The path I never took

I think it is a well-known phenomenon; you miss your bus and take advantage of the extra time to wonder if it will mean something. I know that I might not make my appointment in time; possibly, I will have to contact someone. But how much does it mean. Could it be that I am failing to meet the person, who will say exactly what I need to hear in order to finally seize world dominion and get some things straightened out, or the someone who makes me realize that it is the right time to begin roaming the country roads and please stay there? Is it the bus, the missed bus, which will make the sky fall upon my head? In any case, if I could see everything from afar, what then made me change my course, was it coincidences of assumedly little importance – like the bus, that bus –or was it the things I would point out as being important, because I had made an effort and been aware about the importance of everything concerned. Is it perhaps both? Or doesn’t it matter at all whether it is an either-or or both at the same time, because I am still so very willing to be involved in everything – in life – no matter what.

I do not know if I thought along the line of anything similar on the day, that I am going to tell you about. But at some point in time I thought something alike, and it was probably that kind of thoughts, that was at the heart of my decision to go and investigate that path. You find me walking near the Brabrand Lakes just outside Aarhus. I have been walking there quite often in the past five years, and I am at the beginning of my trip and walking along a main road. 400 meters ahead a freeway bridge passes over the road, and that is where I have to decide what route I want to follow into the countryside. I always walk on the left side of the road on my way out, and on the right side, I see the first cluster of houses in the local suburbia, followed by some shrubbery by the side of the freeway bridge. I have of course noticed the opening in the shrubbery, but I am quite sure that it leads to the suburbia, a common fence against the noise from traffic, so I never bothered to look. However, this day I am particularly indecisive regarding what route to take, and I decide to cross over the road to peek inside for just a moment.

There is a narrow path and soon after a stream that glitters. I follow the stream and it lies in shades at the bottom of a small gorge carved by glacial meltwater at the end of the ice age, there are old trees along the slopes, and the highway is in rumbling competition with the chuckle and roar of the stream. A major discovery I think, a pocket universe, and where the enchantment for some might be broken by the noise from the freeway I sort of think it enhances it. The place has been hiding beneath it. Later I look at a map and see that the stream goes underground after about 800 meters by a couple of houses – Odinshoej, but I have the feeling that I have been moving much farther when I surface there, and more than three hours has passed, when I finally push my head out of the shrubbery and squint into the sunlight again.

The pictures shown are from my first two trips into the gorge. I wish that I could understand that water. The way it passes through the landscape, moves around stone and branches and stays in its stony bed even though it is liquid, in currents that I cannot seem to grasp the beginning of. It is only a small stream, but the water is immense when you look at it close up; it has the volume of a mighty river. Cool and clear between the fingers. It looks back. Movable.

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