Last year at this time I was sick with untreated hypothyroidism, my father in law was dying, I was preparing for my nerve-wracking defense, I had severe back-ache and knew I’d probably have to (reluctantly!) change jobs.
Not a good time. I felt like a ghost in my own life.
And yet I made this video (with a cold!) to explain the phenomenon of Swedish Lucia that always falls on December 13. (And which will have to suffice this year too because I’ve been too busy to make a new one.)
My year since then has been… interesting. January was a complete disaster in every respect, and each month that followed it brought a fresh new twist (of the knife). My back got better, then worse, then better, then worse, etc etc ad nauseam. I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism and got medication. Other stuff happened. I got my good job back again. It was fun and hard and a little bit frightening.
And in the end, it seems I’m destined to survive 2017. Maybe in hindsight, it’ll be the best thing that ever happened. Because now I’m here, soon a one-year-old in academic terms, and I’m not the same person I was then. I’ve even made peace with a certain TV series that broke my heart the very first day of January and then proceeded to royally fuck with my head for longer than I care to admit.
And as we enter the darkest week of the year, I see more light than ever before.
The thing about not seeing much of the sun for a few months is that we get these pink skies instead. The sun barely makes it over the horizon, but as compensation, its rays hit the clouds just so, and magic ensues.
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.
Frozen droplets in the trees.
Yellow rays on the bluish snow.
Mist over the snowy lake.
Fluffy clusters of ice crystals in the trees.
Clouds turning pink as the sun disappeared behind the tree tops at one o’clock.
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!
Best laid plans of mice and men. Just as I was reaching to switch off the light, hubby hollers from the kitchen that there’s aurora borealis in the sky.
And what a spectacle it was! First row seats on the balcony. Unfortunately it took me a few minutes to find my camera, so I missed the brightest lights, but I’m telling you – it was like when I was a child! Pink and mint green and bright as day.
And mist! As if some god or other just couldn’t help themselves: “Look at all the prettiness I can create!”
What a lovely end to a lovely day.
It’s official. Autumn is at its lasp gasp.
This weekend has been freezing cold, but with those minus degrees comes a special kind of beauty – a cold, blue beauty that’s like a soft exhalation after the flurry and buzz of summer.
No mosquitoes, no flies. Nothing that lives anymore. Just the drained, brittle grass and a sun that shines on the clear lifelessness of an autumn lake.
Everything is losing even its yellow hues and turning brown instead.
At times, it looks like a fire-ravaged wasteland…
But then suddenly, the light hits it just so, and you can see slivers of ice glinting on the surface of a stream, or the dull grass turns to gold.
And finally, of course, a couple of seed pictures. I just love the delicate strands that stir in the faintest breeze and catch the final ray of sun as it sinks into the forest.
Why get up at 5.30am even though you’re working from home and can sleep until 7am?
Because you can freeze to death at a brightening twilight beach.
Because you gradually realize that the dots out there aren’t clumps of grass, but geese.
Because of honking swans in the thin veils of mist.
Because the sky turns pink.
Normally when I travel to work instead of working from home, I’m away for a total of twelve and a half hours. And normally I try to actually work all that time on the bus and the train, so as not to waste it. Needless to say, I’m exhausted when I come home, and there’s nothing of the day left. All I have time and energy for is dinner, an episode of a TV series, and bed.
Today, inspired by the new insights my bullet journal is giving me, I decided to change it up. I mean, is it worth it to run myself into the ground just to be able to shave off a few hours on Friday? No. So today I worked an ordinary eight hour day instead, and the results were amazing.
I had so much time! I could photograph, and edit, and write, and all sorts of creative stuff that really is my lifeblood. And as if to cheer me on, the sun came out the moment I came home, and it stayed out while I strayed through the woods and snapped my photos. It felt like I was out there for an eternity, and yet only two and a half hours have passed!
No matter how tired I am, the forest always manages to rejuvenate me.
I can never get enough of these seeds!
I’ll be honest: once I got home again and started loading all my photos into the computer, I did feel a teensy bit tired again. I mean, I did wake up at 4.30 this morning. It’s just that I forget about being tired while I’m out there in the forest, crouching in the moss to capture those backlit leaves.
But being tired is fine, because you know what? Tomorrow I’m changing it up again and taking the 8.40 bus instead of the 5.35 one and staying later at work.
One of my favourite desserts at Christmas is lingonberry preserve with whipped cream, and it’s the easiest thing to do. You just need a day in the woods and a mason jar. That’s it!
We’re not the only ones who love lingonberries. Apparently a bear beat us to one patch..
Everything is aflame now: the last burst of colour before it all dies. Nature does not go gentle into that winter night, and the dew weeps for the departing souls.
After a few hours, this was our harvest, and it’s enough for a whole week of yummy jam and one mason jar of lingonberry preserve.