A few months have passed since the last instalment of the Viking Saga has been written, and to be sure, Lyskväll seems like a lifetime away, a distant memory of my love affair with the north of Scandinavia. Life has interrupted my dreamy existence, where fresh air and tranquility had become the norm and this troubled, flawed and yet beautiful drama that is our world, intervening, as I always knew it would, rocking me on my foundations once more.
This has been a year tinged with sadness for me personally, and most of my Swedish friends; with the deaths of Caroline, in the Netherlands, and most recently, Anders, the brother of my dear friend Kjell-Arne, in Sweden.
Anders was a gentle and kind man, with a wonderfully dry sense of humour in the Swedish way. He lived his life with great courage having endured cancer for many years, and his passing has left a huge hole in the lives of his family and friends. I feel so privileged to have known him and indeed to have been befriended by the Hollmo family during my sojourn in these northern latitudes. Without them, I doubt whether my Saga could have continued as long as it has.
The passing of Anders and Caroline has drawn me into reflection on the nature of friendship and its fluctuating quality. Sometimes one makes a friend only to find that they weren’t really there at all, and had an agenda to try and change your nature to fit with their own expectations, despite the fact that it was your very nature that brought them into your life in the first place.
Alas, this year has seen the termination of two relationships involving such a ‘friendship’, two people whose loyalty I had over estimated, one of whom could have become special, and the other, with a preference to projecting all his bile and poison onto me, someone who only wanted to listen, and help. In the past I have been forgiving, patient and tolerant, but there are times when one has to realise that there are beings who can pray off one’s kindness and grow opulent on compassionate energy, which is abused and tainted.
This sailing life is a little unusual in that I am transient and therefore fiercely independent, as one has to be to survive. When a friendship begins to blossom, there is a tendency to let one’s guard down and allow the heart to entertain all manner of possibilities. To live with courage through the heart, one must trust and take the risks to open up, and even a Viking can be vulnerable at times!
Friends come and go in all our lives, and I am privileged to have some very special ones. A true friend will always be there for you no matter what. They will respect and honour what is sacred, special and unique in you without trying to manipulate and change you. There is never any guarantee about tomorrow but if I have learned one thing in this crazy old life it is this:
Value and cherish your friends for you never know if it may be the last time you ever see them…
The equinox came and went and in the past few days here in Liverpool, the coming Autumn has finally introduced herself with a distinct drop in temperature and cascading leaves, whipped up by the Irish Sea’s sou’ westerlies. Winter is on its way, for sure, and with it my thoughts turn again to dear old Free and Borka in Sweden and the very special folk who live there.