As I predicted in my holiday posting, I returned to Svanholm in time to celebrate Sankt Hans and the summer solstice. This year’s sojourn at my home away from home will run until the end of August, when my sister-in-law will join me for a couple of months of travel in Germany, Italy and Spain.
I will be gone from Saint Paul for a mere four months, but as I crossed my threshold at the Great Northern Lofts and turned out the lights on June 16th, it felt like it was going to be a long time before I would pass that way again. Intellectually I know that four months disappears in an instant, but emotionally I feel a stronger tug this time. What is the anchor pulling on my heart? It is clear that over the past seven or eight months that I have been home in Saint Paul my friendships within the Great Northern Lofts have deepened. I will miss our Chocolate Thursdays, our sibling dinners, our book club discussions, and our third Friday social hour. I will also miss ushering at the Fitzgerald Theater, where I have been privileged to experience a wide variety of entertainment, from Prairie Home Companion to Kerri Miller interviewing author Erik Larson to the Wits comedy program.
I note another difference this time around…I am in a relationship with a man I met online. After a couple of false starts with others, I have been dating John since January and we are a good match. Not only does he like museums and theater as I do, but he also loves languages and staying fit. Fluent in German, he often speaks and writes to me in that language, forcing me to exercise that part of my brain. And he is currently in Norway, taking a six-week language course at the University of Oslo. We will meet up in Norway at the end of July and travel back to Denmark so that he can experience a week of life on the farm before returning to Minnesota.
It has dawned on me that there is something else drawing on my heartstrings and making me a bit more reluctant to stay abroad so long this year: BOTH children are on the other side of the Atlantic from me! One of the special things about my Danish experience in previous years has been the proximity to my daughter and while I won’t for a moment lament her return to the States, I will miss her presence this time around. By the by, I traveled to Los Angeles twice this winter in order to spend some time with both Bryn and Dane. It was an added treat to stay with my friend Mark and meet Brian, Bryn’s love interest.
Well, I arrived at Svanholm after Cows’ Day and it nearly killed me to miss the event this April, I do love it so. But my sister had waited patiently for two years for me to stay home and partake with her in the St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour. I have to admit that while it was no Cows’s Day, the tour was fabulous. Over the course of Mother’s Day weekend, Barb, her fellow Michigan potter friend Joan, and I visited all seven studios and enjoyed the work of 53 varied artists. Here you can see us with our loot.
After a week and two days at Svanholm, I can report that all is well with my world. It has been marvelous to reconnect with friends here and return to volunteering in the big kitchen. It is almost as though I never left, although it has been nearly a year since I was here last. The passage of time is easily seen in the growth and maturation of the children, who are as precious (and precocious) as ever. There have been a couple of physical changes, the addition of a giant chess board in honor of a member’s 70th birthday, and the addition of chickens complete with a hen house, for example, but the vibe remains unchanged.