A fog can be a very concrete phenomenon, supposedly something that occurs when warm air meets cold surface or cold air meets warm surface. A cloud that slinks just above the earth instead of floating across the sky. A cloud that you can walk through, while you experience lack of sight and strange perspectives and shapes. This also about sums it up how I have been in existence since the turn of the year and that is why it was a great joy to me, when the fog finally manifested itself physically, giving me opportunity to sprint out with my camera and document – eh – document it.
It is a strange thing, when people die, who in some way have had a recognized importance in world history and who have led lives in such a public way that almost everyone notice when they disappear. Sometimes you nod in a sort of recognition of their achievement with your thoughts directed on the way their names brushed your own life in words, pictures, sounds or decisions. It is with deep respect but nevertheless an easy parting. I was as such not deeply affected when someone told me, that I had been standing on Skodsborg Station going into the wood by Jægersborg Hegn just at the time when Klaus Rifbjerg (a famous Danish author) was lying dead in his apartment in the white housing just beside the station. Meaning that I had passed by his death in the same way his words to some extent had passed me by in life. But you bow your head for the sheer force of their efforts, their presence and their work, recognizing humbly that this was it then. The point in life we all reach at a given moment, when our bodies or mental faculties outreach themselves.
Other times it is like being awoken from some kind of trance. A spontaneous “oh no”, even if you really did not listen to David Bowie for some years and in no way is a listener of anything on a daily basis. It is impossible to know when it will occur. I would have pointed towards Joni Mitchell (who is still alive) before David Bowie, if I was wishing for favorite tunes on one of those nights when I am being entertained with music. But sometimes with the announcement of a passing, it suddenly becomes absolutely clear, that you associated precisely this someone with something very important to the realm, some sort of brightness. With David Bowie it was perhaps a part of what enabled me as a young person to define a resistance against gender stereotypes and the stagnation of thinking of myself as in one shape or one age – that Rikke. Rikken. When I witnessed him the first time, I knew joyously and immediately that I was many too and that I was only beginning to realize who.
One of my metaphysical teachers and favorite authors died in 2011 – Diana Wynne Jones. When I found out I was sitting in my sofa and by coincidence looking at her website. At that time, she had been dead for many months and retrospectively I had seen a note about cancer the previous year, but airily shoved passed it. To my amazement a flood of scalding tears now rained down on the keyboard and my hands. I was deeply sad about it, never again new words and I did not even say thank you! It was one of those moments where everything sort of flips, a notch, before it is back in place again. I had given up the hope of finding a teacher (who would teach me to see and think) many years before that. Instead I had resigned myself, and it was in that resignation I discovered, that they were there, the masters, just spread through centuries and millennia. Time meant nothing, only in relation to how much I could grasp, but their work was lying in front of me, with the pace I needed to follow and the meanings I had to scrutinize. I was astonished by her death, because I realized that there actually was someone contemporary, a significant educator of me, and the least I could have done was send a letter with a thorough thank you, and I had missed that. What did my refound temporality mean, should I look around and try to produce a thank you list to the others who might possibly exist within my own time frame, if only I knew who they were?
A weird thing, is it not? The connection and distance that exists between a person and their work. The person lives and thinks and moves hidden in tempi and constructs within the work, you can always recognize them, if you know them. It is as if they still breathe there and open rooms in which you exist simultaneously in the devotion to an idea, a sound or a picture. The basic untranslatability does not necessarily impair the understanding, even though it must be reckoned with in all circumstances. A teacher can with his or her metaphysical power unfold the world for you, defy time to speak, and send you through a whirlpool, until you stand in the now again, somehow moved. And in some time they existed as persons in lives. An age that is bound, where death has not yet hidden them inside the work. I cannot understand why the presence makes it so indefinitely foggy to me, when someone is on the thank you list I still have not written. But it does.
I must add that fog in windy Copenhagen is not a phenomenon that occurs frequently. Some say that sometimes on an early morning with no wind you can experience it. I would not know, just as I do not know if the fog has emanated from my head alone. I am told that it could also have come from my sister’s head, from my daughters and several other of our acquaintances, who all says that January has been a strange business indeed.
Did I hear anyone say hibernation?