I was shocked and found it an interesting coincidence that I sat beneath it the first time I chose to just be present with all that was growing there, to silently admire the trees and other plants and feel the spirit of the place. The informational plaque beneath it was in Swedish and it took a while to find someone who could translate it for me, but it said nothing about how and why its seed was brought to Visby, and that was my main interest. I’ll try to email and learn more. I found a sibling to Yosemite Valley in a Norwegian fjord and now a tree from the Sierra; so many connections. The fellow who translated the plaque was about my age and walking an old dog, who was friendly and thus stimulated conversation between us. It turned out he’s a veterinarian and spent a couple years in the aughts teaching at UC-Davis and has remained well informed about goings-on in the U.S. He is saddened at what he sees and like me considers the persistence of Trump a sign of national pathology. He had liked being in the country but doesn’t feel drawn back owing to the decay that has broken out. His name is Lars and I could imagine our being friends. (I take it as a sign of approaching departure for home that I’ve not spoken more about that Visby botanical garden. I have to avoid preoccupation with leaving [a combination of dread and readiness] and neglect of the details of my remaining time here. I considered the garden a spiritual treasure and visited it several times even though it was by no means as splendid a place objectively as the one to come in Copenhagen. Part of my neglect of more ample descriptions is that I’m sending some detailed emails to Lynn and Ed and forgetting that only in this Journal will these details be preserved. For instance, in Copenhagen’s Garden I discover not only a Giant Sequoia but the two other species within the genus, Coast Redwood and Dawn Redwood [which doesn’t naturally occur in the U.S.] planted in a small grove and based on size probably about the same time as the Sequoia in Visby.)

Copenhagen Botanical Garden Walk

Tomorrow I drive to Malmo and turn in the rent car and go into Denmark, my last country on the trip. I am ready to get home although ambivalent. It’s been so satisfying to visit all these places and in many to feel so much at home and to know that the odds are I don’t have enough life left to return that to have it come to a close feels wrong in some queer way. I couldn’t and wouldn’t spend much more time in travel mode—it is wearying in ways and I like being settled as I am when I camp. I think it’s just the feeling of losing the connection and its becoming only memory and realizing I’ll probably never expatriate and therefore spend the remainder of my life in a failing country for which I have no respect or affection. I know how to detach and create a relatively closed space around me psychologically and will do that even while staying somewhat abreast of the course of national decay, but the idea of living in a country that I admired and whose ways and people appealed to me more than at home will not evaporate even if I choose not to invest a lot of energy in it. It’s hard to say how much my feeling is an aversion to what I see in the U.S. vs. an attraction to what I don’t have but see in these countries. Obviously, it’s both and probably more or less balanced.



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This