Song & walk (Sång & Gång)
Two small syllables that somehow sums up most of life's journey! The meeting of the earthly walk and the heavenly song, the body and the soul, the physical with the metaphysical. Two simple activities that puts us in connection with ageless traditions in the landscape we walk through, and - in the same step, the same breath - with people around the whole planet. But first and foremost it connects us with ourselves and our path and purpose.
What it is
The song walks usually starts with a few days of getting to know each other and getting a repertoire of songs together. Then we go on tour... Our usually pace is to do about 15-20 km a day often ending with a performance of sorts in some local venue. We walk and talk together, and we eat together, often catered and transported to where we are, and sleep simply together in places like schools or church halls. We all walk for our own purpose but on that journey we realize that we are all on the same path!
It sure was a bold concept that I presented to my friends and workshop-participants in 1994 when we did the first ”Sång i Dalgång” in Dalarna, Sweden; a ”course” covering 24 days, including 250 km of traveling the roads and waterways and 15 concerts!But I could by no stretch of imagination claim that the idea was mine, it was more like a direct angelic intervention, an order spoken - no sung, with a soft gently voice that was impossible to disobey.
I remember my mother’s response to the idea; ”And what happens if it rains?” June – July are not only the warmest months (which usually doesn’t say much given our latitudes) but also the wettest months of the year. I must admit I hadn't thought of that one, and played unaffected. But secretly I went back to my chamber and did the only thing I could think of to compensate for my total lack of foresight; I prayed fervently.
Over 60 participants showed up at the course, and when it started with a week of singing before we trotted off, the weather was what could be expected of a Swedish summer; wet and cool. But by then I had no doubts whatsoever – I had a promise of beautiful weather! - and I repeatedly had to assure my doubting flock this as we rehearsed our songs with the rain beating on our window-panes.
Came the first day of the walk – and with it the sunshine! And it never stopped! As if it wanted to assure us of its happiness and support for our brave endeavour it kept on shining from a cloudless sky the whole walk. The summer of 94 was not only a summer to remember for the metrologists, for those of us who took part in Sång i Dalgång it became a summer that still sings and moves within us and will do so forever.
After a second Sång i Dalgång 1995 a long break followed. On that walk Jennifer walked beside me and that changed my life-path and I left for South Africa, but my longing to take up the walks again did not leave me. We managed to do a walk around Lake Siljan in 2001 included in "Musik vid Siljan's" program, but it was a singular event and it was not until I came to Mundekulla and met Peter Elmberg that the walks became a regular feature of our summers again.
How that came to be is a story in itself.
One morning I walked in the forests surrounding Mundekulla and saw this young fir tree growing in a loop! it struck me immediately: So here you are; our staff! I have been looking for you! And I understood immediately and instinctively that Mundekulla and Peter were the necessary ingredients to get the Song-walks happening again!
The staffs had played an important role in the early walks. The very first one I found in the forest a few weeks before the start of our first Sång i Dalgång. I was "lead" out on new paths that I never before had treaded in Dala-Floda and all of a sudden deep down in the forest there was this newly carved staff, abandoned and stuck in the ground. I took it as it felt like it was waiting there for me and that I had been looking for it without even knowing it.
From then on a tradition emerged that every walk somebody who had played an important role in one way or another during the walk was given the staff to be the guardian of it over the winter.
But when I saw the fir-tree in Mundekulla it had been a long time since our last walk and our staff had been lost and almost forgotten. But there it was again, formed even as a P for Path, and yes, it is the very staff we now use in our logo for our project!
The next time I came to Mundekulla me and Peter went back to the forest with an axe and managed to find it on the second attempt. We cut our new staff and after that it guided us on our walks through Småland, Öland and Blekinge.
And it gave name and became the symbol for our long walk, The Path that started in 2012 from Trondheim and carries on until this day.