After that thoroughly delightful urban day, we took a train back to the countryside, this time to the north of Stockholm to visit a friend working on the house she bought—for $40,000!!!! That would get you a corner of a garage in San Francisco.
We had a fun “work day” cleaning out sheds, pulling weeds, moving woodpiles, pulling out nails, treated ourselves to some time at a lovely lake and then had a gourmet dinner at the old Manor House Hotel where we’re staying. They had a piano that was so out of tune that playing the right notes to a recognizable tune produced a whole new (dubious) piece of music. But upstairs was a better one and I got to play for an hour or so while the crew enjoyed their after-dinner schnapps.
Today was a car ride to a neighboring village, a short walk through the woods, lunch at a café and visit to a church. Without the exercise of biking, afternoon napping calls to us and tonight, I’m unpacking my Bulgarian bagpipe to play for our friend’s grandson. Just to say that I’ve played it in Sweden.
Back home, Democrats are debating, the farce at the White House continues (why oh why?), Kevin Durant is leaving the Warriors (why oh why?) and life goes on minus the six Americans touring around Sweden. Walking through these tiny villages, I can’t help but think how much simpler life is for these rural folks. No need to tune into the news each night, no daily outrage or sense of hopelessness or helplessness (or sense of hope—the American wealthy folks who recently suggested they be taxed higher!). Of course, the usual drama of health and relationships and small excitements and disappointments, but everything on such a different scale.
On the other hand, someone like me is acclimated to the grander drama and while the ups and downs are much more steep, I suspect that the highs are much higher and there is something I find satisfying in being in the midst of all the turmoil. I’ll be back soon enough.
And I can feel it in these blogposts. No penetrating insights or poetic grandeur. Just a little bit of this and a lit bit of that. That’s my new day-to day.