“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.”
― Beryl Markham, West with the Night
I made the picture above in the middle of September, on the train from Hamburg Central Station to the little town of Flensburg, Germany, near its border with Denmark. It was the day Danish police shut down the rail, ferry and expressway links from Germany into Denmark. Sweden had just announced its intention to grant residency papers to Syrian refugees, and many were on their way there via Copenhagen, where Flemming and I were headed.
It was the day I walked out of the station and past a police line, with nary a glance my way, because I didn’t look like anyone they should stop. The man who had given up his seat for me on the first train however, did. We pulled away in a cab to cross the border – the only option of continuing to Copenhagen at that point, with trains stopped indefinitely – overhearing him tell a police officer that all he wanted, was water for the children.
I walked away from it all on the power of my passport, with a complete lack of understanding of what was happening, and what small thing I could have done.