The sun doesn’t wait

In my last post I talked about how the road will wait for you while you give yourself the rest you need. But there’s something else that doesn’t wait, and if you want to catch it, you have to agree to its terms…

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The sun.

Now, I’m the first person to rebel against the idea that “The sun is out, so you have to go out too”. But if you long for the light, here’s a thought: grab it while it lasts.

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Your duties may have deadlines, but so does life. Maybe it’s time to take that break and give yourself a reward.

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Is the sky blue today?

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Is the world an open book, glittering brightly?

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The time for twinkling snow flakes will be over before you know it. The time for moving freely through the woods will be over before you know it.

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If you can, steal that moment today. Because on your deathbed, you won’t regret the time you went out to see the world.

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You know, I really am quite lucky to have “thinking” be a part of my job description. Today was bright and sunny, so I took my embryonic ideas with me into the forest and snapped a few pictures while I mulled over them.

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Some tiny creature passed this way before me. 🙂

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There’s something so special about snow that falls when it’s really cold. It’s so dry somehow, and sparkly and just… otherworldly. Filming it doesn’t make it justice by a long shot.

Six months to Midsummer

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my books.

This. This slope, covered now in snow, is the spot where Artedi was born. This very spot is where Christer and Henrik get a second chance in The Seventh Flower.

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An appropriate place for two people who – what are the odds? – both have a thing for the enduring friendship between Linnaeus and Artedi. These two lovers of history.

These two lovers.

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I’m a sucker for time. The wings of history, comparing then and now… And this frozen field where nothing grows – in half a year, it will be covered in grass and wild flowers. In just six months, the sun will only set a few hours over this spot. Now it only shines at midday.

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The rays are so yellow, so tired. The sun climbs just over the horizon and then sets again, too exhausted to stay, and the light never reaches its full potential. Just this yellow-pink, golden glow that leaves as soon as it touches the crystallized trees.

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To think that this is the landscape where Christer drives his car through the bright early morning mist, searching for Henrik! The landscape where they watch the sun rise together – at half past two in the morning.

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It’s frozen. Dead. Silent.

Beautiful.

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And in just six months, it will all be green again.

Oh my God, finally! We’ve only had clouds, clouds, and more clouds for longer than I care to count. And okay, yes, we need clouds if we want snow, but come on. The sun is only up for four and a half hours this time of year, so a sun that’s actually visible is very much appreciated.

And today it was. I headed out before lunch to catch some rays before they disappeared behind the mountains. I chased the sun up snowy forest hillsides and got all wet and cold and snowy, but lord was it worth it. Everything was so beautiful.

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Frozen droplets in the trees.

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Yellow rays on the bluish snow.

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Mist over the snowy lake.

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Fluffy clusters of ice crystals in the trees.

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Clouds turning pink as the sun disappeared behind the tree tops at one o’clock.

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And on the subject of ‘the things we do for a photo’…

But it was a wonderful day that really wiped my soul clean of all the weariness I was carrying around. Now I’m tired in a more physical way, which is better. Time for some mulled wine and Christmas decorating!

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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Freezing art

The things we do for love… of pretty pictures! I actually thought my big toes had broken in two before I finally came back home. Have you ever been that cold? Jack London’s To Build a Fire cold? It really makes you feel small – in the universe. Like there’s no shield between yourself and the dead of space. It doesn’t just feel uncomfortable, it feels dangerous.

But it does make for beautiful frosty images.

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I played around with some softer photos today – deliberately less focused to bring out the afterlight from the vanished sun. I don’t know why, but I like the result.

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It feels vaguely silver nitrate-y. Lord of the Rings-y. (Which I’m re-devouring at the moment, by the way. The coming week feels exactly like the scenes where Frodo and Sam have to cross the plains of Gorgoroth. But more on that later.)

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And behold the reason behind my deep frozen toes: the moon, that decided to rise at the exact moment when I should have turned homewards and curled up in the sofa with some glögg (mulled wine). But when you’re a lunatic, you’re a lunatic… 😉

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Later still, when the moon had risen so high I couldn’t fit it into the picture. But the light!

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Shades of winter

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Grey, grey, grey. We’re living in a black and white movie.

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The sky is overcast and it never really feels like we have daylight. Kind of like Mordor – but nicer!

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Because since we finally have a layer of snow, the world is brighter than before. It makes such a difference. The deleafed trees tower over me as I take my usual walk through the woods. Tall and slim, they resemble the grass in the hedgerow, only a lot bigger.

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Twigs and branches are laden with snow, and the ice is slowly covering the lakes and streams, inching a little further over the surface each night.

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More ice

Ah, the glitter and crunch of an early morning walk in the woods! We’re being warned that this winter will be cold, and I welcome it after the last three or four ones which were dismal. Last year it rained on Christmas Day! Completely unheard of.

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I keep posting things that have a silver lining, don’t I? Not only clouds can be edged with brightness, but flowers, grass, trees, and people too.

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But here’s something I haven’t posted before. There’s this one slope where I’ve seen both bear droppings and bear tracks, and it’s no great leap of logic to surmise that this here carcass was made by a bear! I wonder what kind of creature met its nemesis here – the ribcage seems too small to belong to a moose.

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The stream is covered by a thin layer of ice now.

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Just a few months ago, it looked like this:

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Isn’t the variety of nature amazing?

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