs of the month:
You want it darker – Leonard Cohen
Deep Waters – Jack Savoretti
It seemed the better way – Leonard Cohen
All of me – Milow (cover)

Goodbye September

Goodbye September, with your bright blue skies, uncharacteristically warmth temperatures & your incredible high spirits. You were a holiday, a gift; a getaway from life as it tends to be. You brought me arms full of freedom, legs full of miles & a head full of refreshed dreams. And all I can say to you is: thank you!

Goodbye beautiful September, what a lovely time we had together. So much sunlight, so much air to breath, so many adventures to go on & so many hours to spend exploring the world and my place in it. There was nature everywhere. There was the mesmerizing sea; the cold water stinging, the waves rolling in. Like a child, stretching my arms, trying to catch a ride to shore. There were the wide, empty beaches; there were unexplored possibilities in every direction, there were tracks to follow & there were seagulls going their own way. There was sand, grass & wind. There were birds, like great white clouds, sailing away from me. There were seashells in my hand, there were ships on the horizon, colourful parasols creating shade where needed. There were fields filled with flowers, curious goats at lunch, evenings to stay out & mornings to have breakfast at the break at dawn. The sun turned my skin a golden brown, white feet where my socks used to be.
Days passed. Sunny days. I followed my sand covered shoes around. Sometimes walking, sometimes peddling, sometimes resting in the spaces between. I read books, experimented in the kitchen, happily celebrated new life on the way. I was filled with joy, then filled with doubts. Conversations drifted in & out of me. A head full of things to say, I found words for some things, unexpected silence for others. I thought of all the possible things I said & all the possible things I should have said. I felt happiness & it was large as life itself. I felt both pride & regret. I remembered all the lessons I learned along the way, only to forget them moments later. And through it all, I think I was growing somehow; growing up as well as down.

Goodbye September, goodbye to your never-ending tale of human sorrow. Summer is come & gone and some of us are still waiting in vain. Waiting at borders, waiting in between the rubble which once was a city, waiting for aid, a solution or simply waiting for some compassion. Waiting for this world to become a better place, a safe haven for all & not just for a selected few. As I lived out the days of my incredible life, old & new stories sprang to life all around me. People stood gathered, remembering & mourning. Committees were assembled, summits took place, citizens from far and wide took to the streets & demanded a little bit of everything for everyone. It was good, it was brave, it was the best they could do, while I sat & wondered whether it would ever be enough.

Goodbye dear September, our time to part has come. October is waiting. Autumn is setting in. Leafs are falling. The months ahead will carefully wash the traces of this past summer from my skin. But even as I turn a lighter shade of pale, I won’t forget you, nor the colourful days you brought me. Thank you, sweet September. Thank you for all the time you gave me. All the sleep & all the waking hours. Thank you for the seaside, for the fields, the forest & the cool canopy of its trees. Thank you for the safe travels, the memories made & the promise of moments to come. And more than anything, thank you for granting me the time & space to reinvent my ‘extra’ordinary life, just in time for the holiday to end. Take care & I hope we’ll meet again…

Love, Naomi

Book: I read two Nicci French novels (my guilty holiday-pleasure:), called ‘Blue Monday’ & ‘Tuesday’s gone.
And I read a beautiful little book called ‘For one more day’, written by Mitch Albom. It’s a great story about a son who gets to spend one last day with his deceased mother; beautifully written & great food for thought.
Series: E.R, still:)
Songs of the month:
The promise – Tracy Chapman
Motherland – Natalie Merchant
We must be crazy – Milow
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye – Leonard cohen
Take me home – Jack Savoretti

Goodbye August

Goodbye August, with your bright sunny days & your warm, sleepless nights. How generous you have been; delivering an abundance of sweet summer sun, gorgeous bright mornings & countless numbers of mosquitos. I asked for summer & you gave me summer. And I would like to thank you for it.

Goodbye sweet August, I’ve had a great time with you. Although my legs were heavy sometimes, my throat unexpectedly sore a few days & my arms a little useless every now and then, I still had the best of times with you. Your promising mornings had me longing for fresh air; you took me out into the forest, the fields & onto the water. I went canoeing, I sat at the water’s edge, ate veggies wraps, embraced the world around me, while listening to the voices of the people I have loved all my life & will love forever more. I climbed a hillside, curious cows watched me watching them. Their beautiful brown eyes, those long lashes & the smell of life as I remember it from bygone years. With the world still half asleep, I caught the golden light of day, thanking my mind & eyes for all its wondrous wandering.
Some days, life was as it always is. I made the beds, filled bags with groceries, stood in line & wasted time. I cycled up & down this little town. I saw familiar streets, but every day in a different light. Yes, most of life was as it usually is. But it was lovely, it was sweet & it was how I wanted life to be. New cards arrived, filling me with happiness & pride. Recipes were tested; some worked out, some didn’t. I ate mangoes, blue berries, too many tomatoes & not nearly enough strawberries. My mother came: travelled hours on the train to tell me that she loves me & I couldn’t begin to explain how much that meant to me. I liked almost all of your days; especially the ones spend hiking, exploring, recharging, learning, succeeding, catching up & catching on. There was always something new & always something familiar. And I was grateful for loving the combination of the two.

Goodbye Dear August, this is a summer of broken records. A summer of moments to cheer, moments to cry, moments of joy mixing in with times of disbelieve & cold despair. This is a summer of a trembling earth, victorious athletes, disappearing villages, crazy campaigns, exploding bombs & destructive weddings. The summer of a small boy, a childlike ghost, momentarily shaking us awake, opening our eyes, until it feels appropriate to close them once again. This wondrous world kept spinning & spinning, and I was spinning along as always. Everything changed & changed, yet everything stayed the same & the same. I tried to understand, comprehend & compartmentalize. At the end of every day, I was still there & I felt thankful for it.

Goodbye beautiful August, thank you for being wonderful. Thank you for being warm, bright, kind. Thank you for the golden mornings, the empty streets, the endless walks & the lightness of it all. Thank you for the cats, the cows, the juvenile birds. Thank you for the box of mangoes, which turned out to be juicy and tasty, just like they’re supposed to be. Thanks you for all the talks, the silence & thank you for the quiet reassurance of everyday life.
September is here now; sneaking a chill into the morning air, bringing autumn a little closer. I had a wonderful time with you & hope to see you again, in all your glory, sometime next year…

Love, Naomi

Book: I haven’t been able to finish a book this month. I’m having a holiday soon though, so hopefully I can make it up in September:)
Series: E.R & some episodes of Early Edition. I watched the new episodes of Masterchef Australia 2016, which has been great so far!
Movies: ‘Heaven on Earth‘, the wonderful sequel to the equally wonderful Swedish movie;
As it is in Heaven.
Songs of the month:
Rivers – The Tallest Man on Earth
Humble me – Norah Jones
The Boy in the Bubble  – Paul Simon

Goodbye June

Goodbye June. Goodbye to your restless days; the showers, the changes & all those hopeful new beginnings. Thank you for the grasslands growing, the grain swaying, the birds overhead & the rivers flowing. There was more rain than the ground could take, more heartache than our souls should take. There were swallows dancing, clouds gathering, lightning striking. You were wild & unpredictable, yet you were beautiful & brave. And I’d like to thank you for that.

Goodbye sweet June, thank you for the days I got to walk through. In the midst of your confusing sadness, you have taken the time to once again remind me of the importance of all things little. You have warned me about the weight of things larger than life; the heavy burdens of everything I cannot possible change, nor carry. And so, I set out looking for the sun behind the clouds, the silver lining at the end of the day. With a renewed lightness in my step, I hiked up a hill, I watched the sky in wonder & I adjusted my heartbeat to the unexpected rhythm of your season. And, suddenly, I felt so much lighter than before.
Living through your days, I hoped, I feared, I tried, I managed, I failed. Some things came to an end, while other patiently waited to begin. I learned new words with the same meaning. I created & conquered. I made long lists which I never finished, I set goals I decided not to reach. I watched games unite & divide. I cheered for Spain & cried for England. I let the world get to me. I read the news & became painfully aware that I too am part of a greater whole. Part of something. Something nameless & abstract, yet something that seemed to be coming apart at the seams. And all of a sudden, I felt frightened over the prospect of losing the sense of unity I had never felt before.

Goodbye Dear June. Do you wonder, like I do, what will happen now? Where we might go from here? Why do we do what we do? Why do we let fear cloud our judgement, let prejudice get in the way of who we ought to be? When did our world turn into a place where parties turn into massacres, holidays into horror? I broke down, I cried in disbelieve. I felt the loss in my heart, mind & my soul. And all that while, I understood that it was alright to feel too much at once. That the feeling of devastating sorrow, which sat in my chest, was what the world needed from me that very moment.
It ought to hurt, because it is an crime & it’s a terrible, terrible disgrace. And we should never be allowed to be numbed by all the suffering, but we should be outraged & empowered instead.

Goodbye June, thank you for everything. Let’s make way for your friend July, see if she holds the summer we somehow were unable to find. Thank you for all the wonderful moments of togetherness you send my way. Thank you for the sweet strawberries, the tasty dinners & yummy cakes. Thanks for the love of those who love me; their words, their laughter & their reassuring nearness. Thanks for the walks, the wide skies, the rain that soaked my clothes & the shower that warmed my skin. It’s time to wave goodbye now. Take care & hope to see you next year.

Love, Naomi

Book: unfortunately, I didn’t manage to finish a book this month:(
I am half way a novel called; The Shock of the Fall, by Nathan Filer. It’s promising so far…
Series: still watching E.R & mixing it up with a Netflix original called Bloodline. Furthermore, I’ve been watching a few soccer matches from the European Championships:)
Songs of the month:
Up & Up – Coldplay
Nearly Morning – Luke Sital Singh (with Gabriella Aplin)
Hold back the River – James Bay
Young as the morning, old as the sea – Passenger

This month I would love to include a lovely, colourful & incredibly creative music video I’ve been playing on repeat. This song lifts my spirit whenever it needs lifting & even though, I’m normally not crazy about music videos, I’ll gladly make an exception for this creative, funny & inspiring piece of art. Of course, it helps that I’m a huge Coldplay fan, but give it a go & who knows, you might like it too…

Goodbye May

Goodbye May. Goodbye to all of your unexpected surprises. The rain, the storm, the sunlight, the misty mornings & tropical afternoons. You could never quite make up your mind, could you, whether you wanted it warm, cold, wet or dry? It seems to me like you, therefore, decided to give us a bit of everything. And in the meantime, you made trees explode into life, you painted the grass the brightest shade of green, you swept clouds across the sky & flowers across the street. It was beautiful. It really was.

Goodbye Dear May, thank you for being so lively & wondrous. Your days have been colourful, challenging, rewarding & memorable, all in one. At times, you amazed me with your ability to combine such a range of emotions into one single day or into one single person. But you did. You left me feeling proud some days. Worried & anxious on others. ‘Not quite sure’ on the many days in between. During your restless days of spring, I learned many new things & rediscovered old abilities. I got lost in the pages of a book, I found my thoughts entangled with the lives of others.
On sunny days, I wandered through the newly decorated forest, marvelling about nature & how it always takes its course. On wet days, as I felt rain drops slide down the warm skin of my back, I decided to stop avoiding the puddles & started to look up at your wonderfully wild skies instead.
Packages arrived, prints were delivered, songs were sang & memories were made. I took a train, a bus, a boat, a bicycle, my shoes. But sometimes, I didn’t move at all & watched time go by without me. It moved so rapidly, hardly taking notice of me & my old fashioned daydreaming. And as I stood there, witnessing time & all its frantic passing, I was relieved to discover that I can still pause whenever I think I need to.

Goodbye May. You leave us in a world unchanged. A world were so many are still left to fend for themselves. A world were decisions are made, but no solutions are found. At times, I can’t help but feel disappointed. Disappointed in myself for my inability to take a stand or make a change. Disappointed in the facts and the figures & more than anything, disappointed in the seemly narrow margins of our human compassion. At the same time, I refuse to give up hope, refuse to give up on the idea that we’ll pull through somehow & will able to look back at these troubled times with a sense of achievement rather than shame. I hold on to my own soul & my own kindness with all I’ve got, because I realize, now more than ever, that it is all I’ve got. And that it’s worth more than I could ever imagine.

Goodbye, sweet May, thank you for all the beauty you gave me. Thank you for giving me 15 years with my dear, beautiful cat. Thank you for all her wit, her cuddles, her bright eyes & her stubborn nature. Thank you for bringing the swallows back to fly speedily pass my window & nest above my head. Thank you for all the words; spoken & unspoken. All the thoughts & all the wondering. Thank you for health, for love, for life & all those other, slightly sappy, nouns we tend to take for granted.
Oh, and yes, thank you for white asparagus, thank you for red strawberries & dark chocolate ice cream. I’m leaving you now, June has already started & the days are flying by. Time to wrap you up and say goodbye. Thank you for everything & I hope we’ll meet again!

Love, Naomi

Book: ‘Room’ by Emma Doneghue (Beautiful, very impressive book, which will leave you wondering for days after finishing it)
Series: How to get away with murder & E.R
Movies: The Broken circle Breakdown
Songs of the month:
Frail love – Cloves
The Fast Lane– Milow
If I needed you – The Broken Circle Breakdown
99 red balloons – Sleeping at last (cover)