Writing my way through the A-to-Z blogging challenge, I’ve tasked myself with exploring the concepts of pronoia (the belief that the universe is conspiring to shower us with blessings), quiety (serenity) and peace – all through the lens of unusual, obscure, or simply delightful-to-me words.
Happy Earth Day!
S is for…
Smultronställe. This beautiful Swedish word literally means “place of wild strawberries”, and refers to a hidden or special place discovered, treasured, and returned to for solace and relaxation; a personal idyll free from stress or sadness.
I’m in love with this concept. It feels like such a nourishing, nurturing thing for one’s soul. There’s a deep deliciousness about it that delights me to the very core.
I feel very blessed to have a number of places I might consider smultronställe. A few of them are places I visited in the past and while likely I may never return again, I do hold them in my heart and visit them often in dreamtime. One is a place at Lake Louise in Banff Canada, where a swatch of wildflowers first whispered to me in the voices of the Devas. One is a special place in Yosemite, where lying on my back in the grass under the Milky Way I had a profound spiritual experience. And one is my grandmother’s garden I knew as a child.
But for an actual accessible-to-me-in-this-moment place, my smultronställe is a spot near the river at my brother’s home. I think bonus points are available because he has strawberries there as well. And of course there is my own garden. But it’s tiny and in a place where neighbors are only feet away it doesn’t feel as hidden and private as I like to believe smultonställe ought be. Still it is a place of sanctuary and delight for me.
In these times of collective stress and chaos, I’m thinking about this admonition from Michael Gurian:
”As our lives speed up more and more, so do our children’s. We forget and thus they forget that there is nothing more important than the present moment. We forget and thus they forget to relax, to find spiritual solitude, to let go of the past, to quiet ambition, to fully enjoy the eating of a strawberry, the scent of a rose, the touch of a hand on a cheek…”
Smultronställe indeed seems like a much needed and thoroughly welcome reprieve. It also has me musing about strawberries.
Did you know strawberries were part of the rose family? That they’re the only fruit with their seeds on the outside? That the ancient Romans used strawberries to alleviate melancholy? That they’re often used in love and fertility magic?
There’s a charming Cherokee creation story about strawberries you might want to read here.
In Bavaria strawberries were once gathered and hung in baskets on the horns of cattle in payment to the nature spirits for healthy calves and cows producing an abundance of milk.
I think any place of wild strawberries is likely to be inhabited by strawberry faeries, and I know a thing or two about them as I have one living in my kitchen.
Isn’t smultronställe a perfect thing for us to consider on Earth Day? Do you have your own place of “wild strawberries”? How are you celebrating today? Have a particular love of strawberries? Do tell – you know I love to hear.