It’s 80 meters (263 feet) between me and my next door neighbor. On both sides of the narrow dirt road there is mature forest. Both homesteads are at the west side of the road with open fields facing west so there is plenty of space and light. So, it’s like there is my place in a spot of sun and air, then there is the dark forest followed by my neighbors in a spot of sun and air. Or the other way around.
When I was a little girl I used to walk those 80 meters to visit my neighbors Värner and Alida. To make the trip a bit quicker I took my yellow tricycle. I made that journey every day during the summer, often many times a day. Värner and Alida were very patient with me and let me eat their fresh baked flatbred, that’s what they did for a living. Their baker’s cottage was a magical place of fire, smell and taste, and I was always welcome.
I can still perfectly recall the feeling making the turn from our front yard down on the road. From the sun into the dark shadows of pine and fir. With the safety of mom and dad in the back, and the light of Värner and Alida at the spot of sun 80 meters ahead. Such an adventure!
Trouble & Trouble made that journey all year around when they grew up too. Their mom and dad in the back. Värner and Alida still waiting at the other end, now for their arrival.
Little did I know that stretch more than 50 years later, for me, would again be an adventure. When my back is at it’s worst, I can’t get out of the house. Better days I can drag myself to the first lamppost, which is 50 meters (164 feet). And a good day I might, with much effort walk all the way to Värner and Alida. Although they are not there anymore. Värner died, 98 years old in 2008. Alida just turned 98 herself, and after years of fighting it (all of us) she had to move in to a home last October.
But the house isn’t empty. Poppie lives there now. Poppie is the nickname for Grandpa, given him by his granddaughter Dancy. Poppie is Värner and Alida’s youngest son and his daughter Josephine works for the home care company taking care of me. Josephine is here several times a day, and so is her little daughter Dancy, turning three in a month. So, Dancy is equally at home here and at Poppie’s.
It was May when she first made the trip. Me and Josephine here at my place seeing her off. Watching her run through The Hundred Acre Wood, yelling “bye bye” and waiving every other step. Arriving safely at Poppie’s a couple of minutes later. Only to do the trip in reverse as soon as she was there.
A new world was opened to her! Her leash was suddenly so much longer! She could run between the two safe spots in her 3-year old world! From light to light through the shadows of the woods!
The 3-year old Maria is still very much alive in me. More alive than the contemporary one I would say. So the 3-year old Maria watches Dancy, feeling with every fiber in her body the anxious excitement as she runs between our two houses. Sometimes the contemporary Maria has a good day and can walk with her. And I am as excited as Dancy to be let out, transport myself through the wild forest and land safely at Dancy’s Poppie, the place of Värner and Alida.