Ends of the Earth, End of My Rope

Arctic Sweden

For the duration of this trip, I’ve been obsessed with the notion of going to Sweden. I had this sweet idea to visit long-lost relatives in Skåne on December 13, as the country celebrates the fairly major holiday of Santa Lucia Day. I’ve been slow to implement a travel plan, due to my own noncommittal modus operandi and the overdue payment from a client needed to fund the trip. Today I learned that the impressive Geminid meteor shower takes place on that very same day, and is best viewed from points north–particularly the Arctic Circle.

If I abandoned this blog post now to traipse down the cobbled, centuries-old streets of Viborg and board a train, then by Friday I literally could be on the top of the world during one of the most cosmically powerful times of the year, under my star sign of Gemini. Why am I sitting here staring at a computer screen when I could be stargazing with the Sami instead?

Maybe I am kidding myself, but I like to think I am cultivating focus.

Friday night—eerily, Friday the 13th—is also the end-of-year party for the animation school where we are currently making our base. I have come thousands of miles to rest amid this community, a place that remains warm and thriving even in the coldest, darkest time of year. Have I not mentioned the Frenchman making the stop-motion pirate film? Or the fiddle-playing Dane who is launching an exhibition on water conservation? (Wake up, Sonny Perdue.) The creative commotion that happens here makes it a very good place for a big reckoning with some of my own artistic goals. Drawn as I am to the star show up north–which surely must be magnificent–I absolutely must concentrate on being right here, right now.

A lack of focus can get a freelancer in a lot of trouble. You’ve no structure, after all—just a business plan (however rough or refined), a network, and a bellyful of instincts. Exercising my freedom has taught me a lot about what is really right and good for me, and I’m sure there’s more room to explore that. But I have slipped now and again and lost my purpose, with interests beaming out in all directions as if I was a prism.

Jolie Holland rips a fantastic tune about the way that following your heart can both lead you through despair and to redemption. Appropriately called “Stubborn Beast”, I think it’s my personal anthem:

“My crazy dreams and tragedies have taken me for a ride
But I can see strange glory on the other side…”

I love a good ride, attling as it can be, but this time I’ll have to pass. My energy is officially on reserve. I’m saving it to accomplish some goals I set last spring.

Do yourself a favor on Friday night: step outside your door and make a wish on one of those falling Geminiid stars. We can use all the help—real or imagined—that we can get.

Thanks to a bit of focus, I have already thought of mine ….

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