All it takes is a trek up a hill, from which you can see the expanse of land for many miles below you, to make you aware of just how small you are.
Skansen Kronan was once a cannon-armed redoubt allocated with the task of protecting the land from Danish invasion during the 17th century. Now, it is a spotlight above the Haga neighborhood, a pillar for those who wish to feel the gasping winds and see the breath of foggy air embracing the canopies and buildings beyond.
Cassandra – with whom I traveled to Gothenburg – and I attempted to scale the hill twice, not knowing that just around the corner were actual paved trails. We gripped moss-covered rock, overhanging tree branches, and prayed that our shoes were sturdy enough to master the slushy, muddy ground on which we stepped. Such didn’t work out too well – admittedly, we got fairly close once, finding stable ground just behind a building wreathed in graffiti. Then the mud bubbled on the earth before us, and we gave up. Once we carefully navigated to the sidewalks, we spent probably five minutes beating the caked dirt off our shoes.
Upon discovering the pavement trail, we scaled the hill and beheld the most breathtaking panorama stretched in every direction. When I’m that high above everything else, entirely exposed to nature’s unforgiving shoves at high-elevation – for the wind was fierce and whistling, leaving my lips chapped and my hair flinging into my mouth – it’s hard not to descend into thoughts of how inferior mankind is, how useless life is. And yet, all at once, how humbling it is to be a person on this planet, how beautiful life is to give you such opportunities to experience things, how fleeting your problems are, how large and terrifying the world truly is. And yet, it is no larger than your palms when you become aware of such. As you are at the world’s mercy, so too is it at yours.
You can choose to view life through either set of spectacles. Earth is a scary place, full of wrath and unknowns and question marks. But you are powerful enough to make a conscious decision of how you want to view it. Do you want to fret in your home, or do you want to throw a banner to the wind and chase adventure when it beckons you from your armchair? Do you want your fear of heights to prevent you from seeing the view from the top of your personal mountains?
If you are in Gothenburg, I’d highly recommend you seek this lookout in the Haga neighborhood. Take photos, but then just stand quietly and revel in life, in yourself, and all else.
And then, of course, indulge in a hagabulle at Cafe Husaren down the road a bit, which I talk about in this post.
Tell me about a time you climbed a hill – literally or figuratively- and felt refreshed, in awe, or just plain happy because of it. I’ll share some other moments of my own, too, outside of Skansen Kronan.
Of course, I’ll close out this post with a few more photos of the experience.
Take care, everyone.