Seize the day

You can feel the air temperature slipping gradually down these days. A month ago when we arrived in Sweden the days were warm and sunny – enough to swim in Alnängsbadet, a small man made lake down near the river, not far from the lock. The few days we spent in Dalarna, north of here, at the summer house, were bright and clear with some storms in the afternoons, and we swam in the lake at Våmhusbadet, where it is so shallow that it takes 100m of wading through the crystal clear water on a the orange sandy bottom before you can actually swim.

The thunderstorms have gradually subsided and now when it rains it is steady, soaking rain, with a watery grey sky, which remains for a day or two before the sun peeks out again for a few days. Yesterday it drizzled most of the day, with the temperature hovering around 14 degrees. But this morning the sky is clear again, and the air is sharp and refreshing. The weather report says that the weekend will be clear and that next week will see a return to summer conditions. We will see… But autumn cannot be far away, even though there is not much sign of any colour apart from green in the trees around Brickebacken, here where we live.

Maria’s parents, Marianne and Leif, are heading for the summer house this afternoon, “to cut the grass,” Leif said. The real reason of course is that Orsa breathes new life into them, and they go there at every opportunity. The clear air, the feeling of being on the edge of the wilderness, the saga like vistas out over the lake and mountains: bring an “up-ness” which is hard to achieve here in the city. We are envious, of course, but for now we will stay in town and perhaps we will go to the park or play some minigolf or try a swim at Alnängsbadet if the weather keeps its promise. It is relief enough that the sun is shining, and by this afternoon hopefully I will not feel underdressed in my shorts and t-shirt, which I put on in faith this morning.

It has been a normal week. School goes on for the kids and their Swedish is coming quickly. Maria has put a lot of time into organising the kids, to plan dance classes for Hanna, sport for the boys, piano lessons (which she has not been able to find yet). I called the Swedish language school yesterday and it seems unlikely that I will get in before October. I plug on with Biostatistics for a few hours every day, hoping vainly that it will come more easily eventually. Maria has been putting together a resume to give to prospective employers…

We have wondered at times why we are here. How did living in Sweden ever get into our heads? No job, no place in the society, only a few friends, none of our usual securities to fall back on; we feel a bit lost at times, and a bit sad at all we said goodbye to in order to come here. It often seems we have given up more than we have gained. But it is an adventure, as my brother Stephen reminded me yesterday, and there is not much adventure left in the world these days, at least not for a middle aged doctor established in general practice with lots of commitments and responsibilities. Suddenly I find myself free from a lot that has weighed down on me for some years now, and there is the excitement – and the anxiety – of not knowing what the future holds, but dreaming about all that it could be. Only time will tell what becomes of it. Will we succumb to fear of what might happen, or will we take the experience with both hands and shake everything we can out of it, with love and laughter? We must “seize the day,” as they say, reassured in the midst of it all that we have a Father who cares for us and guides us through it all; and that would have to be the greatest comfort that we have to hold onto right now…

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