June 26th, 2006



On my mother's last day here we spent a lot of time in the car, a lot of time in the sun and a lot of time laughing and playing with things. We got up relatively early and we drove away into the sunshine. An hour north found us in the green, green woods of the Wanås castle grounds. We wandered through the old stalls and barns, now scrubbed and whitewashed and turned to gallery installations, and then out into the sunshine and the bright translucent green of the beech leaves high above us.

Since 1987, Wanås has been an outdoor art and sculpture park, with new pieces installed every year, including ones by Maya Lin, Janet Cardiff, Ann Hamilton, Monika Larsen Dennis, and a full roster of international names. One of the first pieces you see after parking the car is guaranteed to make you gape and then chuckle: tree jeans. (go on, click it!) Later, we see one that has a distinctively masculine bulge right at the crotch of the tree/jeans. Is that a knot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Not being very attracted to very modern art, some pieces left me cold. But there were many that elicited warm smiles and thoughtful pauses (go on, click 'em!). One piece, titled Solarium, consisted of 5 body-shaped chaise lounges made of wood with bamboo-stick covers set in a circle in a tall clearing of beech and oak. A woman's voice, low and lulling, spoke in measured cadence from loudspeakers hidden in each seat: a soothing, musical story of her stay in an open-air sunlight therapy center. We sat there for countless minutes and if we'd not felt the pull to continue discovering the art that lay around the next bend of the paths, I think I could be lying there still, gazing up at the sun-speckled canopy of green.

We swung into the café to choose our lunch: picnic fare eaten at wooden tables on benches in the shade of an oak, rhododendrons towering nearby and the scaffolded castle gleaming off to the side. The white gravel of the drive shone in the sun with diamond glitters. Soaring melodies; a Latin choral poured over us from the installation in the Loft (1 speaker per singer, arranged in a circle) as we ate. Who could ask for anything more?

Only a few hours and we were sun-satiated, so we drove on, drove north, heading for the next attraction on our list for the day: the Kreativum in Karlshamn. Not surprisingly, given the perfect weather, there was literally no one else in the entire museum. During the 2 hours we were there, I think a total of 3 other families joined us. 2 intense and fun hours of experimenting and games. It was a blast! One of the highlights, for me anyway, was the Mindball Game. I sank into a zombified trance and beat everyone else, even Lizardmom! :D Who says a multi-tasking, crazy-busy, full-scheduled, can't-sit-still supermom can't relax? muahahaha!

During the night, sound asleep, my mind suddenly registered absence: the whirring fan that had been keeping a cool breeze flowing over me was silent and still. I pried open my eyes and awoke to blackness and stillness: the power was out. Thunder rumbled and struck, the windows lightened and dimmed again. Heat settled in the room and suddenly I felt I was suffocating. I jumped up and opened windows, stumbled to the kitchen for a drink of cold water from the silent fridge. Ran my wrists under ice water for a few moments in the sink and returned to the stifling bedroom, hoping the power would come back on soon. 45 minutes later, dozing in discomfort, the relief was palpable when the fan suddenly whirred to life again.

This morning we put Mom on the plane home. Karin cried as we pulled away from the airport and I confess to wiping away a tear or two, but as someone told Martin today, if she didn't leave us, we wouldn't be able to look forward to her return. Come back soon, Mom!