I knew this would come, but I kind of hoped it wouldn’t.
Today’s journey found me in a town called Kotka. It was the last destination I had to check off the list of places Petronella visited around Helsinki before I begin my trek north tomorrow. Tuukka and I explored the empty cathedral, and I noticed as I walked around the balcony that my footsteps were echoing in a beautiful way. Without thinking about it I started to sing, quietly at first and then my voice bloomed and swelled, bouncing off the stone walls, rising to the vaulted ceiling like a prayer, floating down over the heads of the invisible congregation.
“Believe that you will find me, I know, I know you will,” I sang, straight to Petronella. And then I looked at the stained glass window with the dragon in the center and felt connected to the core of my journey for the first time in a long time.
My nine days in Helsinki have been a blur. With dizzying hours full of interviews, meetings with important people, research and exploration, emails, details, and updating the various bits of the internet I’ve figured out, I have somehow become one step removed. This journey is not a media parade. It is not a checklist of scattered places Petronella might have been, or a pile of other people’s expectations. This journey is meant to be Lived. All of it.
Thus, I have reached an intersection. Even though it will likely halt the wave of interest my adventure thus far has ignited, I know what I need to do. Enough is enough. I have turned down two proposals for documentary films, and one newspaper interview. In an unanticipated move, I am leaving my computer at Tuukka’s house for when I return in October. (I will still be updating periodically from the road, but not as frequently.)
The attention and fuss I have received in Helsinki comes from a place of genuine curiosity, but it is stifling at times. I look at the clouds above the house, I feel the breeze on my face, I chase the hedgehogs around the yard and think, “Soon. Soon I will join you.” I tell that to the seagulls, the wooden boats on the ocean, to the hares, to the lilacs. “I am coming. Soon…”
My soul is restless. It yearns to break free from it’s gilded cyber-cage and the searchlights and this warm house with meals every two hours and be alone, be free, be hungry, be afraid, be joyful, be aching, be full.