30 July 2011

hate is not the answer

Bano Rashid was 18 years old and had many plans and dreams. She wanted to become a lawyer and a member of the Norwegian parliament. For the upcoming local elections in September 2011 she was standing as a candidate of the social democratic party. On 22 July 2011 she met her role model Gro Harlem Brundtland on the island of Utoya and they had a lively discussion. A few hours later Bano was shot dead by an extreme right-wing killer. 
With her Kurdish parents, Bano had come to Norway as a refugee. 
At the specific request of her Moslem family the memorial service was held in a Christian church attended by an imam and a priest. Her mother said at the service: The answer is not more hatred but more love.

29 July 2011

it's hard, I know

the world tickles my heart

Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. 
It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart. 
You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world.  
You are willing to share your heart with others.

Chogyam Trungpa

28 July 2011

After the hottest May on record and the stormiest June on record we are now seeing the end of the coldest and wettest July on record with the forecast of a heatwave starting Monday.
I cycled home through lashing rain, which seemed to hit me from all sides and a steady trickle was running down my back through a hairline crack in my raincoat, soaking its way through my shirt and down into my jeans. 
Now the sky is a glorious pink, the rain has stopped (obviously, now that I'm home) and I have burned my gums with the hot tea R has made me.
I have been thinking of my mother for days now, a jumble of memories and ghosts and shivers down my spine. It is 13 years now since I saw her last. Only that time she was so zonked out of it she did not recognise me at first. My sister stopped me from running out the door and eventually persuaded her to remember that she had two daughters. She tried to hold it together the next morning and brought us for lunch to the restaurant on the corner. She was very slim, wearing a purple woolen dress and silk stockings, did not touch any of her food, instead she smoked one fag after another and bit her nails. We hardly spoke. 
I know there are good memories somewhere. But not these ones. But I think I must make the effort. Maybe. Tomorrow.

23 July 2011

I made a really elaborate cake for my birthday man this year, all chocolate, pity about the weather, all rain and cold winds. Last night I watched a stupid talk show where a Zen master did a short meditation demo with the round of guests including a nasty comedian, two Sikh taxi drivers, a food critic and an Italian actor famous for a series of silly ads for instant coffee. Weird. Just be here, no striving, no rushing, he said and then someone coughed.

14 July 2011

after the first hour

The dusty path endlessly ahead of me, deep forest to one side, the lake sparkling down a deep slope to the other. The sun is hot and there is a high wind but I don't mind. From time to time I break through a dense cloud of minute flies, sneezing and keeping my mouth shut, blinking to clear the eyes. 
On and on I follow the rhythm of my legs pushing the pedals, the wheels crunching along the dry track. I am humming my breath tune, my cycling mantra.
Around another bend, the track goes on and on and look, here I come and I am moving along, I am flying. I am laughing. My tears run backwards into my ears. I punch my fist in the air and shout to R, this is the life, look at me!

09 July 2011

away we go

Tomorrow morning after a lazy Sunday breakfast we shall pack the red bag and load the bicycles in the back of the car and we will pretend all is normal because the cat smells a rat as soon as I lift the shampoo bottle from the bathroom shelf and we will let down most of the blinds to make sure the house stays cool and the cat will start biting my heels at this stage while I tell her reassuringly that H will take good care of her as well as the tomatoes and aubergines in the greenhouse and then we will probably remember some last minute stuff and run back and forth for a bit and then we'll be off for a week because longer could spell disaster for R and his garden. Oh, yes, we will also pack the telescope because we are going to the hills and the lakes, the nature reserve, away from roads and city lights and we will cycle a bit and swim and at night we will look at the stars.

08 July 2011

and now what?

Resting on my comfortable sofa looking through the window into this clear evening sky after a brief shower, birdsong, the this-is-summer aroma of the flowering buddleia mixes with the smell of rain evaporating from the hot patio stones, and while I am licking my spoon after I finished a bowl of organic yoghurt with - would you believe it-  rose blossoms, the voice on the TV tells me that 12 million people are threatened with imminent starvation in north east Africa.

06 July 2011

tail wind

Well, first of all he paid up. Surprise. Surprise. And with most of the money I bought myself wings, my wonderful new set of wings. A pedelec is not a little scooter or whatever, it is a bicycle with a little electric motor that is activated while pedaling. It feels like cycling with tail wind. When I switch off the motor it is simply a snazzy trekking bicycle.  
And it's so, so liberating. I am back on two wheels and my mind races and I am thinking of all the trips we had planned: crossing the Alps, continuing on along the Danube from Vienna to the Black Sea or the one we were about to start when I got sick, from the Rhone glacier in Switzerland to the delta in France - or maybe only as far as Geneva.
But that's dreaming.
I am dreadfully nervous, afraid of overdoing it. And I am knackered at the end of a day with only 20 km done.