Nightride Norway

June 2018

I’ve been thinking a lot just recently that sometimes, really I would rather be dead. And wondering about my years and the life I have left and just how limited I am by my weight.

But then I think of Ben and others whose lives have been taken too soon and I think of Poppy, Edward and Molly and I know that I do not wish my life away, just wish my angst away. For my life is not about me but about those that follow on after me. Sometimes I feel I live the inevitable and ultimate sacrifice of parenthood, I exist only for others.

Not clever enough, not pretty enough, not kind enough, not polite enough, feet not small enough, not slim enough, not quick enough, not strong enough, not good enough, not enough sense of humour, not coordinated enough and I could go on. These not good enoughs have stolen my life. For years I have owned, whilst trying not to own, these not good enoughs and yet I find myself still chasing them, walk with them burdening me.

I walk with those too fast. They say ‘I really enjoyed that walk’ while I endured every moment, only enjoying the fact that it is now over. I swim with those too fast and at times am excluded, not fast enough. I socialise with those who sometimes want more of me than I can give and I berate myself, not friendly enough, not generous enough, not enough, not enough.

This morning I stop my ‘not good enoughs’ and begin to practise gratitude and search for areas where I do feel ‘enough’. My brain knows that in my totality I am more than enough yet I constantly put myself in other peoples measuring jugs and find again and again, not enough, not enough. So who am I? What am I?

I am wild enough, I am adventurous enough, I am secure enough, I am strong enough, I am independent enough, I am safe enough and I am free enough. No, I am not free, I am nearly free enough, I need to let go of all those ‘not enoughs’ to be free and to finally, be enough.

 

Remembering: June 2002 High Plains Norway

The dusky midsummer midnight light has been with me for several hours. No vehicle has passed me in the last hour, I have begun to think I must sleep somewhere. I am surprised to see a bus stop, I must be near habitation, it seems as though it might be shelter enough for the night yet likely to offer little comfort and I am somehow loathe to pause in my journey. I feel strangely calm, yet on edge, safe, yet not quite safe.

My forty sixth birthday is in two days time, I want to be home for my birthday, I have no flight booked and the airport is as yet over six hundred kilometres away.

Once seen, the bus stop wont be unseen and as I approach, I cross the road to assess its potential. Small, too small, I would not be hidden, nor sheltered, too exposed, too much concrete, too tramp like, too vulnerable. I return to the other side of the road, decide to stop walking, this is the closest I have seen to a bed for an hour. I will wait, sit here for half an hour, wait, just wait. I will listen then walk and hitch if a car comes along. I always think walking-hitching looks so more purposeful than stationary-hitching. I will stay here and wait. I set a limit, if I find no lift by two am the bus stop will be my bed.

Cool and still, with a hint of sweet scent in the air, the trees around me are welcome after four months in treeless landscapes and arctic wastelands. It is mid June. Yesterday, aboard the Hurtigruten I crossed the sixty six point five degrees parallel north marker and my heart skipped a beat.

For four months I have lived in Arctic wilderness and in that tiny moment, seeing that small marker in the ocean, I decided my journey was over. I decided to head home, to head home. I had embarked on the ferry well inside the Arctic Circle with a short journey ticket and no plan. The ferry stopped at port after port but I stayed on and stayed on, risked being caught ticketless, hoping a plan might develop. I found no plan but with it, no urge to get off, no idea where I wanted to go other than to head south. Until that moment, that moment when we crossed the sixty six point five degree parallel Arctic Circle marker. My heart said, get off, go home. So I am.

I am not on major transit routes, I must use small country networks to reach main roads. My road twists, winding and narrow. I sit on the verge and realise the air has become chill and I begin to feel a little afraid of nothing, afraid of everything, afraid of myself. I am further South than I have been for months, dusk is darker than I am accustomed to. Will it darken further? Will night arrive?

My mind wanders. What is this journey? Why did I decide not to take the advice of the one from last lift who ignored my request to stop, drove on and set me down in the middle of a town telling me it was not safe to hitch at night. For what reason did this enrage me sufficiently to find the bus station, pay for and catch a bus, as far out as it would take me, back towards the highway?

I want to go home. I have lived in Arctic Tundra I do not belong in a hotel box room in town tonight.

A noise. I stand and walk towards the lights that now approach, I smile and hold out my thumb hopefully, being sure to give the driver a good opportunity to assess me. I smile and cock my head slightly quizzically to one side, make myself look taller, respectable, a little pleading, but friendly, try to make myself look interesting having tucked my backpack out of sight. A deep navy convertible roars to a halt, a soprano and baritone sing loudly from the console and I smile and say hello, introduce myself, make my request.

My backpack emerges from the bushes. I sit in a sports car at two in the morning with a congenial, intelligent man beside me. My accountant companion has been working on an end of year audit and is heading home to his loved one, soft top down and loud music to stop him falling asleep. He welcomes my company and we talk.

Warmth from the heated seat surprises me for I had not realised I had become quite chilled. Wind ruffles my hair as we speed along with heaters and opera on full blast. I close my eyes and for a moment I smile and I become Lucy Jordan when she found her forever:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6VRTC9VHRo

The Ballard of Lucy Jordan

 

The morning sun touched lightly on

The eyes of Lucy Jordan

In a white suburban bedroom

In a white surburban town

As she lay there neath the covers

Dreaming of a thousand lovers

Til the world turned to orange

And the room went spinning round.

 

At the age of thirty seven

She realised she’d never ride

Through Paris, in a sports car

With the warm wind in her hair

So she let the phone keep ringing

As she sat there softly singing

Little nursery rhymes she’d memorised

In her daddy’s easy chair.

 

Her husband, he’s off to work

And the kids are off to school

And there are, oh so many ways

For her to spend the day

She can clean the house for hours

Or rearrange the flowers

Or run naked through the shady street

Screaming all the way.

 

At the age of thirty seven

She realised she’d never ride

Through Paris, in a sports car

With the warm wind in her hair

So she let the phone keep ringing

As she sat there softly singing

Little nursery rhymes she’d memorised

In her daddy’s easy chair.

 

The evening sun touched gently on

The eyes of Lucy Jordan

On the rooftop where she climbed

When all the laughter grew too loud

And she bowed and curtsied to the man

Who reached and offered her his hand

And he led her down to the long white car

That waited past the crowd

 

At the age of thirty seven

She knew she’d found forever

As she rode along through Paris

With the warm wind in her hair

The wind in her hair

 

This moment was meant for me, meant just for me. I breathe deeply and draw it inside of me.

I am in blissful awe and this moment will carry me through the rest of my life.

TP 7.06.18

 

Original song and lyrics by Shel Silverstein but the version by Dr Hook became a favourite in my thirties and was probably instrumental in helping me end my marriage.

Perhaps I want this played at my funeral.

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