Overlooking lake Volgsjön in Vilhelmina stand blocks of apartments housing people from all over the world who for the moment at least now call southern Lappland home. In one of these multicultural flats lives Solaris. The moment I was seated at the kitchen table he began pouring out stories from his life to the point my stomach eventually intervened and I interrupted him to make lunch.
Never before have I heard such fantastic tales from someone’s own experience. From Idbacka, the paradise he created together with his late wife which included ant bridges, mouse highways and quite probably (for good reason I might add) the only mosquito breeding ponds in Sweden. I was perplexed as to why anyone would want more swarms of these highly aggressive flying bloodsuckers living around them until he explained that they were food for his beloved friend the swallow. These same birds would make the return journey every year from their summer home in Vilhelmina Kommun to wherever it is they live over the northern winter; quite likely somewhere in Africa according to tracking research.
Through his escapades in Colombia where he had a bounty on his head by the local guerilla militia, Senegal where he’s hailed as an incarnation of a holy man, Egypt where he became a Christian Coptic priest, Norway where he dances like mad and is a semi-famous artist, Netherlands where he offered to marry a man from Afghanistan to prevent his deportation, to Sweden where he was a teacher in the art of fishing+hunting guiding and never tolerated lateness to class from his pupils.He’s grappled with the energy called god in many forms and is in love with a mother of three in the Phillipines. Their love can’t bloom into a live-in relationship however because no matter how hard, or soft he tries she won’t stop beating her children. So he’s now considering a move to Mexico this August.
He has even figured out that puzzle which keeps people guessing throughout their lives. Recounting the time he showed a local priest some of the flowers at Idbackan, he asked the priest what he saw. “I see the beauty of god’s creations.” replied the priest. “No, you see thousands of pussies screaming for sex, even if it’s with insects or wind.”, was his response. Life, he tells me, is simply about more life.
“All my life I’ve had only two gears; zero or full speed. When I was working in carpentry I used to run between the machines, dancing and singing. I’ve never done anything in my life for money, only for the joy. I’ve never been willing to sell my time. But luckily enough most of the things I’ve done for joy have given me money!”
To connect with or find out more about Solaris, find him on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/petrussolaris.bendtsen.5