Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A pilgrimage of sorts and a dragon

I wish I could tell you that the time gone by since my last post was spent writing. But it wasn't, and I'll tell you more about it later (that cat is just crazy).

But finally things are more or less back to normal, and I started my autumnal semester yesterday with a little pilgrimage to the church underneath my beloved spire.

I am not a religious person. I don't even think I can claim the title spiritual, although there certainly have been times these last few months when I wished I were, say, a buddhist. But you can't choose these things, I suppose, and the sad truth is that I believe what I believe, that goodbyes are final.

Well. This does not stop me from feeling the weight, or even pull, of something spiritual when I enter a beautiful place of worship, or even a peaceful cemetery. Perhaps it is as Philip Larkin wrote,

A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that some many dead lie round.

Yes, I think that is it, an anchor through the dark waters of history to tug you to a momentary stop, where you can't help but peer into the sea. I never see anything in particular, just that it is very deep. I feel the same in libraries with dusty, old books.

So I packed my laptop and climbed the hill I spend so much time staring at, and went into Old Acre Church. It is Oslo's oldest building, built sometime before 1100, with romanesque arches silently bearing the weight of somber, heavy limestone.

I lit two candles for my father, and wrote a prayer note, because what could it hurt if someone who believes in these things whispers his name imploringly. Then I lit a candle for my mother, who is a romanesque arch all to herself these days. And then I lit a candle for my story, as a token for my thoughts and efforts to lift themselves and perform a sorely needed miracle.

And then I walked out into the sunlight, and sat down in a coffee shop and got on with it. Easily!

And then I found out that Old Acre is said to be built on top of a silver mine called the Dragon Pits, and that it rests on four golden pillars, which surround a lake where golden ducks swim, and in the lake there is a treasure, and the treasure is guarded by a dragon, who dug the tunnels of the mine and then flooded them to keep greedy people out. Now, that is something to write up to.


Li:ne said...

So that's why that hill, with the small wooden houses, garden patches and crooked trees always seems somehow golden...

tone almhjell said...

Must be! And it's probably also why I get butterflies in my belly when I look at the spire. It's a dragon spire.

eiv said...

In-spired :)

Peter Føllesdal said...

Dragons, ducks and golden pillars! That is material to write about!

Laini Taylor said...

What a magical place! Sounds like something right out of your story. I'm jealous that you in live in a country with thousand-year-old churches. Here? Not so much. Our house is pretty old, though -- 1924. HA HA!!!

tone almhjell said...

Well, 1924 quite respectable, for a house. Ours is from 1898, and is full of strange gaps and holes between the apartments. Not always so romantic.