28 October 2010

a little bit on language

Since Lotten has been here and we've been speaking lots of Swedish, I've been thinking a lot in Danish. So much, in fact, that it's crept into my conversations, and I catch myself all too late saying I'm "ved at gøre" ("in the midst of doing") something instead of "håller på med att göra" whatever it is that I am speaking of. Maybe Danish is even more efficient than Swedish, and that's how it gets its place in my head. I can't help valuing efficiency. I feel like Swedish is lodged much deeper in my head than Danish - since I spent my time in Sweden living the language 24/7, whereas in Denmark I spoke a lot of English - but maybe my more superficial experience of Danish has left it easier to access. I'm having a hard time recalling a lot of words in Swedish, things like "porcupine" and "cowlick." At the same time, my English seems to be suffering. I keep catching myself misconjugating the verbs in my notes for anthropology.

Linguistics is way too complicated. I want to be a geographer.

24 October 2010


my best friend from sweden is right here right now
asleep on a stack of quilts and felt on my linoleum floor
right next to where i am working
under my fiberglass roof
where the rain is tap tap tapping

yesterday we did all the good californian things
got burritos for lunch
spent an hour trying to get her t-mobile account going
with a new york zipcode and swedish driver's license
and shaved the sides of each others' heads

for dinner we made cookies
while they were in the oven she told me about her rideshare
from austin to phoenix to los angeles
and the hot dog man she left in texas
and we ate the cookie dough and drank zinfandel

20 October 2010

just south of the temperate rainforest

Some mornings 
            I am captivated by the view from my desk window
of birds rustling up breakfast in the creekbed,
or a deer’s silhouette in winter sun.
Other mornings 
            I stand outside with my feet firmly planted
in redwood mulch by the time the ground thaws,
ready with a shovel and bag of loam.
But today
            I drift about, like a lone balloon
vanishing in the morning fog; 
my mind, gossamer.

19 October 2010

this must be the place

home is where i want to be, pick me up and turn me 'round
i feel numb, born with a weak heart
i guess i must be having fun
the less we say about it the better
make it up as we go along
feet on the ground, head in the sky 
it's okay, i know nothing's wrong, nothing
i got plenty of time
you got light in your eyes
and you're standing here beside me
i love the passage of time
never for money, always for love
cover up and say goodnight, say goodnight

home is where i want to be
but i guess i'm already there
i come home, she lifted up her wings
i guess that this must be the place
i can't tell one from another
did i find you or you find me
there was a time before we were born
if someone asks, this is where i'll be
where i'll be
oh, we drift in and out
sing into my mouth
out of all those kinds of people
you got a face with a view
i'm just an animal looking for a home and 
share the same space for a minute or two
and you'll love me till my heart stops
love me till i'm dead
eyes that light up, eyes look through you
cover up the blank spots hit me on the head

my favorite song
by the talking heads

10 October 2010

fall in california

A ripe pumpkin,
raw, split and steaming
in the Indian summer afternoon
three weeks before Halloween
waits to be made into a pie
with cinnamon and cardamom,
butter and sugar.
Its prodigious vegetable spirit
ascends the redwoods’ summit
to commune with the Sunday sun.
If you climbed so high
into the evergreens,
you, too, could bathe
in the last of the light.

Fall in California is different from Denmark, especially when it still feels like summer (this is our warmest time of year). Wasps are dancing, bugs that look like termites (but aren't) jump onto my shoulders, and dragonflies buzz me like insect police. This place is full of life. It radiates. There are beaches full of beach-sitters watching surfers and there is traffic on the one highway in the middle of a weekday afternoon. I don't know what this means. I would love to see more leaves changing colors but the giant squash in the garden and endless bags of apples are indicator enough of the changing of the seasons. The differences are subtle. 

The sun sets around 6:45, I guess. When I go outside in a t-shirt and leggings late at night to brush my teeth and pee, I imagine that in Copenhagen, now, you can't go outside without a jacket, and I shiver a little. I know the cold is coming here, too, but it's hardly the kind of cold that could kill a man left outside overnight. I want to tell you about how California is not all it's cracked up to be - how it's just a figment of our collective imagination -  but Hollywood is so much more convincing.

03 October 2010

It's definitely not summer anymore. October came quickly, on a gust of warm wind of Indian summer, for which I was thankful. During those days it was too hot and everyone was complaining but also smiling. The basil I bought at farmers' market wilted a little during the ride home but not so that it lost its potency.

When I woke up today it was foggy and the fog only got thicker throughout the morning. By ten o'clock just about everyone had left for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the free music festival in San Francisco, but I stayed and got a lot of work done with a buddy at a cafe and also went for a lovely sunshine walk.

One of the things I love best about being back in a smallish town (around forty thousand people - not small to me, but not too big, either) is running into people. In Copenhagen, if I ever met someone I knew in a cafe or on the Metro, it was some kind of divine encounter. Here, though, there are certain places where I just can't help seeing familiar faces, like the market and Caffe Pergolesi. Running into people never fails to make me happy, and it's not so difficult to make new friends, either.

One thing I really miss from Copenhagen, though, is biking alongside friends. Here, the bike lanes are so narrow - and the cars so aggressive - that it's next to impossible to bike side-by-side and have a conversation with your friend while riding. I tried on the way down to town yesterday but between the zipping wind in my ears and cars trying to pass, I couldn't hear a thing Chelsea was saying.

I'm having a hard time adjusting to American school - "college", although it is a four-year university - because I'm not used to having assignments due multiple times a week, and classes at varying times on different days of the week. It seems like I am always rushing off to a class here or wondering if I am about to be missing a class. In between, though, my time is filled with adventures: the forest, the beach, gardens, wineries, Victorian houses, and, of course, my dear trailer park.