In the poem October, Louise Glück says, “there is not enough beauty in the world”. In this dark season it is easy to agree. As it gets darker and colder, many places in the city of Stockholm don’t feel the same as they did before. There are also bigger, more permanent changes happening.
Hidden in a concrete jungle, Tysta Marigången sits silent. At the center of the passage where the high and low parts meet, there is a constant sound of traffic – rising and falling in volume, like wind or waves. Constant but everchanging. There is both stillness and tension in this. A strong sense of being alone. A comfort in the passing of cars and whirring of fans.
There are not many people here, the clearest signs of life are given by the birds as they sit and rest on top of the empty shop windows, safely behind pigeon-spikes. They have turned threat into security. They squeak and argue. The birds are like the ghosts of the tunnel, echoing the past. The few people that do pass through, do so at a fast pace. No one stands around and watches. There is nothing to see, there’s no reason to stay in this ghastly space.
I am here. I am standing here, not aiming to pass through as fast as possible like most. I am here to observe. To hear the constant thrum of distant traffic and breaks in the rhythm of the tunnel when wheels and steps meet stone. To see a foothold of nature emerging in the remnants of a time gone by. To smell, to feel, to observe completely. The intention that you have when entering any given space will certainly affect the way in which you perceive it. Trying to understand the essence of this space, I can only see the shadows and the ashes that are left behind.
Walking through the tunnel, the empty shop windows remind me of a place that was once filled with joy and excitement. Standing there, there is a feeling of a stage after the curtain call. It is not a peaceful silence that reigns in Tysta Marigången. Instead, the silence reminds of hopelessness and devastation. The show is over, there is nothing left here anymore.
Surprisingly, the tunnel is still well lit. The light is warm but not welcoming, it simply serves its purpose. The purpose of a passageway, a transition from one space to another. Knowing what is to come, the bright lights bring forth the image of a supernova, like a star the tunnel shines the brightest it has ever shone in it’s last moments.
Just like the trees shedding their old leaves and preparing to enter their wintery slumber, the tunnel is entering eternal hibernation. In this desolate passageway, we are waiting for something. Yearning. A dream. “hope, but out of what?”
Still pondering the words of Louise Glück, trying to find a solution. A way to make the world more beautiful. The lights in the darkness show the way. The way to have more beauty in the world is to make it. The key is restoring the beauty that we are missing through hope, solidarity and sincerity. This tunnel can be an arena, a catalyst for restoring the beauty that is missing in its final time before it is demolished. This tunnel can have more purpose before it is gone.
When I walk out, I step over the yellow leaves, covering the ground of the tunnel. The cold fall wind blows. Change is coming.