the secret garden

On the weekend Martin and I spent a sunny Saturday morning at a "loppis", which is the Swedish word for a secondhand sale that can vary from a shop setting to closing down the town centre and everyone bringing out their goods to sell. In this case it was at a neighbor's home, which is a bit unusual, but as they are moving there was lots of goodies to be had.
We scored some fun things and good deals, and best of all was the stack of English children's books we brought home. Definitely not the usual finds. Amoungst the books were quite a few children's classics, including Swiss Family Robinson, Charlotte's Web, The Wizard of Oz, Stuart Little, and best of all, The Secret Garden.

I devoured The Secret Garden on Sunday and early Monday morning, finished the last two chapters over fresh bread, butter, honey, and coffee loaded with cream and sugar. What a treat of a morning! What a wonderful book and I will be reading it several times a year for the rest of my life. It is mostly set in the English spring, and to be able to go outside afterwards and work in my own garden with only the birds and bumblebees and sunshine for company was such pleasure! The daffodils are poking their heads up and crocus' and snowdrops and "vitsippor" are blooming in colors that just tease the winter blues right out of you. (If it's even possible to have them with the coming of spring!)

I have never enjoyed spring so much as I have since moving to this little place, watching and tending and labouring in the dirt and grass, and seeing God's "Magic" stir and bloom. I want to build my own stone wall and secret garden, but that may have to wait. For now, I can content myself with delight and imagination, and reread that wonderful book when my own inspiration runs dry.


rocking chairs and stone hedges

Monday, 7:31 a.m. The spring sunshine is already warming the front rooms of the house and I awoke to the singing of birds again. I have a million plans of how to spend the morning, but what is feasible? Digging up soil for transplanted raspberries maybe unfitting labour for a woman who is now two days overdue. (Wouldn't be a major except for Småland's incredibly rocky soil -- digging usually means building a stone cairn beside your flower or vegetable garden.) The bathroom also needs to be cleaned, but that would be a terrible waste of a beautiful spring morning.

Had a really relaxed and enjoyable weekend filled with things that I love. We had Martin's parents for dinner Friday -- the coziness of spending relaxed time with family over the dinner table and my mom's recipe for lasagna. Martin and I managed to squeeze in some secondhand shopping on Saturday, finding a beautiful, well-constructed, unique rocking chair that has a certain character, even amongst beautiful Swedish rocking chairs. Baby Asparagus will hopefully enjoy being rocked to sleep in it.

Sunday we took a drive to the neighboring village of Skirö, enjoying the hilltop fields and fantastic display of human effort, the classic Småland stone wall. I have said it before but these walls, although picturesque and amazing to behold, are symbols of a nation's sufferings. The sheer magnitude of clearing fields of these massive stones, hauling them, and constructing them into kilometer-long, meter-wide and high walls seems unbelievable. There is no doubt that Swedish farmers were/are amongst the hardiest and most determined in the world.

Our ultimate destination was a cafe and boutique, set off in the "boonies" and run by a bosomy, warm woman who I want to be hugged by. She bakes in her kitchen set off the little shop, and brought us tea and raspberry soda, with soft nut torte and lemon cake. A really lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Sunday night we watched a moving and sobering film set in Rwanda in the 1990's, Shooting Dogs. This is one worth watching, not exploiting the brutality and violence people suffered, but still depicting it's horror. It tells the story of a faithful priest, and reflects the profound and inexplicable love of God in an unimaginable situation. It was filmed in Rwanda in the places it portrays and involved of many survivors of the genocide. Wikipedia: Shooting Dogs

Now, 8:01, and my breakfast-hunger is becoming urgent. What will be brought about this week? I was saying to Martin the other night that each day feels as though we are on the cusp of historical change -- our lives will be unimaginably altered with the birth of our child. And yet, every day is like that. The significance usually escapes me -- how each action and word is driving us on a course of change and the inability to go backwards.


long way from the heart

An unusual last five days in our house. Easter weekend consisted of Martin taking ill on Friday and staying ill until Monday. It's pretty rare that he gets sick and although we squeezed some enjoyment out of the Easter holiday it was generally very crappy for him. We did make it out to (finally) see Avatar in 3D one night, although it was probably unwise as he was worse for wear afterwards.

I got to thinking over the time of his sickness, observing my general abilities as chief nurse and bottle washer. I honestly hope that my sense of compassion and tenderness increase, because I really have to work at it! Of course, when I am sick, I want my mommy and I want to be cared for with the most tenderest affection, waited on hand-and-foot. When someone else is sick my inner voice gets going, I veer towards irritation and frustration, and just want to wave a magic get-better wand. I have the greatest respect for a good nurse.

There are times where someone will hurt themselves and all I can think is, "oh, suck it up!" My dad had a classic line when we had relatively minor injuries: "It's a long ways from your heart." It's actually a pretty good line when you break it down. I will definitely be using it when appropriate. I can't stand mollycoddling or babying. It's good to be able to hurt yourself and get up and try again. But I certainly hope that, as with many things that develop in a person with parenthood, that my tenderness and kindness as a nurse increases.