by Kirsten Macdonald

The Finnish sure do know how to spend midsummer.

What is this magic? A cabin by a lake, squirrels and tall trees, moss and berries growing wild. I feel like I am getting a glimpse again of home- the other home. I am here creating memories with 2 of my children, a sibling, and Lothario. A Scandinavian dreaming.

Sidestepping again. Why is it when we step aside from our everyday life things bubble up to the surface like stirring mud from the bottom of a bucket?

The sediment settled so long ago on the bottom, and everything above it is bright and sparkly. Then the stir happens and all the crap you forgot about and didn’t want to acknowledge existed rises and creates a murky soup. What on earth does one do with that soup? You can’t drink it, or pour it on the plants- it would surely poison them, or maybe it will go into the soil and help fertilize making the soil resilient and grow into 200-year-old oak trees?

You do not know THEY are there, this is the irritation.

Things that lurk and murk and you didn’t know it. It undoes all of humanity, doesn’t it? The detachment from not knowing, when we find things out, we didn’t know if other people know and we don’t. If a doctor knew you would die and didn’t tell you. When you still had fear buried down so deep, and you didn’t know. A brain tumor, a brain aneurysm. Cancer. Affairs. Lies. A missing body. A lost love. The lost bracelet. It’s what we don’t know that injures our sense of us. I wonder what it is. Are we allergic to mystery or is it desperate FOMO?
We are information junkies aren’t we? We seek truth as the real enlightenment and Google is the makeshift heroin.
It is the fixtures and habits that anchor us to normality and keep the fear at bay. Unless you bathe in frequent faith- that stuff is Vanilla to the ice cream. But it is difficult to be soaking in that all the time. Humanity has that effect.

When the fixtures in life are not in focus, what becomes the focus?

What parameters, what thoughts and observations come into the picture? Each time I sidestep it never feels long enough. A moment longer, a little longer to linger. To hold my own hand and a pen to paper. To achieve something changing and significant. What is this feeling? Discovery and to come back revitalized and with a new perspective. There is such quietness to this place, an occasional bird or child chatting, brothers giving each other wedgies and screaming at each other to stop the headlock. The occasional fart, a passing motorboat and the sound of the lake water lapping against the bank. Quiet + nature = feels. I promise myself as I munch on a croissant and sip my strong coffee (my eyebrows may have just fallen off, and I may have instantly grown a beard, – this shit is strong) that I will no longer wait to leave home or travel to sidestep. I will spend some time sidestepping each day- to savor something beautiful, to hold my pen to paper but most importantly to use a little strainer each day to empty the dirty water gently from the cup, so no bucket stirring is required in a year’s time.

I am thinking ahead, I am thinking of next year.

I am thinking 5 years, I started putting more money into my superannuation. This means my future is real. Perhaps it may be a fixture that lasts longer. Maybe not. Either way, the Finnish need to learn how to make a good coffee. I just looked up across this lake and if you have ever read/ watched The Shack- I am seriously having visions of Jesus walking over the water to pop into the old cabin here for a pancake and a coffee, but I had better find better coffee. I don’t think my Gallelian friend would like Finnish coffee anyway. He’d love the croissants. I reckon he’d laugh at the bum hiccups too. Read The Case of The Exploding Brain 

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