August 10, 2016
The best thing today was a rainy walk in the forest of Nordskoven. We walked through sunshine, mists that glistened the ferns, rain drops as big as dimes — three rain showers.
Even after the clouds cleared, down came a shimmering tree shower. When the wind gusted through the tall forest canopy, with layers upon layers of leaves, each small leaf vessel tipped its cache of water, and down came the droplets through the dappled sunlight.
Luxuriant ferns graced the forest floor.
Delicate wildflowers — purple, rose and bright yellow — danced across the meadows and skipped along our path. We were drenched in the fresh scent of grasses, woodland herbs, blossoms and loamy soil.
The king of the forest is Kongeegen. He is an ancient oak tree, between 1,500 and 2,ooo years old — and still living. Small underlings crowd around his massive trunk — probably his progeny, eager to reign, but without a chance. In a ring around the “konge”, the king of oaks, loyal guardsmen hold back the forest growth and preserve the elder’s right to the sun.
He alone lives on, longer and luckier than Storkeegen, the revered oak a short ways away in the same forest. Storkeegen is only about 800 years old, and ceased producing leaves a few decades ago.
We were alone in the wet woods, paying homage to this marvel. In contrast, busloads of people file into Roskilde Domkirke to view the elaborate sepulchral monuments of 39 generations of Danish kings. One looks at those lifelike marble carvings of the kings lying in stately, dead repose, amidst lavishly ornate displays of wealth and power. Perhaps each king’s greatest wish was to live on in immortal glory.
Kongeegen simply grows — majestically — and outlives the lifetimes of 39 kings.