December 24, 2011

Merry And Enchanting.

Once again, the year has come almost full circle and the most enchanting week remains.

For me, this has been truly the most unforgettable twelve months I can ever remember. They brought my way substantial changes and immense personal growth, completely redefining my life and my beliefs.

I would like to thank you my dear friends, old and new, for the kindness and affection you showed me in your words and through your visits here in the past year. It has been my privilege to be allowed to share with you my personal experiences - both good and bad -  and I am looking forward to continue doing so when I return in January.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year
to all of you 


Pristine North Sea, Christmas Eve 2011

December 22, 2011

"Dies Natalis Solis Invicti".

December in Scandinavia is defined by an endless and constant darkness. We only get six hours of daylight, which is fragile and resembles twilight at the very best, instigating perpetual tiredness and signs of depression.
Yet, this period of - what feels as - eternal dusk, beckons us to light multitude of candles through out our homes, adding to the enchantment of the Holidays, complementing the artificial illumination of the streets and the stores.

Today, as we cross the threshold of light once again, the longest night settles upon us, creating a sweet contradiction.

While the winter solstice ushers us into the fourth season, defined by cold and darkness, it also brings with it that slight glimpse of hope. The Romans called this day Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, meaning the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.
From now on, the fragile daylight will grow stronger by each day. However minute that addition of light will be to begin with, it will be there nevertheless. Slowly gaining in intensity until it grows strong enough to illuminate our surroundings, comes the vernal equinox.

However, until that time comes, we will relish in the subtle light of candles, which create that enchanting atmosphere, so significant of the winter season.

December 19, 2011

Unthinkably Good Things.

When I was a child, Christmas was an enchanted time. The whole month of December resonated with incredible bliss. The anticipation, the decorations, the various traditions, the scents, my family - it all created a harmonious atmosphere which filled me with happiness.

I recall how unthinkable it was to me then that some could perceive this time so very differently. Those that felt loneliness and sorrow, for one reason or another. Those who felt excluded from this unified joy and for whom during the Holiday Season the world turned into torment and melancholy.
Thus, when I found myself celebrating one New Year's Eve all alone not that long time ago, I did shed a small tear realizing that I had to endure what I thought would never happen to me - being lonely and sad.

Today, within the walls of our warm and cosy home, one that exuberates safety and comfort, as I sit surrounded by people that truly love me like I was loved once before, I become slightly sentimental recalling all these moments in my past. Seeing the children with so much excitement and expectations in their faces, those memories of Christmas celebrations from my own childhood come streaming back. And yet again, that feeling of happiness and unity I once felt seems to fill my world.

Lady Fortune has finally granted me my wishes, those that I carried with me as dreams for what seems like an eternity. They are packaged slightly differently than I envisioned, yet they are my wishes indeed. Today I wonder why I had to reach this late age to finally find that which has been so elusive my whole adult life.
Perhaps our dreams can only be appreciated and savored fully when achieving them takes all that we have got. Perhaps we are to walk those lonely and difficult paths to learn those vital lessons that will become our old age wisdom. Maybe if I would have been granted all that I wanted at an early age, I would never have been where I am now nor would I have seen what I have seen. Additionally, I would have not appreciated what I have been blessed with so passionately and valued it so strongly. Maybe the best is worth waiting for.

To live fully is to dare.
We need an ounce of luck along the way of course, but the quality of our lives is at all times determined by our own actions, something that became very clear to me this year. Thus, as this very important period in my life is closing towards its end, I look back upon the past twelve months and feel thankful, blessed, excited and ultimately surprised. I feel reflective, amazed and endlessly happy.
But most of all, I feel fulfilled, as I am finally exactly where I want to be, even if it took me half a lifetime to get here.

The below clip contains one of the final scenes from one of my favorite movies entitled "Under The Tuscan Sun".  Today I feel the sentiments expressed within these images and words mirror my own life, as indeed - "Unthinkably good things can happen even late in the game..."

December 15, 2011

December Dawn.

We are now in mid December and the presence of the fourth season is unmistakeably obvious. Winter stands almost at our threshold and its reign is already palpable in the icy cold air and the first snowfall.

Our daylight is fragile and subtle, with late sunrises and early sunsets, both fast and elusive. Still, currently I am fortunate enough to watch the golden disk emerge from behind the flat horizon on my way to work.
The first part of my drive takes me through beautiful country side, with small roads cutting through a soft landscape, where at the present the skies lie low and the fields bare. However, on those rare occasions when weather permits, I can spot the vital star emerge from its night slumber.  At times, it enters an almost pristine sky, where it appears large and glowing, majestically floating in the morning haze, before turning into a globe of molten steel, averting my gaze. On other occasions, it is obscured by clouds, its rays pushing through the fractures of vapor, creating stunning sights of almost biblical proportions.

Below is a selection of images taken this December, on my solitary drive during a subtle dawn, when the young sun could be seen just above the horizon, creating an elusive winter sunrise.

(About the images: taken with my trusted Nikon Coolpix, my good old friend always present in my bag for those emergency occasions - however not possessing the precision and capabilities of my beautiful Canon PowerShot G12, which I usually use.
Please click images for a larger view.)

December 12, 2011

Every Love...

"All, everything that I understand, 
I understand only because I love."
 Leo Tolstoy

 We are in the midst of the holiday season and I feel it is time to revisit that subject that lies so very close to my heart - the subject of love. I have written about love before - and many of you recall this, I am sure.
I have written about love the way I have known it and perceived it at that given time, with honesty and passion. I am convinced that love is what I live for and why I was born - I am here to love and to be loved. In fact, everything I have ever done in my life has been in the name of love.

Despite this, the surpassing emotion has truly been quiet elusive in my life.
Until now.

In my past I have loved with fiery passion and I have loved many times. But the bliss never lasted, always ending with someones heart shattered in pieces - thus I became almost convinced that the romantic love was not meant for me.

"Every love is different" - once I was told these words by a brief acquittance and today I feel they are the most profound words ever said about love.
I believe with all my being that we can love more than once and that indeed, each time we love differently. Not more or less, not stronger or weaker, not more passionately or more distantly, not for the first time nor the last. Just differently.

I believe that a human heart is capable of breaking and mending endlessly. It is resilient and can recover fully, if we only allow it to feel and heal, never sheltering it or hiding it away. It will only grow stronger when given away.
Love has no beginning nor end. It is constant and it infuses everything. It is pure and when it is right, it is enough and it is all we need. The lucky few find that kind of love instantly, while the rest of us might have to look for it feverishly.
Still it only takes once to get it right - and when we do, we will know.

The capability to love is one of the most precious abilities we posses. Therefore I do not regret loving in my past, as I know that the love I gave away was never lost. Ultimately we will receive as much as we give. It might take years and even decades for this generosity to be returned, but if we only persevere and believe in its allure, one day true love will come streaming back to illuminate our existence.

(I made - and shared - the clip below last year, however I feel it can be reused. I dedicate it to all of you, whether you feel loved or lonely this Christmas, and whether you are with the ones you love or miss them dearly...

(Images in the post: Photobucket
Images in the clip, my own photography)

December 08, 2011

Slush Ice.

The first snow is enchanting and alluring.
When the initial snowflakes appear, I watch them with such delightful intensity, as if I have never seen snowfall before. Indeed, how differently I perceive this wintry precipitation late in the season, when it comes across as impeding and distressing.

We got our first and very brief taste of winter this week, when sleet swept over the country, leaving behind slippery roads, snow dusted fields and wet snow in our streets - for a few hours only, melting away quickly in the fragile rays of the early winter sun.

Of course, I simply had to capture the first snow with my camera and thus I hope you will indulge me one more time, as I share with you the images of our overgrown lawn. I have shown it previously covered with droplets of dew in early autumn and the first frost in late October.
Here it is hence once again covered in slush ice.

(Please click images for a larger view)

December 05, 2011

Ornate Details.

A new house is like a new friend.
It takes time to get to know it and its occupants; the different moods, quirkiness, the versatile traits, both negative and positive. It takes time to settle in and although I have lived here for almost six months, I am still establishing new routines and my own place - not just in the new house but also in my new life.

Slowly, I am introducing my touch, so to speak, into an already establish home. Trying not to be too overwhelming and larger than life, remaining respectful and apprehensive, yet still - having a strong desire to have my home reflect the fact that a woman has moved in.
Whether I am succeeding in this endeavor or not is mirrored in the reactions of my new family. I win some and I loose some, as to be expected. The boys are mostly oblivious to my efforts, but the lovely girl senses the changes and has stated in no uncertain terms that her father's house has become much more cosy and delightfully scented since I moved in.
I take that as a sign of success.

Thus this year the Christmas decorations in my home are much more austere than I am used to. Still, the ornate details here and there create an atmosphere of familiarity and celebrate this delightful season in the spirit of love, family and companionship - the very essence of Christmas.

December 01, 2011

Countdown In Light.

This December is very special to me, as I get to experience the Holiday season for the first time in my new home.

I am looking forward to celebrate this enchanting occasion in the company of my new family, as we combine our traditions, creating something novel and something that is ours.

While most of my possessions are in storage, I made sure all the red boxes once stored in my old basement, with Christmas written on their side, were tucked away safely in our garage. Thus some of my Christmas decorations are now finding their way into our home.

Such as the familiar Calendar Candle. Christmas is simply not complete in any home I live in, unless I get to experience this simple daily pleasure in this ultimate month of the year.
Those of you who know me well know that starting the 1st of December, I burn a special candle, the one that has twenty four numbers printed on its side. I burn each number down for each day in December until I reach 24 - The Christmas Eve.

This year is no exception. I opted for a simple white candle, made of natural wax, so very fitting our austere home.
Thus yet again, the countdown to Christmas has begun and each day I will post a new picture of the burning candle on my side bar - turning this month into weeks of progressive photography in light.
And days of sweet anticipation.

November 28, 2011

In Monochrome.

There is something very melancholic about the end of November. The second half of this penultimate month in a year carries a certain nostalgic feel to it. Particularly here in the cold North, where it is defined by cloudy skies, damp, misty air and a barren landscape.

By now, all the foliage is gone. The golden, copper and fiery red colours are replaced by a multitude shades of grey. As we stand between seasons, our world grows monochrome. It resembles a foggy canvas upon which bare tree branches are painted like dark brush strokes against the twilight sky.

Thus it is time for me to conclude the progressive photography of our lovely birch tree, at least for this season.
It stands now all dormant in our front yard, appearing lifeless, entering its winter sleep. What a difference a span of three months can make - one can not believe that the first and last picture below is indeed taken in the same spot. Gone is the juice green and even the copper hue. The beautiful azure heavens and platinum sunshine. All that remains is a charcoal tree drawn against a transparent anthracite background.

Unless snow will cover its branches a few weeks down the road, I will return with a new update first next year, to take you on the opposite journey through the spring and into early summer, recording the return of the beautiful leaves of our silver birch.

November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Bloom.

I wonder if any of you recall my lovely Christmas Cactus. It has been in my possession for almost four years. Each November, its inner clock triggers it into a lovely bloom - it never fails.

This year is no exception.
Adorned by numerous pink flowers, the plant seems to be thriving, having survived the relocation and the fact that half of it perished in the summer, due to my own neglect.

I have recently realized it is also called Thanksgiving Cactus, which I think is a name much better fitting this enchanting plant, blooming with uncanny precision during the eleventh month, signalling in no uncertain terms that the Holiday Season is once more about to begin.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

November 21, 2011

Old Reflections Upon New Windows.

My life is slowly returning to somewhat routine tracks, yet again, not quite. I have entered a novel existence and I guess it only dawned on me first very recently that I have truly moved on.

I have lived in my new home for almost five months now, however it was first after I removed all my possessions from the white house, seeing it become a home to someone new, when I realized that the familiar and safe has been left in the past. It is as if I have waited for a very delayed departure and am finally preparing to lift off. Being now beyond the point of no return, it will be endlessly exciting to learn whether my new found wings will indeed bear.
I am not alone though. For the first time in in a very long while do I not feel alone. I have found a partner, who is like a steady and strong jet stream in the sky and who will keep me airborne.

It is somehow so refreshing to be at last in a relationship with a man who is so relaxed in his own skin and who makes me feel safe and secure.  I have realized today in retrospect that all the men I was ever seriously involved with - however great they all were - never really knew what they wanted - with their own life or with me.
More sadly, they all had strange and hidden insecurities and they own agendas and even though an infatuation, I was not really ever their priority. Thus I kept on struggling (sometimes for years) to make it so, trying to make something out of nothing, until I eventually realized that I had to walk away. Each time I kept wondering whether a man existed to whom I simply would be enough.

Today, in the light of my new reality, I can conclude that relationships when they are right, take no effort whatsoever - no matter what people say. As with anything that is alive, they will only strive if nurtured and cared for - but that is in my eyes not effort but the essence of being in love. And additionally a great deal of fun, despite some challenges.

It is amusing to watch how we humans adapt. I have been through many changes in my life and today I am so aware of the process, paying so much more attention to it, then I ever did before. We are all creatures of habit and thus I too am slowly adapting certain habits and routines in my new home, as I have done in some many homes before. There is a difference this time around as I have never before lived with children.
They are not my children, yet I love them more by each passing day. I endlessly enjoy the time when we are all gathered around the dinner table and I listen to their vivid story telling and laughs, watching them with their father. Their occasional presence in our house brings into my life that joy that was missing in it at all times, that innocent perspective and a fresh outlook. I savour those stolen moments, when I get a glimpse into what could have been, if my destiny wanted otherwise. At times it leaves me with bittersweet tears, but ultimately, it brings my way a sense of endless happiness and the realization that a family comes in all shape and sizes and that our children do not have to be our flesh and blood.

This in its turn has made me realize that everything in life unfolds the way it should be and that all will eventually
I worry less about petty things and as I relax, events simply unfold, setting everything in the right direction, without my effort. There is something in the saying "to go with the flow". On several occasions recently have I found myself in certain dispositions, but I simply refused to let these situations bring me down. Eventually they all resolved on their own, to my great astonishment.

If we keep thinking positive, positive things will come our way - I have touched upon this subject before, but as of recently this is becoming the foundation to my thinking. My old reflections now viewed upon new windows make me see my life in a truly new light.
And at last I like what I see.

 Images: Photobucket, except top one

November 17, 2011

Empty Rooms...

Last Candle Light
Empty rooms...
That is the last image of the white house imprinted in my memory.
Yet, also smiling faces of my new tenants ready to move in.
A deliciously melancholic mix.

Nevertheless, I have now left my former home behind, in the hands of a new family.
But not before I spend one very last weekend there getting it ready for the new occupants.
I was very appropriately alone, as my man was once again out of town through his work and this final stay was exactly as I envisioned it would be; strenuous, endless work mixed with wonderfully bittersweet recollections.

The house parted with me in style - I got to see a magnificent sunrise and a stunning late fall sunset. I watched a large red moon rise in the north and I enjoyed the warmth of the fire and the beautiful westbound views - all for one last time.
Finally, I lit one last candle in the old lantern, the one that once - those eighth years ago - held the first candle light when I moved in...

I got to say my good byes and now it is time for a new wonderful chapter in my life to start, one that I have been waiting for so long - my whole life it seems.
And I am looking forward to share it with all of you.

Sunrise, 12th Of November

Sunset, 12th Of November

Almost Full Moon, 12th Of November

November 10, 2011

November Rose.

Those of you who have ever been moving know that it comes across like an endless process. Particularly the ultimate phase, when one is almost done and then again not quiet yet and when long days turn into late nights and all that remains is total exhaustion.

I am in that last phase right now and thus I have not been able to visit any of your lovely places, for which I apologize. I hope to do so as soon as my life returns to a somewhat familiar routine, which will be shortly.

The house is though now almost empty. It's rooms echo my footsteps and the music streaming out of the radio, reminding me of the time when I moved in. Serendipitously this was also in the month of November, thus I feel my time there has come full circle.
As I was collecting the last of my potted plants from my back terrace the other day, just when dusk was settling over the neighborhood ending a foggy, drizzly late autumn day, I had to pause for a moment as a feeling of familiarity overcame me. The place came across so barren and deserted, so empty of life, just like it did those eight years ago.
Then I saw it.
A single November Rose blooming in all its splendor on my old rosebush, this late in the year, when everything else in nature seems lifeless.

It came across as a beautiful sign of hope and a sweet fragrant gift which the house bestows upon me as I say my farewells. A miracle of nature confirming the fact that everything in life is truly connected.

(I managed to take these two snapshots with my old Nikon Coolpix, which I had with me, just before it run out of battery.)

November 07, 2011


Once again that time has come. I am now moving all my possessions, being in the process of packing all I own into boxes and hauling my belongings into storage, in close proximity of my new residence. I do this not alone however, but with the help of a pair of very strong and capable hands, belonging to a man that stole my heart and who has brought my way incredible happiness.
And who has given me a new home.

The white house on the hill is about to become definitely abandoned by me, as a new family is moving in - if only as tenants. New life is going to be housed within its walls, as the rooms will resonate with laughter of children and feelings of love. This notion calms my mind and lifts my spirits, infusing me with a content that thrills me on so many levels.

The past week has therefore seen me hard at work, as I (we) packed and sorted out and mostly disposed of all that junk that I have collected over the years.
It was incredibly liberating.

I have moved numerous times in my life. As a child, I was uprooted on many occasions by my parents, who possessed (and still do) the heart of gypsies and an adventurous mind. This must be qualities that I inherited as well - I have likewise traveled the world and have laid down my hat in many countries (and even two continents). Thus one can say I am at this point quiet proficient at relocating. Still, it does not get any easier and the stir of emotions is very much the same.

There is something very sentimental about ending something, no matter how much we long to see it end. It is a very odd sensation, when our dreams do come true. It feels highly exhilarating, yet concomitantly there is that feel of anticlimax, as if there is suddenly a void left behind in our perception, until we establish new desires and dream new dreams.

Thus currently I experience mixed emotions of excitement and happiness, yet as well a slight sting of melancholy and maybe a certain gentle sadness, as I part with my former home.
My white house on the hill has seen me through an important part of my life, one that has been filled with unforgettable moments and an immense personal growth, bringing me here where I am today. It has given me shelter and provided me with a safe haven, during my perpetual quest for happiness. It has seen me age almost a decade, through such intense years that defined me in a very profound way.

I embrace this recent change, because it feels good and so very right, something that is confirmed to me undoubtedly by each new day. I do not know what the future will bring, nor am I willing to contemplate that, as I relish in that uncertainty.
All I have is my past, which fills me with no regrets and my present which fills me with excitement. It instigates in me a thrill about what is yet to come, as I embark on a journey of a new fulfilling personal era.

November 03, 2011

'Darkness Is My Light'.

This somewhat ominous title is actually a small excerpt from the lyrics to a song made by the band Imagination, called "Hold Me In Your Arms". For those of you who might be interested, there is a clip in the end of this post.

I own their album Closer, purchased as a tape almost twenty five years ago and it is right now on constant reply in my car, keeping me company on my very long drive home each day - after dark.

I love this album and I love this song in particular.
I love it's soulful harmonies and the eighties sound and I enjoy endlessly the memories as they come streaming back, while I recollect my youth to the gentle beats and the so very catching chorus.

Additionally, the mentioned words seem to sum up the period of the year we have just entered in a truly eloquent way.
November, together with December, account for the darkest month here in the cold North. This is the onset of time when twilight rules our days and when indeed, "darkness is our light".

I have mixed feelings about the increasing lack of light. Driving home after the onset of darkness makes for a very unpleasant ride, particularly during heavy rain storms when all I can see through the windshield is a distorted play of lights, resembling a watercolor painting.

Yet the twilight holds also a certain allure, as it instigates a sense of rest. It indicates that everything in nature is now slowly winding down and a period of stillness is ahead. Thus it beckons us to do the same - to retreat to our homes and enjoy the subtle lights of candles and the company of our loved ones.

As I have grown older, I have found novel joy in each season. The darkness of November has truly too its function, if only to reinforce our joy in the month of June, the month of light, balancing out our reality and putting everything into perspective.

(All images in this post are taken on our recent trip across the Danish Islands and in our home.)