Tanya's blog

It arrived from China with exponentially spreading global fear, powerlessness, and people fighting for life. It was called a Corona virus pandemic, threatening humanity world wide. During this imperfect time I am aware of its influence, directing my life during periods of tension, constant stress and fear of an unknown invisible enemy--my life changed. It changed maybe forever? I felt like a robot, mechanically doing my routines, household chores, usually in the morning, inwardly trying to direct my distressed thoughts toward an imaginary positive outcome. This new impermanence of an unknown duration is eased by listening to music, soothing my vulnerable soul. In contrast, to my normal previous world, I busy myself, hoping to “stabilize” my inner fear and anxiety. These attempts are rather trivial like cleaning diligently, putting things in place, washing my hands longer than usual; organizing old papers, books, my linen closet, exercising on the docks beside the water from time to time…. These tasks become enormously important, keeping me in control against the invisible enemy in our deteriorating world and the unknown finality of dying. My attempts at defeating this uncertainty seem futile against a fatal viral illness but I felt somehow that the human machinery will win in the end.

Ordinary events continue like a kaleidoscope of life pictures in different colors. This time is an imitation of living and enjoyment of life as it was before; before this invisible, fatal enemy arrived from the East. The power of an unrelenting enemy daily elevated our growing dread. We asked ourselves how to conquer anxiety and fear, and how to find a way to escape this dangerous enemy. Our reality is fear, filling us with vulnerability and feelings of loss of control in our lives; loss of health, life, close relationships with people who mean so much and especially family who live on another continent. We were thinking that maybe the only control we have is not to react with fear of this invisible, deadly enemy but to gain knowledge to fight against its invisible power. This was the grain of hope that we wished will grow.

Confined at home--we played chess, listened to music, connected with our bodies and souls in the hope of finding a world with sunrise and sunsets with multicolored displays of beauty. One day we went for a boat adventure on a beautiful sunny day. We let ourselves fully enjoy nature surrounding us. We listened to waves crashing against our boat, looked at flying birds; the seagulls, pelicans, watched herons sitting on mangrove branches we passed. The sky was blue with a few cotton soft clouds and we were happy trying to forget our reality in those moments. We saw dolphins jumping in the bay as the wind was blowing my hair, I felt a complete freedom in my body and soul.

We remained ourselves that life can be fine and fearless again.

Tatjana Webster, April 2020

St Pete Beach

...December 2015 and I am back in Sweden with my husband. So much has changed over the many years. People who touched my life are no longer here. We all went in different directions. Memories return as fragments of my old life, as fleeting moments caught in time. Walking the icy streets, snow is covering the park beside the road, with the barren tree branches reaching into the cold gray winter sky. We can hear the chattering of blackbirds as they flap their wings, trying to keep warm. Webster and I have been here many times over the years. We walk along the Linköping streets, reliving our trips from the past, different times and different seasons. The novelty of being in Scandinavia at Christmastime has brought us here. It is a cold, deep winter in Sweden, long hours of darkness. It is the opposite of the summer midnight sun. For a brief time during the day, life is shrouded in a gray-blue light from the northern, winter sky, and soon night engulfs the streets and descends over the city. Then, the magic happens as warm light coming from street lamps and windows pushes back the darkness, filling the world around us with a joyful glow. Somehow, even in the bitter cold, warmth seeps into me. People are moving about, going about their lives, and they seem to be enjoying themselves in the winter wonderland....

...Then my neighbor, Brigitta, approached me and said something about her concern for me. I was standing there on the pavement, obviously distressed. She asked, “What happened?” “I’ve lost everything,” was all I could say through my sobs. Brigitta somehow found my dog, but I never found my husband. When Birdie and I came back home, the apartment was empty. A month later, he came back and started placing labels on furniture that he thought belonged to him. He placed a label on Birdie and took her with him. I didn’t know who I missed more, my dog or him....

We survived the war, living on soil where we were not able to put down roots. We lived without being fully accepted by the people around us. My parents were from different regions of Yugoslavia, different religions and we now had a foreign last name. Rejection was our personal prison; our emotions were
buried deep inside us. At the same time, looking back to that period of our lives, not having roots helped us to move forward faster than others....

He was my first love: a tall, thin man with intense eyes and black curly hair. We met when I started Medical University and one day he invited me for ice cream and we started seeing each other. He was just a year ahead of me. With a twinkle in his eyes, he told me that I was his inspiration. He wrote a poem calling me “squirrel.” His love was intense. It was a hot summer night in Belgrade, and the trees of Kalemegdan Park shielded us from view. The scent from the flowers and grass under a dark blue night sky full of stars was mixed with a young girl’s expectations of becoming a woman.

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…I met him at a time when I was ready to live out my fantasies, ready to believe in love, and ready to dream of happiness. Christian was his name, and now I look back and see that love came to me unexpectedly. Maybe it was a love story, or maybe it was because I had time to heal after divorce.

He was an engineer from Copenhagen. I attended a medical conference in New York, and we were both staying in the same small Manhattan hotel. During breakfast, our eyes met across the room, and a spark of unexpected happiness took flight in my soul....

...Being with him was like living for short periods of time surrounded by soft walls of sunlight, happiness, and desire. It was a time of healing and self-discovery; something new in my life. I will always be grateful for our time together. We went for long walks along the shores of the Baltic Sea, made no demands on each other, and were not afraid to express ourselves in a way that I never had before....

I remember Papa carrying me on his shoulders in the park where there were ponies. One day, I wanted to ride, but Papa knew I was afraid of the animal's power. I recall him saying, “Ride only if you can feel a connection with the horse. If you are afraid of the pony, he will be afraid of you.” Our time flew fast that afternoon; the day was beautiful, with the branches of the green, tall trees in the surrounding forest moving slowly in the warm breeze, the grass scattered with yellow flowers. I remember how safe I felt on my Papa's shoulders. It gave me a feeling of flying high in the air. After a while, Papa sat me on the back of the pony and we somehow connected, or maybe both the pony and I were afraid of disturbing the harmony of the moment….

I found my path in the roar of the North Sea,
I found my leaps in the mist of English fog,
I found my leaps in the winter of the North,

I found my leaps in the country of new dawn.

Sometimes, I felt abandoned, alone in the New World,
sometimes I was led by my faith,
sometimes I doubted my search for unknowns,
sometimes I would err,
sometimes I walked blindly into the fire,

without spoken words of my desire.

Many times I asked the sky to be able to fly,
to help me enter the world of my desire,
to help me find leaps of unknown,
to open flowers of the home

to open gates of my inner self.

I will honor you with petals of my flower,
I will honor you with remembrance of your soul,
I will honor you with writing, apply your words and trying,

turn page and go forward.

Tatjana Webster, St Petersbug

January 2016



Tales of the Leap