torsdag 2 december 2010

The Northlandic Strain

Sweden is divided into three parts: Götaland in the south, Svealand in the middle and Norrland in the north.

As for myself I live in Norrland. I live in the county of Angermanland by the Bothnian Sea. And some 40 years ago I was born in the county of Lapland, situated inland and to the north-west of Angermanland.

Both Lapland and Angermanland are northern provinces. They are both part of NORRLAND. Now this Norrland is a mythical part of Sweden just like Scotland of the Bristish Isles or, say, Texas or some other rough-hewn part of the U. S.

I'm a Northlander. "En norrlänning" as we say. And many Swedes from Göta- and Svealand wish they were Northlanders. They envy us our Biblical erudition, a classic trait here: archaic tales of Northland farmers citing the Bible ever and anon, that's a fine heritage of ours.

Example of Svealand people wishing they were Northlanders are the poet Gunnar Ekelöf and the sculptor Anders Åberg. The former wrote some poems about the log cabins, the rosy hue of the winter evenings and the waves beating the shores of the Laplandic lakes. The latter, Anders Åberg, was born in Stockholm but moved to Angermanland some years ago, starting a cultural theme park called MANNAMINNE. It's got old buildings, a tramway, a museum etc. It's a life-size piece of art, mirroring the wooden objets d'art of a more manageable size that made him famous in the first place. One of these are to be seen at Arlanda Domestic Airport ("Inrikes"), showcasing the nearby town of Sigtuna in a pillar of wooden houses.

Anyhoo: Mr. Åberg fell in love with Norrland and then moved here, and now he's a local hero. Mannaminne is a focal point for culture and goodtime, for "believing in your heritage" and all that, a fine mix of traditionalism and modernism, built log by log by Mr. Åberg himself. I must go and visit that Mannaminne some time. Website here.

So how shall I conclude this? Well, as an illustration of my Northlandic strain I might give you a poem about my Laplandic creed, called "My voyage". It's got some references to Carlos Castaneda, a great traditionalist in his own right.

My voyage began in the heart of Lapland
among drumming noids and yoiking saamis.

I danced to the rythm, sang to the northern light,
praised my creator and began my journey.

I lived among the flowers and the trees,
I read about gurus past and present,
and skimming the shelves of fantastic libraries
I found the Book of Books.

It was about a man in the moon
who flew with crows, talked
with lizards and danced with Zacateca.

He jumped into an abyss, listened
to the flowers and talked with
a coyote. He was human.

The voyage continues. In the misty Andees
there is a beverage called "the black gold";
I have drunken it - and I have seen the promised land...

I'm just a human - I'm just a human -
I'm just a human - I'm just a human being...

Every day I brew some of that fluent gold
on my Brewmatic, and dream of condors
and eagles, silver crows, and giant butterflies
with golden dust on their wings.

My collection of Castaneda books dwells safely
on my shelf. The Laplandic sceneries of my youth
is always with me. The black gold is still worth seeking.

The voyage continues...

(Picture from Mannaminne with a trolley car in front of a Angermanlandic threshing house)

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