Small and unassuming

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I turn to see Henrik smiling at something on the ground. I walk over and peer down at the carpet of tiny white petals. “Ah, the arctic starflower.”

“Chickweed wintergreen,” he playfully corrects me.

“I prefer the arctic starflower. It sounds so….” I gesture vaguely. “Mysterious,” I settle for, but it sounds so ridiculous that I blush. It makes Henrik laugh, but it’s not a mean laugh. It sounds knowing. As if, once again, we share something.

“Yeah, it’s supposed to be seen in twilight, isn’t it?” he says.

I squirm. “Perhaps. It’s just… it’s such a small and unassuming flower. You can walk right past it and not even notice.”

Henrik raises an eyebrow that looks disconcertingly flirty. “Is that a metaphor?”

I give him a look. “You think I’m small and unassuming?”

His gaze flickers down to my belt and then back up. “Well, you do kind of apologize for existing.”

(The Seventh Flower by Ingela Bohm)

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Christer isSeventhFlower[The]FS_v1 too old to believe in fairy tales. He’s not the kind of guy to pick the proverbial seven flowers on Midsummer’s Eve so he can dream of who he will marry, and he certainly isn’t the type to fall for someone he’s just met. Especially not a womanizing blogger named Henrik.

Besides, Christer’s previous marriage didn’t end with a happily ever after. Therefore, he has no interest in gifting his heart to someone who lives five hundred miles away and probably isn’t even gay. His family is right: it’s time he grew up and stopped dreaming.

But Midsummer’s Eve in Sweden is a magical night, and Henrik won’t stop flirting. As the midnight sun shines down on the misty woods, maybe there’s room for one last dream.

Available at Dreamspinner and Amazon

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Goodbyes

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This weekend at the cabin became a little different. A new couple has bought the house next door, and the previous owner harvested all the trees that he owned in the surrounding forests. We came there just in time to see it happen.

Some trees are always left so that they can drop new seeds and secure the rebirth of the forest. They were marked with these red ribbons of salvation.

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It reminded me of the song Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree, which I kept singing all through the weekend. “Do you still want me?” Yes, these happy few were still wanted alive.

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As an aside, down by the stream a different kind of forester had made short work of the best birches. If all goes well, I’ll have a post about beavers sometime during the summer. I just need to muster the patience to sit there with my camera and wait…

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Paradoxically, everything seemed to be fading and dying, wilting and withering. Maybe to make way for the new.

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A sunshiny day

And finally we got a glimpse of what May should be – on a Saturday, no less, and on the weekend when we decided to pay a visit to the cabin. Couldn’t have asked for more.

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We moved a bit of stuff from the house that hubby’s mum is selling to the barn by the cabin, not only because there’s room for it there, but because we’re planning something big for that place.

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Right now the interior looks like this:

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But a space like that can be made into something cosy, and a kind of museum where you can also sit on warm days and eat. So in the future, when all our other million projects are done, we’re going to clean it up and put olden thinges on the walls!

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I really long to do these kind of really physical, concrete projects. I guess five years of living exclusively in my head does that. It’s so nice to see things take form in the real world as opposed to just a text.

And that’s probably why I still so enjoy snapping pictures of natural beauty as well – of which there was an abundance this weekend. First out, the forest floor. New grass struggling out of the old, and moss, moss, moss.

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The sun cast a whitish glow on the pale yellow grass from last year.

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Later it turned into gold and copper.

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Merging into coral and purple as it dipped below the horizon.

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Sunset 4

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Wow.

Looking closer

Well, that’s nothing new of course, but you know… I have to think of titles. Bit hard when it’s all backlit closeups. But hey, you can’t get too many of ’em, so.

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Look at those fine, fine hairs!

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A devoured pine cone from yesteryear.

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Me in the centre of things.

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Moss is the perfect cushion.

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Just a typical view on my walks.

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Yours truly.

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Something old, something new

From a distance the world is grey and brown right now, but move closer and a shiny spectacle takes centre stage.

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Because most of nature is still dead at this time of year, it’s better to see individuals than a crowd. Like this withered lingonberry that no one picked last autumn. With the sun filtering through it, the leathery skin glows as if alive again.

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Or these perfect catkins.

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These delicate stems form a tiny forest against the background of an actual forest of pine trees and firs.

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Sometimes it feels like cheating to take these close-ups, because everything becomes so much more beautiful. This isn’t what we normally see when we take a walk in the woods, after all.

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But maybe we should. Maybe we don’t need a camera to get down on our knees and view the world through the shining prism of a melting ice crystal, hanging like a chandelier from last year’s grass.

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On the other hand, a simple dried leaf that dangles from a twig in the sun can be quite as lovely, and we don’t even have to make an effort to see it.

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It’s all about perspective. About where the light comes from.

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So the moral is, I suppose, not to see ‘the bright side of life’ exactly, but to put yourself in the right position in relation to the light.

March sun

There’s something so perfect about snow. It’s so fragile and so pure. So easy to ruin, either by heat or by footprints.

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In a world of white glitter, the sunshine is blinding. A faint smell of snow mobile petrol hovers over the landscape, and now and again you can hear a motor in the distance.

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Clinging to twigs, the tiny balls of snow look like osier buds.

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It’s the perfect day for an outing.

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Birches everywhere shining with half-melted crystals.

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Sun filters through the smoke as you grill your sausages on an open fire… 🙂

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Forest light

Often when I take my walks and photograph what I see around me, the feeling of being there is difficult to convey. I mean, I can snap a picture of me in a fluffy down jacket and thermo pants, red-nosed and happy and all against a dull grey backdrop – because snow does tend to end up a dull grey, even though in real life, it shines. So these are my pictures of what it feels like to be there, in the silence of the snowy woods, by day and by night. They say artists lie to tell the truth – well, this is my truth. 🙂

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The perfect winter’s day

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Finally. I’ve tried to keep my chin up, but we’ve really not had much of that winter wonderland-y stuff this year. I remember my childhood, when the first snow came in October. By the first of Advent, the woods had fallen that special kind of silent that is only possible when there’s a thick layer of snow over everything. So far, we haven’t had that, but only frosty mornings and slippery ice on the roads. I’ve hardly dared venture into the woods at all for fear of falling and breaking my neck.

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But today I got my fill of wonderland. I walked the same path I walked this summer, when the dewy grass swished against my calves and the sun didn’t set until half past eleven. The only thing that reminded me I was on the same planet as back then was the sky. It was pink and golden, just like it was six months ago. But what it shone down on was very different.

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In July it was all misty forest and leaves and flowers. Now it was the same forest, but with all the branches weighed down by snow.

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Crunching along in the tracks left behind by a skier with his dog, I felt alive again after a week or so of being completely wrung out, dish rag style. I believe they call it the postdoc blues…

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I didn’t realize how much I needed it until I got it. It’s such a big part of Christmas, of the big wheel that turns through the seasons: this period of rest, of sleeping seeds and muffled quiet, that reminds you why it’s called ‘the dead of winter’.

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Perhaps some wind in the trees, or the crunch of your own boots in the snow, but other than that – nothing. As if the world is waiting to be born again.

Which I guess it is.