musings on “I see fire”

I’ve been in love with this song ever since I heard it on the radio for the first time.

For the last few days I’ve listened to it so many times I lost count. Somehow it struck a chord deep inside.

So here are the first few thoughts on it. I hope to get around to writing a more coherent post, but this will have to do, and I need to get some of these thoughts out before I can return to my term paper. It’s really hard to concentrate on Swahili phonology when big thoughts on life and dreams are expanding in one’s mind, you know? Randomness ahead.

  • Freedom. Wilderness. Travelling. Adventures. I long for a life outside this buzzing city, because here is no horizon in sight but houses everywhere. We live in a world full of predictable dullness, buying digital adventures, buying what we believe will be the next step to happiness. Consume until you die. I need to breathe freedom on a glorious morning. It’s summer and I long for autumn already, even though I know the autumns I dream of are long gone. There is no golden harvest among hills for me, no gossamer on brambles and old wagons on hazy afternoons. I crave wilderness, pure and simple. I crave for people feeling the same craving in their guts, their bones. I feel old when talking like this, but I can’t help it , and I don’t want to change this last bit of old ways tingling in my still young body.
  • We need to stop and cherish what we’ve got more often. I started reading “The Felloship of the Ring” last week and noticed I tend to skim across the longer poems instead of savouring the words. We know we can get another book, another story, another video. Everything is at our fingertips, and yet it leaves us empty because we forget how to taste each word as if it might be the last poem we’d hear in a long time.
  • Companionship. Who will stand at your side in times of great need? The 300 facebook “friends” you barely know? Maybe, because I haven’t yet lost all faith in humanity. But I know only a handful of people for whom I’d endure hardship without hesitation, at whose side I’d willingly fight because there is trust and true friendship. At whose side would you wish to die? Solemn question, I know, but it might reveal something.
  • We’ve had a long time of relative peace, and our generation doesn’t have a sense of purpose. We long for adventure, somehow most of use at least have a subconscious feeling that consumerism isn’t all there is to life. If this was different all the big movies about heroes changing the world and fighting the darkness wouldn’t be such a hit. They strike a nerve with our generation. The Hunger Games are part of it, just like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. So many movies about war, about heroes, about young or old people rising up to find a better way. Young people like me didn’t experience war inside our country, and therefore we can romanticise war and rebellion. Or maybe the dullness and hopelessness, the helplessness when meeting shapeless opponents like the breaking away of democracy, politicians being involved in corruption, people telling the truth being branded traitors, all these might be the turning point where we understand that freedom comes at a price, and that fighting in the flesh might feel more heroic? I don’t know. I’m just as lost as most of my generation are when it comes to this. All the movies we watch, all the games we play – they tell a story of their own when put together, maybe you can see what I mean.
  • Magic. Down to earth. I see religions either breaking away or turning into mere ideologies. We’ve become selfish and believe we can do it on our own, but then why is the esoteric market booming? Maybe because most classic religions, especially Christianity, are community based. Maybe our love for movies with groups of heroes achieving something together is a way of expressing that we still long for community, a silent way of admitting we can’t make it on our own. Faith is a journey. Conceptual metaphors.
  • Simplicity. Lightness. The simple living and minimalism movements are but one sign of a generation being overwhelmed by the riches and consumerist good we try to fill the emotional void of peaceful times with. We are chained to a place by what we own, and tell ourselves that travelling would be uncomfortable without them. Secretly I wish for a time of need, a collapse of the system, to justify leaving behind all the pretty stuff nobody needs, all the books full of lores just useful for times when basic needs are more than met. I wish I could travel and seek adventures without thinking about saving enough money for when I’ll grow old.
  • Songs and books and poems. Choosing a few pictures to share instead of hording thousands of them. I wish I knew more people to share stories with. I don’t mean writing novels just for the sake of it, I mean casting fundamental human experiences in ever new forms. When was the last time you looked out of the window and felt like bursting if you didn’t share the moment with someone? Recently I saw an evening sky with such magnificent clouds I tried to call Darling from my cellphone so he’d look outside and see them, too. Sometimes I have to write a few lines or even two pages in my small journal because a moment is so special. Sometimes it comes out as free verse poetry, sometimes just a jumble of single words mixed with doodles, or a random flower finding its ways between the pages, a new connection made to a song, a picture, the past. If for my birthday I asked everybody to bring their favourite book or poem to share with the others, would they laugh or would they be glad to be given the chance? If asked nothing but beautiful words for a present, who would dare to write a poem about clouds, grass, wild horses, and living to see a different time? Who would just write the dutiful mumble of wellwishing engrained in phrases hollowed out by thousandfold use, mixed with praises not wanted? And how am I to tell people that my native language is not always the language of my heart when it comes to poetry? A friend once asked me why I blog in English. I don’t want everybody to know which country I’m from – I’m a world citizen, and don’t want to be counted to a single community. I want to talk to people from the other side of the globe, because what counts for me is the closeness of thoughts. I want my thoughts to be easy to be read by whoever feels like reading them, wherever you might be. English is the closest thing to a world language we have right now. English has a beautiful, powerful ring to it when used right. Shakespeare’s iambic pentameters? Yes please. Sometimes there are sentences or whole poems in my native tongue or other languages which touches me in that way as well, and these occasions make me happy. I know songs in my native tongue which I wouldn’t like to sing in a version translated to English, and vice versa.
  • Brokenness, tears, despair, imperfection and yet so perfect, because bitterness is part of life. The best poetry is written in either ecstasy or utter darkness. I can’t write when life is fine, okay, bearable. Torn clothes tell a story, the ones you bought just yesterday most certainly don’t. The simple shirt with a funny saying on it given to me by my mother is worth a thousand new expensively branded items, because she bought in somewhere on a trip for herself and wore it there in a  country where I’ve never been myself. One day when I’ll be old and wrinkled I tell people that each line around my eyes equals a moment of joyous laughter. Sometimes I feel closest to someone when they open up and tell me about their darkness. Not with everyone, for certain, but the handful of people close enough for me is a beautiful bunch of perfectly imperfect beings, broken and yet not giving up. Buildings, too. I like beautiful ruins. Reminders of splendour and greatness, not yet forgetting, still being admired long after craftsmen, kings, and stewards died. I wonder if anyone lives in the broken back house I can see from our roof, but not from the street. Seeing its broken walls, the old stairs, make me want to fill it with plants and lanterns and music. I crave a homely place, somewhat clean and organized and well planned. but imperfect enough to tell a story about the ones who live there to anyone who might walk by.
  • Urgency and errands that matter. Being send to do something of importance. Not feeling useless, a replaceable cog in society’s clockwork. Celebrations that matter. If everyday is filled with luxury and consumption, how to celebrate in a way that says “this is important”? And how to find a reason to celebrate if everything is well planned, well met, life well filled with daily success and everlasting youth? If we had less, then each day, each gain would pose new chances for something big. If you can’t talk to all your friends daily, then meeting them once a year becomes an occasion for much more merriness (though I’m happy for all of you who have all their loved ones living nearby). One meaningful letter a month would be more to me than a banal instant message every second day. And here the circle of less is more meets again.

That’s all for today. A mountain of clean laundry is waiting to be conquered by the reluctant queen of sloppy folding. Hooray. Whatever.

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