Text: Ellen Wild
A few days ago, I came home for Christmas. Back to Belgium, that is. A 6-hour drive, a long boat trip and another 1200-kilometre drive, brought me back in the chaos from the European mainland. Two full days of travel from the North to the South. The distance alone made my realize that our world exists in contrast.
Moving away to the fjords and the specific life that accompanied it, came so gentle, so natural to me. Like riding the waves home to the harbour.
Living with the land and the seasons, feels like breathing. The rhythm of life determined by dark and snow, light and mountain wind. In the fjords it feels so natural to celebrate the victory of light. All houses with stars in front of the windows. The air so clean, the stars so bright, enough space for everyone. Here, it is so easy to forget that there exists anything else in the world. Here, all is good. Here, life is healthy. Here, we deserve all.
It is only when driving back to my roots, that things start to feel uneasy, uncomfortable. The slow rhythm of nature is, faster than desired, replaced by a world that goes too fast and consumes too much. Even the cars move faster. We drive past heavy industry and buzzing cities deeper and deeper into denser air. During the drive through Germany alone, I passed by 11 trucks full of chickens and pigs on their way to slaughter. A stopover to their final destination of someone’s happy tradition.
Now I move around my home city, blinders removed. It is so very easy to forget reality when you live in the beautiful North. Too easy to lose touch with the rest of the world. In the fjords, we have the luxury of living in a bubble. A bubble with white mountains and fresh ocean air. But still, we hold many of those same traditions and life habits that make other parts of the world crumble.
If there is one thing, I wish you during the darkest days of the year, then it is empathy. Take away the boundaries between countries, people and yes, even animals. Just like the waters of Antarctica affects the rains in Japan. There is no action that has no influence on all and everyone around you. There is no personal choice that you can contain within the boundaries of your awareness.
So, can we stop pointing fingers and deny others what we allow for ourselves? Can we start to understand that there are no Win-Lose scenarios. Only Lose-Lose. When the earth is hurting and its animals are hurting, then its people are hurting. No matter if you live in the paradise of the fjords or in the chaos of overpopulated Belgium. What you put out, will come back to you in the end. Let it be kindness.