One of my strongest experiences was when I and my family drove in a procession this spring, to the chapel where the funeral of my grandfather would take place. It is the custom of the Norwegian countryside, to follow the deceased from their home to the chapel in a funeral procession driving very slowly. Members of the family and closest friends meet up before the funeral and drive together in a long row.
We gathered early in the morning. There was rain in in the air, grey low hanging clouds and foggy. We stayed in our cars, gently waving to our cousins and aunts through the windows. Someone attached corresponding crosses on the car tops. It indicated that this was a funeral procession that belonged together. Finally all the cars lined up.
My sister drove our car, with our father beside her. We drove very slowly. I was in the back seat and I couldn’t stop crying. Not because my dear grandfather was no longer with us. I knew that he was ready, he had already told my father; he was taking a trip. Sweet grandfather.
No, I was crying because I get very touched when human beings cooperate together in an act of respect and consideration, like this day was all about. Oncoming cars not only immediately slowed down, most of them stopped to a standstill until the entire procession had passed by in the other direction. Cars stopped for us over and over during the everlasting drive of 20 minutes. I did not want it to end, and at the same time I had that pressure in my chest.
There are some unwritten rules around this. You must never break up a procession once it has started, i.e. not pull in between the cars that are a part of it. You must also not overtake a procession when it’s driving slowly towards the chapel. Nothing is more important on such a day. No one is in such a hurry.
In the same way my eyes tear up when we in traffic move efficiently to the sides in order to give way for an ambulance. We know it’s urgent, if we don’t cooperate things can get bad. Together we are doing what needs to be done. I instantly move my car, and I see that the cars in front and behind me are reacting just as quickly. Like on signal we know what to do. No one hesitates or sleeps at the wheel, we just act.
I enjoy being a part of something that cooperates like this.
During certain periods, when I attempt to find myself, I usually reach a point when I want to consociate with another person to move things forward. I’ve come as far as I can on my own. This can be triggered by someone telling me exactly what I need to hear; that I have moved them in some way, just then. I find myself feeling moved, strong and proud. No feeling is superior of the other. They are all in one mix and I slightly lift off the ground. Not by vanity, but by this feeling that I need to take myself seriously now and step out of my bubble. I am motivated to continue outside it, to prevent my thoughts to grow dull and boring, but instead to gain new life. Starting a new phase.
My idea is that if I share, then you will next time. That makes two persons contributing with an experience. My own experience might not fit you, but at least you will know that there is someone else out there looking for the answer. Someone who knows that it ain’t all that easy. It is a strenght. It’s not just about me anymore.
Saturday in two weeks is gallery-day; I’m showing my art in Konstrundan together with two other artists. I’m sitting here reflecting on my choice. How straightforward I was about wanting to find a venue where there are other artists displaying together. We are constructing this miniature collective, even though we don’t know each other. Together we want this to become as good as it can. Each of us has our own energy and expression, but in this collective we are making an appearance that might leave the visitor with a bigger experience than if we showed our art each on our own.
My hopes are to become one experience richer, and to make another hole in my courage belt. Perhaps also to gain one or two new friends.