These days I find myself in search of places that have an aura of stillness and tranquility about them.
My home is of course at all times my refuge and my safe haven.
Nevertheless, as warmer and brighter days define this season, I venture more often outside to my secret hideaways, those that are playgrounds to my thinking and my contemplation and where I find solace and comfort, which my body and soul currently crave.
However melancholic and odd it may sound, I must confess that these escapes bring me most often to graveyards and cemeteries, as they did again this past weekend.
The most serene, sheltered and transcending moments in time, which I carry in my recollection, have been experienced in churchyards, old monasteries or memorials. I have never found these places uncomfortable or unpleasant. On the contrary; they are defined by an endless atmosphere of quietness that is infinitely soothing.
As a teenager I wrote an assay piece based on reflections over a walk in a cemetery; most likely the best assay I ever wrote as a young adult. Even today I recall how effortlessly my pen documented the train of thoughts, as I described my stroll around the graves.
Already when I enter these sacred places, it is as if a border has been crossed. Have you ever noticed when you step into a graveyard in a bustling metropolis, that it seems as if a soundproof gate is suddenly in place, shutting out the busy sounds and scents of a living city - as if by a stroke of magic one enters an uncanny stillness of a divine ground.
This happens to me time and time again and I feel almost always as if a veil of troubles is lifted from my face and I can see clearly.
I never feel that I am surrounded by death. On the contrary, I feel surrounded by lives lived. To some, this is after all only a gateway to another world. To others simply a tribute and a memorial to those we once held dear and yet again, to almost everyone, cemeteries offer a certain snapshots of moments in history, as the inscriptions on the grave stones, standing as silent sentinels of time, tells stories of the past.
My eyes are often drawn to the infinite amounts of flowers, bushes and intricately garnished spots - it is as if nature always thrives here. Even neglected churchyards are always beautiful in any seasons, as when nature is left to grow unrestricted, it flourishes, creating the most amazing pieces of living art.
I have been to carefully maintained graveyards; some simple, some intricate, as well as to forgotten small cemeteries, which were lush and overgrown with scented shrubs - finding equal solace in each.
Sitting down below the tree crowns, at any time of the year, while letting myself become infused with the surrounding stillness is incredibly relaxing. With such an ease the troubles of my every day life are removed from my perception as I am faced with the greatest secret of them all - the secret of life and death.
At all times this reinforces the belief in me of how precious and magical our time here truly is - and most of all how limited and short - and how very often we forget this. Instead, we get caught up in the turmoil of our busy days, while we waste our time and energy on petty and insignificant things, letting ourselves succumb to unnecessary irritations.
How endlessly ignorant and irrelevant some troublesome aspects of my life appear while I sit under those trees. The true magic of just simply being alive - with all its pain and suffering as well as joy and happiness - is nowhere as palpable and appreciated, as at the only place where life appears to be truly devoid...
About the images below: My favorite place of tranquility near my home is a private, but today abandoned family graveyard located on the grounds of an old mansion, today turned museum. It is tucked away between trees, hidden from view and off the beaten path. Very few people know of its existence. The images below are taken on my walk there this past autumn and even though I was sitting there alone for almost an hour, I have never ever felt less lonely and more safe then on that early, sunny September morning.
I was born under the Tatra Mountains, to a Czech father and a Slovak mother. I grew up in Sweden and lived almost ten years in North Carolina.
More than a decade ago my line of work took me to Denmark, where I live today. My home, which I share with the man that holds my heart, lies in the northerly part of a Danish peninsula, in the proximity of endless, wide and pristine westbound sandy beaches, surrounded by the rough and untamed North Sea.
My writing is defined by reflections on my cosmopolitan past and my intriguing present. Ultimately I try to convey in words and images my personal thoughts and feelings about life itself, with all its magic, natural splendour and the beauty of simple pleasures.