Monday, September 26, 2005

Danmark, du har mit hjerte

During our first week here we were warned not to fall into the common patterns of reacting to a foreign country, one of which was to abandon one's own nationality and want to become as Danish as possible. I'm struggling with that one right now.

This weekend I was on a school trip around Denmark, which was my first real sight of the countryside. Copenhagen is a beautiful city and I love it, but if you really want me to latch on to a place show me the farmland. Something about it gets to me no matter where it is. Driving past the farmsteads like gold and white islands in their fields of dark plowed earth, sitting on a rock by the harbor in Ålborg watching the sun set, standing by the sea at night with the wind whipping the waves up onto the rocks, it all would have inspired a love of whatever country it was in. But the fact that it was all in Denmark was like the difference between a parent seeing a picture a random 5-year-old drew and seeing a picture their own child drew. The farmhouse in the middle of the green fields under the sun would be beautiful enough on its own, but it gets at me even more with a solar panel on the thatched roof. The cows in the fields make me smile even more with the wind turbines wheeling in the background. The fact that it's all in this sweetly egalitarian place makes it shine.

It made me want to sing patriotic songs, but I don't know any Danish ones. The closest I could come was this, which is the closest Quakers come to patriotic songs. I can't ever be anything but an American, so I won't try to change it, but it made me wish I had been born here instead.

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