I never feel as far away from my previous life as when I look at the stars at night and all the constellations are turned around. It’s the only time I feel lonely, or distanced from my friends and family over there. It’s a cliche, but the vastness of space really makes you think about your own existence and the enormous insignificance of our being. We think we’re so much, so big, so smart, so important…and yet…we are so small and the fact that we are here means nothing, absolutely nothing.
I remember one of the first nights after we had made the move from Sweden to Texas; we stayed for a few months in a little cottage out in the Hill Country outside of Austin and one evening we came home after another day of job hunting in the city, I parked our newly bought van (newly bought, not new) and turned off the engine and when we stepped out, the sky was just overwhelming…I had never seen so many stars in my life and I remember just standing there for several minutes feeling a wave of emotions washing over me. I felt free, I felt lost, I felt as if everything was too late and anything was possible. I inhaled several deep breaths and looked at the milky way and the millions of stars until my neck was hurting.
I spent a big part of my previous life playing music. I started a band, we did pretty good and we toured a lot around Europe, mainly Germany, but we did trips to Norway, Denmark, France, Holland and the UK as well and many times, as we stopped somewhere along the way at some gas station somewhere in the middle of nowhere, I would look up at the stars and it always gave me that same feeling of being far away and yet so close to something… I have memories of night skies in Berlin, walking hand in hand with my girlfriend, now wife, in the middle of the night after a gig on our way to the hotel. I remember night skies in New York and London and in Flensburg when it was cold as hell and I was missing my wife.
I remember taking a leak in a dark forest somewhere in Germany on a stop in the middle of the night and the birch trees were pale under the clear sky and out of the blue I got images in my head of German soldiers hunting somebody down in the 1940’s. An eerie feeling came over me and I hurried back to the van. I remember being 14 years old sitting on the roof of my mother’s house on a warm summer night, feeling all grown up and small at the same time…
All these nights…always the same feelings welling up inside me, 14 years old or 42. It’s the same.
Here in Santa Fe you can see the stars much clearer than any other city I’ve lived in and every night when I let the dogs out to potty in our little front yard, I look up at the sky and I imagine my father halfway across the world looking up at the same stars and I wonder if he thinks about me. I kind of like the idea that he does.
Here’s a picture, not of a night sky, but skies all the same…a cool disc cloud making it’s way across the sky before disappearing in the dark of the night.
“Untitled”, color pencil drawing on paper, 2017.