Skip to main content

A bridge in Skansen & a lesson from Reindeer

In his book, "Sweden: the Secret Life" Colin Moon states:
"Swedish women sometimes sound like they are have a breathing complaint, when they agree, they breathe in and say 'jahhhh' .... They are not about to pass out in an asthma attack. They are just participating in the conversation." p.32
There is some truth to this fact, but it does not always come in agreement- it seems, and
It's not only the women who do it, though it is less common for men.
Collin gives no explanation to this phenomenon
But today, I think I know its root
(a non-scientific explanation)

In Skansan
We arrive fifteen minutes before the Museum closes,
"You can't walk into the houses," says the boy in the booth, "but can stay in the park till 7.30"
I remember yesterday at Sturekatten: five minutes before closing, and look what happened when I stayed ...
I go in along with two friends.

Up a hill, we meet a couple of windmills; on the side, a labyrinth.
My friends had never walked one before, so
We walk it- but only one way ...
We take a short cut coming out, and
No angry bolt of lightening strikes us.

Rules can sometimes be broken, and
"You don't always have to do it the way it's been done before"

We emerge and wander off, each on their own, naturally
And there I find myself .... sitting on a stone on the edge of the road, writing ...
Behind me, a canopy of trees and ponds; two bridges, maybe three
No one is here but me

The sky is cloudy and I do not have an umbrella
I've left my flip camera at home
My phone is running out of battery
Nothing to film with or record
No one is watching

When no one is there .... who do you perform to?

I balance on one foot
There is still no one in sight ....
This time, I do not stop myself from dancing
Even if someone sees me,
they'll probably think I'm part of the entertainment,
"there's always something happening in Skansen."

How much one worries "what will people think!?"
But most often, they are not even aware of one-of you-of me.

I do not know how much time has passed,
but the sun is setting, and I have taken my time in crossing
Things are clear
I emerge from the forest and a Peacock traipses up the road - it passes me by-fearless,
I'm just another duck on the street.
If this scene was in an Arab country, the bird would be scramming
Plucked feathers is likely!
I am no self-hater, but only say what I see .....

I head up North to see the houses of the Sámi
I pass Reindeer ....
"Did you know" the sign on the wooden fence tells me,
"Reindeer are the only species in which both sexes carry antlers"
Now that's a lesson in Gender Equality!

I pass the animals, and find myself in a garden with a statue of my friend Linneaus
He holds a flower in his hand, and a leaf from a tree
Someone has placed a purple lavender-like flower between his thumb and finger
It does not smell, I leave it there

I walk out of the park - but not the way I came
I fall into another park, with a white Swan arching its neck into the water
An old man with a camera stands-by for the perfect shot
I see the reflection of lights in the pond,
I gasp 'Jahhhh'
This has been recurring for two days ...
Where is it coming from?
Why ofcourse .....
It is passed down, from the people who came here long ago
Around a corner, down a hill, they were taken by the beauty - the majesty of nature
They inhaled to take it in ... They gasped ...
But with time, people forgot why it was done
And it just slipped in conversation.
Du tysta, Du glädjerika sköna!
No wonder Swedenborg lived here!

The sun is gone
I reunite with my friend without much effort, three hours later
We sit outside the gates of Gamla Splan & toast a glass of red wine

I take the bus home, and as soon as I get off at my stop,
The rain drops start dropping
Perfect timing
Ten minutes later in my room ...
I drink pomegranate juice and eat olive tapenade
It's pouring outside
May it pour in Jordan.



Popular posts from this blog


The wind doth deceive me and your voice I hear in the tree shrubs Possessed am I with your eyes They pierce my womb and into earth's core I fall to your embrace عشقٌ وجنون Smile to me For you I set my eyes on fire With the lashes of your eyes Hide me in the wallpaper So I can stay near you Unseen

Challenging Tradition in a Traditional Society #1

There are some traditions that are worth upholding, but many have collected thick layers of dust so opaque that we can no longer see what was once beneath them. We mistake the dust for the essence, incessantly complaining about a'raf and wajibat, the rights and wrongs of our forefathers...but we play along to avoid ridicule and choose the chains of cowardice, prejudice, and misconception. Ignorance. I am not saying that all traditions are outdated and useless-far from it, in our Arab culture are jewels and treasures, and I am the first to call for preserving them. But let us stop for a moment and consider what we are heeding, rather than following blindly like grazing sheep. Sheep and goats: I am reminded of kindergarden and a song we learnt in school. The teacher would walk around the classroom singing: Ya Ganamati . And we'd respond: Ma Ma . ...Ghannou waraya : Ma Ma ..and so on and so forth. Very endearing, but also very telling. We grow up, Ma Ma-ing until we reach the

The elections: A short lived drive ....

Disclaimer: I'm paraphrasing and making generalizations. "Voting is not a right, it is a duty!" I sign out with a slogan, to later realize that I missed the registration deadline and therefore can't vote, neither 'present' in Jordan nor 'absentee' in the US. My political naz3ah came too late. "Nonetheless," I told myself "I'll still follow up on the local campaigns, to learn about the political games." But overnight, and as the landscape of the city changed, I was completely turned off. My political naz3ah did not last too long. At first, I was entertained by the ludicrous slogans, photoshopped pictures and contrived smiles. It made traffic bearable, and even amusing at times. Some confirming the unspoken divides and others playing the religious card; slogans with questionable connotations, and my favorite, "nothing to say". I take my hat off. The woman jabat-ha min il-akher. After all, it's all B.S., so m