The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


In Norse Mythology, the home of the gods, called Asgard, surrounded a tree of life. The tree, eternally green, stretched out over all nine Norse world, and extended up to the heavens. It maintained life for the gods, the demi-gods, and mankind.  In 2009, my family and I traveled to Sweden. Most of my dad’s family still lives there, and my mom has a few family members there too. For two out of the seven weeks we were there we lived with my dad’s friend in his cabin on a little island off the coast of Stockholm.
From the airport, we drove our 1992 AstroVan two hours south to a ferry that would carry us to Adelsö. Jonas, my dad's friend, bought this cabin, and the land it sits on, about 9 years ago. Those 9 years have been dedicated to transforming it from a shabby shack to a Swedish oasis. Around his land, lies a field of grass knee to waist length. Every morning would be hailed by the whirring of grasshopper wings and song of sea swallows. The lack of running water brought us to the banks of the lake when we needed to bathe. A simply understated lifestyle that brought all the people closer to a sense of what it meant to exist. We ate, we drank, we laughed, we swam, we ran.
That summer we took a tour of the island, exploring the ancient Viking architecture that was still standing. Our guide brought us over high mounds in the grasses, where it was said Vikings of high nobility were buried. There was a point in the tour where we were standing in the ruins of a an old long hall, a place where the men and women of thousands years past would have celebrated, feasted, and governed. It seemed so fitting that it was here that our worlds seemed to collide. On the island where I have felt more human, more simple, is the same island where our simplicities were the lifestyle.
The guide told us tales of the Norse and their traditions. The ships would be docked along the lower banks, and the visitors would place their hand upon a stone as gratitude for a safe travel. They prayed together and feasted in honor of the mighty and the lowly gods and goddesses. The long hall was the epicenter of spiritual and cultural life. As I stood amongst the barely standing foundation, I realized that this island had cultivated pure human life and joy. Set against the summer sun, just outside the boundary of the hall, was a grand pine. In its towering branches and deep set roots, I saw the majesty of Asgard. This tree saw the passage of time, this great hall rise and fall, and greeted men and women who came to pay it's land respect. The evergreen may not be life giving, but it was certainly a monument of the perpetual human connection.

-Nicole O.


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