• Mathilde Fongen

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

Last week you gave me a lovely one. We were sat on a stone on a mountain about 1200 meters above sea level having a short break when a herd of reindeer ran across the moss below us. The wind was still, the sun was shining through a thin sheet of cloud and the only noise we could hear was the trampling of hoofs. It was one of those moments when you can't help but smile and you don't want it to end because experiencing it makes you feel peaceful, alive and happy. Then a group of walkers appeared over the hill, the reindeer ran out of sight and it wasn't quite as quiet any longer. We carried on with our walk, which was a beautiful one, and the day went on.

I should have worn walking boots. Hike responsibly!

I have a tendency to savour moments just a little too long, and in that way spoil them. This is clearest when there are drinks involved. Whether it's beer, wine, tea or coffee, I tend to leave the last sip past the point of enjoyment. The beer will go flat, a crisp white wine will go warm and the coffee will go cold and bitter. I so desperately want to cling to the moment that I extend it to the point where it loses its magical moment-ness.

The nature of a conversation, as well as a moment, is that it's fleeting. It's temporary and it passes just as time does. Some are longer than others, some are deeper than others, some get to the point where your bladder warns you its about to burst before you stop and just like the aforementioned drinks, I cling to a good conversation. They often walk hand in hand with drinks, so it isn't all that surprising that I drag them both out too long, a little too often. (Thank you to anyone reading this who puts up with my rambling!)

Social media (well I suppose photography, but social media by extension) has given us the ability to capture moments. I suppose poetry had the ability to do this before, and to some extent drawing and painting, but not quite in the way that Snap Chat and Instagram do now. We can film them, photograph them and share them instantly. Of course this steals us away from them and poses a question around how engrossed in the experience we are able to be with our smartphones blocking our view. There is a beautiful side to Social Media that is often overshadowed by its ugly counterpart; the sharing side of it, the connecting side of it, the community of it. I'm able to see what my family are doing every day despite living in a different country and that is such a wonderful thing.

We carry on capturing and sharing regardless of what it takes away from the experience, but once in a while I'd like to think I can just savour the moment for what it is, live in it as it's happening and not worry about showing it to everyone else. Enjoy it with whomever I'm with, even when that's just me. Sharing can be beautiful, but it has a self-destructive underbelly. It has a way of tearing us out of the picture we're in. I'd like to think that I can savour these moments while accepting that they pass. Respect them for what they are and finish the drink while it's still enjoyable. As has been said so many times before, life is made up of moments, so I'd like to live mine as it's happening instead of hitting pause, rewind and repeat all the time.

Dear moments, thank you for teaching me the value of change and the importance of your fleeting nature. And thank you for letting me enjoy you while you last. Maybe I'll snap a photo to share how lovely you are with my family and friends and I might revisit you in photos, but I'll try to be better at being present for what comes next, after you've gone.

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  • Mathilde Fongen

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

This weekend, I went to a wedding and was reminded of how much I love celebrations. Whether it's a wedding, an anniversary, a birthday or New Year's Eve, I love the clinking of glasses, pausing to toast life's milestones, major or minor as they may be. I suppose that could be my unquenchable love for wine talking, but I do find these moments to be truly beautiful. They can be seen as breaks from ordinary life, the exception to the rule as it were, but I like to think these special occasions are part of our ordinariness.

New Year's Eve is just another page of the calendar, but since it's the last page, we mark its significance. A birthday is much the same, just another day of ageing, another page, but to think that 26, 33, 79 years from this exact date, you arrived on this planet, that seems like something well worth celebrating. It's a New Year's Eve party a few years ago that sets the scene for one of my happiest memories. Safe to say, the next day was a difficult one. I stood on the grass on a hill in a party dress, surrounded by my friends, singing Auld Lang Syne out of tune, spilling bubbly on the ground as fireworks lit up the sky. I remember feeling completely at ease.

That's the feeling I normally get at some point in any celebratory setting, that feeling of perfect contentment. I'll stop, look around at the gathering of people and soak in the atmosphere. I soak in how beautiful it is that all these ordinary, amazing humans have come together, dressed up in their finest clothes and filled their glasses to the brim to toast whatever it is we're all there for. A lot of us may be strangers, but for that evening we share a dance floor, we listen to each other's stories, catch up with old friends and make new ones. We clink glasses. A wedding becomes the ultimate accumulation of this joy as it doesn't get more beautiful than the act of gathering to celebrate two people vowing to love each other forever. I know I'm being entirely naive here, but I can't help it, because in that moment of celebration, nothing else matters.

So on Saturday I stood with a view of this city I love, the sky bright blue and joy filled me to the point where it threatened to leak out in tears. There she was, one of my oldest friends in a long white dress, smiling wider than I've ever seen her smile. Now, after nursing our hangovers, we carry on living our wonderfully ordinary lives until we meet to celebrate again. These moments are ours. These are our stories being written. So here's to the clinking of glasses!

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  • Mathilde Fongen

Updated: Aug 1, 2019

I've been thinking about significance lately and a few days ago, I got a message from a friend. She wrote "The world's a huge place. We are just a tiny voice [...] but we're allowed to have joy, and that's really all we can do, to be our most joyous selves so that others can become happy, too." Reading this, I realised that writing brings me joy and that's really all that matters. Playing music brings me joy, and that's all that matters. And maybe it can bring other people joy too, but I think I need to bring me joy first.

I love star gazing and I find Astronomy fascinating, regardless of how little I know about it. Sitting on a plane, looking down on the tiny houses and the tiny cars zooming along tiny roads below, makes me feel at ease. These things boldly underline my tininess in the grand scheme of things and it's something that should throw my anxiety levels completely out of whack, but no. Having my tininess highlighted in blinding neon yellow makes me even more aware of how massive I am. To the world, I am insignificant, but to me I am the most important thing. Without me, there is no me. Well duh.

I'm also important to others, who in turn are important to me. They too are tiny humans, only we see each other up close, so to us we are giants. That goes for this blog too, I suppose. It's mine, so even if it's just another tiny speck on the blogosphere (do people still use that word?), to me it's the one that matters the most. And my music, hidden away in the masses of music that exists. To me those songs are on top of the playlist. There are songs that only I can write and stories only I can tell and creating them brings me a joy that's beyond what I can manage to describe in this blogpost. That joy is vital. And it's massive.

So if we focus on the joy these creative endeavours bring us instead of the crippling anxiety that comes hand in hand with that joy, we don't risk not writing that story or singing that song or posting that poem because of everything else that exists in the world or the thought that it might not be good enough. That joy is reason enough to just get on with it, and we never know who that joy might spread to.

In our insignificance, we are important and in our tininess we are giants.

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