White Spaces

So much white space in life right now. I’m so wanting to doodle in the edges.



I don’t want to forget how valuable the white spaces are in books. How important the rest in the bar is when playing an instrument (not least woodwind). How urgent the weekend always seems. Rest by design. Wow, really? I’m allowed to slow down, look around, even stop?

Stopping doesn’t come easily to me, but it is making more sense and generally having a good impact on my recovery.

My husband and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary last weekend. Ten of the most empowering and remarkable years of my life (I won’t speak for him, but I get the impression he’s happy too). We went to Copenhagen for the weekend. The single most glorious weekend of my life. Beautiful Copenhagen. Time with the man I love. Without the children. Without anything planned in stone. Without – and this pains me – any Danish language skills. It turns out you don’t need them.


God blessed us with beautiful days and beautiful pastries. With fairytale castles. With cute coins with hearts on (apparently they did mint 2-kroner in 2003, but we didn’t find any). I kept some coins totalling 10 kroner so I could walk around like Frodo and jingle at the children.


With half an idea of what to see, we stumbled around the city into amazing exhibitions and towers and a superb boat tour. We tried to work out whether the Little Mermaid had legs and why the water was so clear and how it reflected so marvellously on the Black Diamond building. We had pickled things and smorrebrod and I had a small amount of alcohol and we discovered a super hotel. We looked up at the buildings and realised what it feels like to be Lego-sized. We wondered if Denmark is to England what England is to the USA.

We learnt about how it is possible to do Trains Really Well Abroad although it helps if you know which station you want or if you are flexible enough if you get it wrong. We crossed the Øresund Link, which I had briefly helped work on at Arups on leaving school, and found Sweden delightful too.

It was a much needed and much appreciated break from the routine. White space. Not needing an agenda, but delivering nonetheless.

I am one for wanting to doodle into every moment of my life. But – beauty isn’t to be found by planning, doing, stressing. The richness in life becomes evident only when there is something to contrast it. The working purpose in any one life may be deceptively simple, but it is beautiful when contrasted with purposeful rest. See that hole in the coin? It makes it beautiful. And yet it is also, technically, a Nothing. An Absence. Remarkable.

I love the 2-kroner design. Actually I love pretty much all Danish design. I have discovered a big place in my heart for a country so closely linked to our history. I cannot make the waves of depression retreat. I cannot buy my way out of enemy attacks. It calms my soul that Denmark exists and that there is a place in this world where beauty and common sense live in harmony.


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