This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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A boat spun from legends

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One courageous, crazy man, his crew, a balsa raft named Kon-Tiki, and 8,000 km across the Pacific Ocean. You’d think that was enough but Thor Heyerdahl had to prove something else, too. So he built another raft, this time out of reed, and sailed across the Atlantic – almost. The Ra I sank right off Barbados. Many would have smoothened it out saying they made it, but not Heyerdahl. He went back, built the Ra II, and this time reached the Caribbean shore.

I stared a long while at the countless ropes and knots that leave the logs and reed ample room to flex but not enough to make the raft disintegrate. It is mindboggling that the Kon-Tiki and the Ra were not built by skill inherited through generations, but by legends, Conquistador drawings of Inca rafts, and Egyptian hieroglyphs. And yet they sailed, further than anyone could imagine.

For Heyerdahl there were no limits, just tools and hard work required to reach the goal, no matter how impossibly far it lies. So why do we waste our time in making limits come to life, when we could use it to reach our goals?

(The Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo; April 2013)


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Parallel worlds; or Saturday afternoon, 2 pm

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One Saturday I found myself walking away from the spring sunlight into a dark maze of living pictures. Room after room offered stories displayed on all walls, voices spiraling down from the ceiling. Fishermen fighting the waves at sea, a woman mourning the loss of her dog, and Death paying a breakfast visit.

So many random thoughts swam in the air, intertwined by voices and moving impressions of our beautiful ruthless wonderful world.

Suddenly I stood in front of a most magnificent spruce growing sideways in the dark, its branches whooshing in the wind. How strange to think of all little lives gone by during the lifetime of a single tree. Which is larger than life, then; our sorrows and loves or the sole existence of an ancient tree?

And I walked back into the sunlight feeling very small.

(Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s collected film works at Kiasma museum of contemporary art; Helsinki, Finland, April 2013)


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Hello sunny Copenhagen!

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After 15 years of layovers at Copenhagen airport, occasional drives through Denmark, and visits to pretty much every other major Danish city, I finally found myself in Copenhagen – with 2 days off.

So what to do? Stroll through the Stroget cobblestone streets; get lost in Illums Bolighus interior design department store; dine at Fiskebaren, an old fish-processing factory-turned trendy hang-out; tour the canals; and squeeze onto the very top of the tapering spiral staircase of the Christianshavn church. That’s hippie freetown Christiania below.

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(Copenhagen, Denmark; April 2013)


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Headspace on the Hebrides

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There is something magical about the stones of Callanish, facing weather and time out on the Isle of Lewis, at the edge of the world. As if the wind has eroded the monoliths so that only the cores are left, the strongest still standing. Sometimes I think this applies to all of us left standing in this windy world.

I read William Horwood’s book “Callanish” when I was about 10 years old. It describes these stones as a center of power, both for eagles and humans; and the long journey of an eagle, captured at London Zoo, back home to the outer Hebrides and to freedom. I still need to rediscover my own source of power but moments of headspace on our beautiful blue marble help with the recharge.

(Callanish standing stones, Isle of Lewis, outer Hebrides; July 2011)