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.

DSC_0014_01.JPG

Frozen droplets in the trees.

DSC_0083_01

DSC_0085

DSC_0091

Yellow rays on the bluish snow.

DSC_0109

DSC_0112

Mist over the snowy lake.

DSC_0043.JPG

Fluffy clusters of ice crystals in the trees.

DSC_0061

DSC_0063

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

DSC_0059

DSC_0024.JPG

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!

The thing about icicles

It always jars me out of the intended illusion when people feature icicles (in films or pictures) to show that it’s really, really, cold. Because icicles don’t mean cold to me. They mean spring’s coming.

DSC_0011

When it’s really cold, my world is covered in frost. In dry and glittery snow.

dsc_0182

dsc_0183

dsc_0147

dsc_0356

In contrast, icicles are what we get when the thick cover of snow starts to melt in March – slick spires that cling to the remnants of snowy roofs. They’re a response to a sun that’s suddenly giving off some warmth again. They’re a promise of melting lakes and new buds. They’re a sign that soon we won’t need jackets any longer.

DSC_0004

How different the world looks, depending on where you’re standing when you’re watching it!

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.

dsc_0183

dsc_0198

dsc_0448

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.

dsc_0222

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

dsc_0481

dsc_0479_01

dsc_0496

It’s the perfect day for an outing.

dsc_0576

Birches everywhere shining with half-melted crystals.

dsc_0308

dsc_0302

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

dsc_0560

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. 🙂

winter-princess-bladibla

snow-fairy-or-something-ljusare

 

The perfect winter’s day

dsc_0093

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.

dsc_0047

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.

059

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.

dsc_0032

dsc_0143

dsc_0105

dsc_0110

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…

dsc_0066_01

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’.

dsc_0193

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.

Shower the world…

dsc_0177

There’s a Tori Amos song that tells us to shower the world in pink and glitter, and that’s exactly what the weather gods are doing here. Every day is like a study in pink. The sun just barely makes it over the horizon for a short time between ten and two, but the reward is that every hour is golden.

sunrise

sunrise2

dsc_0162

dsc_0191

Frozen beard lichen hangs from every pine tree bough. The rising sun filters through the needles.

dsc_0347

dsc_0335

dsc_0315

It’s just cold enough to freeze the droplets but not enough to melt them. Absolutely wonderful. Some of them look like Christmas tree decorations where they hang in the fir branches. I went a little crazy with the camera when I saw it, so bear with me… 🙂

dsc_0282

dsc_0284

dsc_0289

dsc_0288

dsc_0278

dsc_0278_02

But I must admit I was glad that there was a kettle to switch on when I got home, because the cold tends to creep into your very marrow. It’s beautiful but not harmless, you know? And maybe that’s part of the charm: a terrible beauty that you must watch from a distance in order not to get hurt. Look but don’t touch. 🙂

dsc_0383

dsc_0424

dsc_0364

dsc_0147

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.

dsc_0105_01

dsc_0101

dsc_0036

dsc_0060

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.

dsc_0043

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.)

dsc_0039

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… 😉

dsc_0160

dsc_0152

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

dsc_0004

dsc_0001

dsc_0009