August 2, 2012
Letters from Scandinavia #4: Soundscapes of companionship
Photo above: Jetties on an island just south of Åland Island’s capital city Mariehamn
Hundreds of demanding, crying, and eating toddlers made the ferry passage from the Swedish mainland to the Åland Islands a nerve-wrecking challenge. My thinking was curtailed, my writing impeded, and my reading of Haruki Murakami’s short story “The Last Lawn of the Afternoon” proceeded without any of his words touching my soul. All I could think of was this book by Anthropologist Stephan Helmreich in which he suggests that soundscapes are not merely byproducts but very much part of our knowledge production. His observation seems an apt description of the moment I found myself in for the duration of the ferry ride.
This maritime interlude, however, doesn’t really do justice to the wonderful time I had while hiking the Roslagsleden from Norrtälje to Grisslehamn and lounging on the Åland Islands. On both occasions I was joined by my friend Mathew from Chicago. I can’t imagine a better companion on both journeys and I highly recommend exploring both places with others and not alone.
Coffee, cinnamon role, cupcake, and other delicious pastries at a coffee shop in Grisslehamn, the end point of the Roslagsleden
The Roslagsleden trail near Norrtälje