January 31, 2011

Sorrow And Joy In Wood.

As many of you already know, I live in a white house on a hill, overlooking the city below. I love my house and I love my surroundings.
It is a chain house, connected to four other houses, each with one or two small terraces or patios. Additionally, we all share a large front yard and an extensive, secluded, tranquil, almost park-like backyard, covered by multitude of shrubs and beautiful birch or pine trees.

Living in a chain house, very close to other families, has its pros and its cons.
Looking at the bright side, among other things; I do not need to mow the lawn. I do not need to shovel the snow (or very rarely). I do not ever feel lonely or anxious. Houses get painted and things get fixed without me troubling my mind about it. Furthermore, when I travel, Batcat is in good hands, well looked after - and so is my house.

But with this said, living in such close proximity to at least eight other individuals creates situations that can make my irritation level rise. Not always will decisions be made that are to my liking. Still, democracy rules even our little neighborhood and thus at times I have to accept and surrender to the will of the majority.
Therefore, with sad and heavy heart I watched my neighbour trimming down the lush growth in our backyard last weekend, cutting down three magnificent birch trees further down the hill and two beautiful spruce trees right in front of my windows - those that used to adorn my westbound vistas.

It was painful and it was tragic.
It made my heart ache, as the beautiful pines gave my view a certain perspective, which is lacking visibly now.
The beautiful birches that I loved to watch throughout the seasons are now lying in a neat pile on my terrace - cut up in pieces, drying out for next winters fire wood. Mixed with the pine, they look so beautiful, yet gazing at them brings a certain sadness to my perception.

However, this prompted me to contemplate the fact that every winter, my fireplace burns away logs that were once lovely trees somewhere beautiful, growing in beautiful woods, overlooking lakes or meadows. Enjoying the crackling fire for months each year, I should at least consider this fact.
Thus being ever the optimist that I am - trying to find something good in everything bad - I do take solace in the the few positive consequences which arose from this drastic action.

Such as the renewed unrestricted view of the west cardinal direction, where very soon magnificent sunsets will take place, leaving me to enjoy the evening sky. Likewise, my terrace will receive more sun in the summer, no longer hiding in the shade of the spruced branches. Furthermore, to be fair to my otherwise very kind and very good neighbour, he spend a lot of time trimming the trees and shrubs that obstruct our northwesterly view and thus once again, I can see the city lights unfold every evening below. Comes June, this is where the midnight sun will move across the sky, setting the heavens on fire.
Last but not least - I have some firewood for the next winter season.

As I will rejoice in the commencing summer sunsets and in the cosy fires of the new winter, I will remember with great joy and a sting of melancholy those magnificent beauties, which once stood as silent sentinels outside my windows and I will take consolation in the very personal desire that arose from this event - and that is to one day plant a tree.

One day in a far (or near) future, perhaps in a house on another hill.
In any case, a tree that will never be cut down - not in my life time at least.

January 29, 2011

Ninety Minutes More.

As we approach the end of the first month of the year, a hint of change can be perceived in my surroundings. Barely there, yet nevertheless palpable. The increase in daylight.

This past week, this difference was so very clearly felt as I watched the sun set behind a birch tree and no longer behind the hills in the south. After days of fog and rain, a beautiful colour adorned the evening skies, blood red and dark velvet blue, extending the evening light.

Our days have now gained almost exactly ninety minutes more - one hour in the evening and thirty minutes in the morning. Already this small increase lifts ours spirits and fills our hearts with expectations and promises of lighter times ahead.

Below a set of comparison images between December and January sunset - what a difference a month can make. All images are taken from my windows.

January 27, 2011

My Perfect Breakfast.

A few years back, I received a free gift with an online purchase - six beautiful, colourful, ceramic egg holders. Very cute and very appealing, they are without a doubt a great addition to any breakfast table.
I learned only recently that the egg cup is actually a collectible item, having been used by mankind already in prehistoric times, such as the Minoan Crete.

Thus, just like the ancient man, even I truly enjoy getting a soft boiled egg for breakfast - to me it is one of life's simple pleasures. However, as I am no expert when it comes to egg boiling and being deterred by past experiences, not getting it right one single time - the cups have been sadly collecting dust on the shelves of my kitchen cabinets.

Still, one of the magical aspects of life is that it changes, when we least expect it. Therefore these days I once again enjoy the privilege of one of my favourite simple pleasures, on regular bases. The one where perfectly soft boiled eggs are served in perfect egg cups. In perfect company.
My perfect breakfast.

January 24, 2011

The Power Of A Thought.

Sooner or later, we all come to a point in our life when we start to ask the real questions. The ones that will help us make sense of the chaos that is our existence, trying to establish the reason to so many whys. Why certain events in our reality will come to pass, while others will not - no matter what we do; why we do continue to hope and struggle - despite all odds; why we have the capability to love and also to hate - both with such a passion; why we can be so endlessly happy and simultaneously extremely sad; why certain people come into our lives and why our destiny unfolds the way it does. And infinitely the cardinal question of them all, why are we really here...

When I was younger, these inquiries occupied very little of my contemplation, but as I grow older, finding explanations matters more by each day. Most likely, I will find very few resolutions in my quest for answers, but my life has become infinitely more interesting, because I am trying to do so.

Due to some events that took place in my life a few months back, my perception of life itself has shifted in a drastic way. The change is still taking place and I truly enjoy this transition. It has though been a process that commenced already years ago and it is first now that I can adequately grasp its concept and feel its effects.

One of the main beliefs that came to gain hold in my consciousness is the power of our thoughts. I call it a power of a thought, while others might call it a power of a belief or even the power of a prayer.
Even scientists are starting to pay attention to the infinite power with which our thinking has the potential to inflict changes on the physiology and the biological processes that take place in our bodies. This involves the power to heal by believing that we can be healed, the widely recognized effects of placebos and the will power of giving up - or not giving up - when injured or terminally ill.

I am not going to bore you with all these scientific facts, as what I really want to talk about is my own experiences when it comes to positive thinking.

When I interact with people, I very quickly gain a perception of who they are. They way they carry themselves, the look in their eyes, the expression on their face, the subjects they choose to discuss, the opinions they express. I pay most of all attention to the overall feeling I get when I am in their presence. Whether is is their aura, the positive energy of a beautiful mind or something else that I tune into, after some interactions, I feel revived. I feel refreshed and happy and I feel a strong longing to be in the presence of these individuals again. Then there are others, whose conduct leaves me drained, tired and even sad and I will most definitely shun their company in the future.
This has prompted me already years ago to realize that optimistic, positive people will always be viewed as popular and attractive, because their optimism attracts. If their optimist can attract people, I realized it could also attracts events.

I have always been an optimist by nature, but even I can become sad and unhappy. As unpleasant events took place early in my adult life, the negative effects at one point drained my positive energy, leaving me alone and confused. All I had were my thoughts. I over-thought and over-perceived everything, to the point when I no longer possessed the clarity to see the truth. Often imagining what was not there and expecting the worst, I entered a viscous circle that filled me with fear and apprehension.

Then one day I realized, that I could change all this by changing the way I think. I began trying to find something positive in everything. Slowly at first. Looking around me, seeing the beauty in nature even on a dreary winter day. In the rain that soaked my surroundings when I was wishing for sunny days, in the solace I felt so overwhelmingly and so often. In the outcome of small, insignificant daily occurrences, which might not have progressed as anticipated. And slowly in everything that affected my life, even major events that were devastating and painful. And with this newfound way of viewing my life, fear and apprehension started to diminish. As positive thoughts took over my thinking, soon effortlessly and with ease, my own life took a path that involved life changing experiences, defining moments and a heightened sensitivity in locating positive encounters, which would have otherwise passed unnoticed.

I would have never believed that a thought can contain so much power, have I not experienced this personally. A positive outlook does not just change the way we feel and live, but it also increases the potentials in our conducts and capabilities.
To be positive does not mean that one will lock out pain and shun conflicts, defer from changes or avoid obstacles. It means rather a total acceptance of life's balancing spectra, where these events play a vital role, leading us to places of happiness and content. And perhaps ultimately to the answers to our whys.

January 23, 2011

Winter Interlude.

Lady Winter took a small intermission this week. Perhaps her reign has been so intense in the past two months, that she needed an interlude to catch her breath, thus causing her to slightly loosen her icy grip.

Warm, humid air, almost alien at this time of the year, streamed for days over southern Scandinavia, prompting almost all the snow to vanish, as if it never been there at all. The bare ground - so unusual to our eyes, which are used to the white cover - exposed two simultaneous seasons.

Broken twigs and putrefied leaves and remains of flowers from our past autumn emerged through the melting ice. Silent symbols of the moving time, moments of the past locked in frozen water and preserved under snow.
The retreating snow cover however also disclosed signs of renewal as well. Fresh buds and the stalks of crocuses, pushing upwards through the temporarily soft ground, bearing witness to the imminence of spring.

The seasonal change is still far removed from our reality and winter is far from done yet. Still, this short interlude was a beautiful reminder of one unmistakable fact; despite us still being in depths of the cold season, the preparation for spring in nature has already begun.

January 21, 2011

The Smiling Moon.

Yes, yet another post about the moon - but how can I resist?
On the evening of the full moon I was privileged to watch it rise above the ocean, in the company of someone special, as its reflection spilled like liquid silver over the ebony surf, creating a magical moment, locked in space and time - and furthermost in my perception.

This morning though I had to marvel watching the moon set during a magnificent violet dawn. Still almost full, I finally managed to preserve its enchantment through a semi-decent image - compliments of my brand new camera, that deserves a post of its own.

On one of the pictures a bird passed my view, creating a smiling face in the morning sky. And that put a smile on my face as well - hope it will on yours too.

January 19, 2011

Poems, Pendants And Praise...

When I started to publicly express my thoughts online a few years back, I did not really know what to expect. The world of blogging was a completely unknown territory, and even though I enjoyed the idea of exploration, I also felt apprehensive and insecure.

What surprised me the most was the collective feeling of friendship, kindness, mutual respect and courteous conduct, that rules the blogging community. The genuine love and affection that all of you at all times express while you visit me - whether in your comments, your emails or just in the interest you take in reading what I have to say, sharing my pain and happiness.

I am way overdue acknowledging three ladies who have express their appreciation of my writing and our friendship.

The lovely Mimi whose giveaway I won - what feels like ages ago - and the book that was the prize has since become my most prized possession. The poems expressed within are as gentle as they are profound.
My absolutely first and oldest friend here, dearest Holly, a beautiful woman inside out, who send me a precious necklace with a plethora of symbolic pendants -  just like that, for no reason at all. Words fail me... so rarely do I get a gift out of the blue...
And last but not least -  the gorgeous Adrielle, a poet with a sensitive mind and soul, who honored me with a blog award - thank you so much.

I dedicate this post to all of you reading this, who have become my very dear friends and I would like to express my gratitude with help of Batcat below. He is my bellowed companion and best friend and a true symbol of unconditional love and devotion.

January 17, 2011

Carpe Diem.

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – 
"Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future"
Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Roman Poet

I recall that when I was a little girl, having very little perception of time, it felt endless and vast. Future was far removed from my consciousness while I dreamed of adventures ahead of me, all that would come to pass once I became an adult. Old age and death was a time span so alien to my thinking, it never preoccupied my mind.

As a teenager, my favorite sentence with which I would strike a conversation used to be "When I grow up, I will..." . I was already a dreamer at a very young age and my dreams only grew and developed, never to cease. When I still carried on this way close to being twenty, my mother used to gently make me aware of how ridiculous I started to sound as I was already an adult and indeed all grown up.

Nevertheless, despite my vivid imagination and the dreams and the adventures which I envisioned as a young girl, I realized at an early age that indeed the future very rarely turns out the way we wish. Thus I learned to distinguish between the idea of having dreams and making plans.

Life without dreams is like gazing at a night sky never to see the stars or the moon. Our dreams and hopes define who we are and they add a dimension to our days, making our time here count. But to plan a future is an impossible task, leading to terrible disappointments and heartaches. Perhaps it also causes us to miss out on the best that life has to offer, as the best in life lies in the unexpected and unplanned, in detours and wrong turns.

The beautiful aphorism at the beginning of this post has always made sense to me and to the sentiments with which I view my reality. Despite the fact that I enjoy taking sentimental walks in my past, recollecting unforgettable moments in time, I never dwell on years gone by, nor do I live with one single regret. I lack capability to do so, perhaps because I live in the present. I make decision today, basing them on the knowledge I carry with me presently, deciding with my heart, my intuition and my conscience. This comes naturally to me - every hour in every day has an incredible potential and I view it as priceless and unique.

The minutes as I am typing this will never come to pass again. The light will never again fall in that angle across my keyboard, nor will the same clouds be passing across the sky. The same last sun rays, as the remains of the day move towards the time of twilight, will never shine on my face again the way they do at this very moment, making it so very extraordinary.

As much as I relish in dreaming of the future, I also realize it doesn't belong to me. Not yet at least. And therein lies the infinite magic of life. Despite the fact that the future can feel uncertain and can fill us with feelings of anxiety and apprehension, those same reasons make it wonderfully exciting. Not knowing what might come to pass is endlessly exhilarating.
To worry about what life might throw our way will only make us live in fear and prevent us from taking decisions, from making necessary changes and from taking chances.
I recall once stumbling upon a great set of sentences to the likes that if we expect troubles, we will experience them twice. Furthermore it is futile to prepare oneself for less than pleasant circumstances for two reasons: one; what we worry about might not come to pass, two; usually the troubles we worry about the least are the ones that will occur.

The past is forever gone, the future is not ours to see - thus all we are left with is the present. To live fully we need to embrace everything that comes our way, while we keep our positive outlook and a childish innocence. In my perception, carpe diem means not to just live today, but to realize that the magic of today is all we truly posses.
And that is often more than enough.

"One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying."
Morris L. West 

January 15, 2011

Halfway Through...

Reaching mid January, we have reached midwinter. Surprisingly, it has arrived much faster than I have anticipated.

Our December was unusually white and sunny, thus there has been an overall lack of grey, drizzly and dark twilight days, that are so common at my latitudes.

Even though currently the snow is slowly melting away - compliments of our first serious winter thaw - the initial weeks of this month have passed with unprecedented speed.

Winter holds very little of my affection. However, recently my mindset has reached an altered state, where every season has grown to encompass a novel meaning in my eyes. To my surprise, there has been a total absence of the depression that I usually feel around this time of the year. Maybe I have instinctively realized a purpose to everything that nature - and our destiny - undertakes and my perception seems to be in tune with it's master plan, bringing a certain peace into my whole being. A true happiness and content that has been lacking in my days for a long time...

Midwinter is palpable everywhere and to me it symbolizes a continuous time of rest and stillness, just like at the onset of this cold season. Nevertheless, very gently and in a very subtle way, I can also sense notions of anticipation. A suggestive awareness lying beneath the stillness, a renewal process taking place, as nature prepares to commence yet another cycle of life and growth.

January 13, 2011

Luna Crescens.

Even though I stated in my previous post that I take the significance of my zodiac sign lightly, the fact that the crab is ruled by the moon is indeed accurately reflected in my endless attraction to this celestial body.
I am infinitely fascinated by this natural satellite of the Earth - there is simply nothing more ethereal, almost hypnotic, then the cool shine of the silver disc as it floats so effortlessly in the night sky.

I view the moon as utterly mysterious and extremely feminine. At all times I experience a transcending connection to its presence in the ebony blue velvet above me and I watch it appear and disappear with an awe that only grows as I grow older. No mater where I am, no matter what I do, as soon as the moon rises in the heavens, it holds my undivided attention, sending me into a trance like state where nothing else exists  but my connection to its significance.

And indeed, it carries a significance that most of us very rarely contemplate. The way it rules our waters through tidal effects, the way it mesmerizes us through the lunar eclipses and the importance with which this silvery orbiter has impacted our lives through history. Not just in fables and beliefs, forming our cultures and traditions, but also as the symbol of our dreams. A strong desire to explore the outer space, in order to gain an insight into the enigma that is the universe, perhaps unlocking the key to life itself.

These past days the moon has been Waxing Crescent  - in Latin; Luna Crescens - and has just reached the First Quarter. In about six days it will be full for the first time this year- instigating my favorite time of the month. The week leading up to full moon - or in Latin, Luna Plena - is when I feel the happiest and look my best.

To those of you who are interested, here are some fun moon facts:

• The Moon makes 1 rotation and completes a revolution around the Earth every 27 days, 7 hours, and 43 minutes.  That's about 28 days.

• The moon is about 1/4 the size of the Earth.

• Only 59% of the moon's surface is visible from earth.

• From Earth, we always see the same side of the moon; the other side is always hidden – it is also know as "the dark side of the moon".

• It is possible to have a month without a full moon. This occurs in February, but either January or March will have two moons.

• When a month has two full moons, the second full moon is called a blue moon. Another definition of a blue moon is the third full moon in any season (quarter of year) containing 4 total full moons.

• When Neil Armstrong took that historical step of "one small step for man one giant step for mankind" it would not have occurred to anyone that the step he took in the dust of the moon was there to stay. It will be there for at least 10 million years. 

• The prevailing hypothesis today is that the Earth–Moon system formed as a result of a giant impact: a Mars-sized body hit the nearly formed proto-Earth, blasting material into orbit around the proto-Earth, which accreted to form the Moon.

• Moon phases in Latin: luna nova, luna nascens, novilunium, interlunium, luna dimidia crescens, luna falcata, luna semiformis, luna plena, plenilunium, luna dimidia decrescens, luna falcata, luna semiformis

January 10, 2011

The Age Of Aquarius.

I have always found astrology interesting, even though I view it more as an enthralling assumption than a credulous fact. I read my horoscope with amusement and I do not believe that my entire personality or my life are tailored by my zodiac sign. Nor am I convinced that star charts can predict my fate.

Likewise I do not pay attention to my suggested astrological matches or advice when it comes to love or personal success, as I simply believe that in these departments we are the true creators of our own destiny.

I do however pay attention to the bigger picture, to the hidden and to messages conveyed by the mysterious world. Whether this can be seen in the stars, in the moon, in the alignment of planets or whether it is infinitely something covertly perceived by our sixth sense - I find this information nevertheless vital.

As a scientist I am a logical being, but as a woman I am perceptive and intuitive, spiritual, creative and sensitive. Coincidence or not, those happen to actually be the main attributes of my sign, the sign of Cancer.

Recently an enigmatic Aquarius has entered my life through a series of intriguing coincidences. Trusting my perception, I can not help but feel that our meeting will most certainly impact my future in a prominent way. In my past I have come across people belonging to almost every astrological sign of the zodiac, yet I have never before met a Water Bearer.
I find this encounter furthermore infinitely significant for one other reason -  ever since I was a teenager, I have been fascinated by the rule of The Age Of Aquarius.

Just the very term itself rings so powerful in my ears and brings me back to my youth and the undying melodies from the movie musical Hair. After watching it I was left endlessly enticed and never forgot those very catching and poetic lines or the wonderful harmonies of "The Age Of Aquarius", composed by "The Fifth Dimension":

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius...

I later learned that those lyrics are poetic license that took quite a liberty when it comes to the scarcity of the moon being in the Seventh House and the alignments of planets - nevertheless, it was after hearing these words sang to that unforgettable melody that my interest for the Age Of Aquarius was born.

Each astrological sign is linked to an Astrological Age - the interesting part is that no one really knows when an age begins or ends. It is suggested though that these ages are directed by the absolute cardinal cycle of our world, the so called Procession Of The Equinoxes, which can span a period of about 25 920 years. This stellar cycle is then divided into twelve astrological ages of the zodiac, meaning that each age is on average about 2150 years long.

Some astrologists believe that currently we are still in The Age Of The Pisces, an age that was suggested to have started during the Roman Empire, at the end of The Age Of Aries, a militant period in our past.
Others though think we have already entered The Age Of Aquarius. And eventually there are those who believe that this age will commence in 2012, coinciding with the end of the Mayan Calender, supporting the "end of the world" and cataclysmic "dooms day" prophecies.

What unifies all beliefs is the definition of this enticing age.
Aquarius is an eminently revolutionary sign, signifying renewal and knowledge. Sometimes called The Golden Age, it instigates a sense of spirituality and progress, a type of awakening of humankind. As Aquarius traditionally rules electricity, this age is defined by scientific discoveries, enlightenment and in many aspects a rebirth of our consciousness, bringing us into a more advanced age in time. Thus it is often linked to the New Age movement that is signified by emphasizing the link between mind, body and spirit.

Whether we are in the Age Of Aquarius or whether we are in a transition between ages, it is obvious that our world is marked by essential changes. The undying optimist and romantic within me likes to believe that we are moving towards an enlightened future. To me 2012 might end the world as we know it, but not by destruction of apocalyptic measures, but rather a transition that greets the dawn of the age of light.

Symbolically, I am hoping that the sudden presence of a beautiful and enticing Aquarius in my own life signifies a pre dawn of my own personal golden age.

January 08, 2011

Fifty Days In Snow.

Last year will indeed make its mark in Danish weather history as the one that begun and ended full of snow.
January through March and November through December were bitterly cold and white. Thus this means that we have been under more or less heavy white blanket for the past fifty days.

Although Winter is not my favorite season, I am not complaining when it comes to the white precipitation - in fact in my perception it creates absolute magic in nature. Combined with pristine, sunny days it gives rise to postcard like views, full of platinum sunshine and indigo blue skies.
Such were the conditions on the last Sunday of last year. I took a walk in my immediate surroundings and captured the brilliant splendor of a winter day, when it is at its best.

January 05, 2011

January Austerity.

I love the holidays more than any other time of the year.
December to me is full of colours, of red and green, purple and even orange, silver and golden, so vibrant and illuminated. I thoroughly enjoy and give into all the opulence of the Christmas decorations, which is reflected in my home, so abundant with all the nuances of the season.

However, in my perception all this ends as soon as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve. It is almost an instant and yet a very effortless transition that takes place within me. Even though the holidays officially end with the commencing Epiphany, in my home they have already concluded.
All the decorations are taken away, tree is cut up and recycled and my entire state of mind craves simplicity.
In my mind, January is colourless and plain. Nevertheless it is also infinitely tranquil, just likes the pristine snow blanket outside. An empty canvas, beckoning to be painted by experiences of the coming year.

Thus my eyes are presently drawn to the plain objects in my home. To that which is austere and modest. Unadorned and humble, yet still so very beautiful, instigating a sense of purification that is so refreshing as we leave the grandeur of December behind.

January 03, 2011

"Grand Adventure".

Music is very important to me.
In fact, it is highly essential and compliments my daily life in the most vital way. I listen to music every day, the whole day.

I turn on the radio in the morning as soon as I walk out of the bedroom, I listen to the radio while I drive to and from work. In the lab, music can be heard in the background the entire day and as soon I come home in the evening, I put on one of my favorite CDs.

There has been many songs in my life that have captured my senses, due to the rhythm, the enticing harmonies or the poetic lyrics. Today my memory holds a collection of various melodies, which have stayed with me for one reason or another. As soon as I hear the first familiar tunes, in a split second I am taken back in time, recollecting particular moments of my past and the people in it, while my being is infused with bittersweet contemplation.

Just The Way You Are by Billy Joel is one such song, which brings smile to my face and amusement to my mind. Hearing it on one of the radio stations the other day, my mind traveled back twenty years, taking a sentimental walk down the memory lane.

I was twenty two, going on twenty three, celebrating New Years Eve in the company of a dear friend on the Island of Furteventura, one of the Spanish Canary Islands located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Africa. We were two young girls who decided to escape the cold winter of Scandinavia, spending two weeks in warmer latitudes, as the year crossed into a new decade. Little did I know then, that this would be such a life changing trip for my best friend and in turn for me as well.

It was more than two decades ago, yet still today I remember the trip vividly. Particularly the excitement when we realized we were assigned to a studio apartment with a large terrace and a magnificent view of the ocean and the stunning sunsets, which would take place every single evening above its turquoise blue waters.
Furteventura, at least the part where we stayed, was unusually pristine, rugged and unexploited. There were very few hotels and all one was left with was unspoiled beauty. With that said though, some of the hotels directly on the beach were luxurious. Particularly the German ones, which were part of a type of Club Med vacation resorts, a term that was quiet unknown to two young girls, who traveled and stayed on a budged.

A few days into the new year, my stunning friend, a true Scandinavian beauty, a cool blond and very sophisticated young woman, caught the eye of a man in his early thirties, walking along the beach one day. After the polite introductions we realized he was German and involved with television entertainment. Within a short while, we were both invited into his hotel later that evening for dinner. I guess I was mostly invited as a chaperon, or as I later realized, a date for the traveling companion of our new acquaintance.

The evening came and when we crossed through the gates to the hotel, it felt as we entered paradise. We were greeted by opulence and beauty, not just in landscaping and architecture, but also in the entertainment and amenities. And the dinner to which we were secretly smuggled into, consisted of a rich buffet, where the tables were literally breaking under the weight of the food offered. Anything from meat to exotic fish, grilled, cooked, baked or fried, fruit and vegetables, some that I have never seen before or since and deserts that even today make my mouth water.
The evening progressed and my friend and her new suitor disappeared at one point, while I was left with his companion. An old man in my eyes then, but my age today. Many years later I often contemplated with amusement what he must have thought off me, a young girl who could have very well been his daughter. A playboy at the best and apparently a photographer by profession, he was tall and striking, with long blond hair, wearing a hat and cowboy boots, his face weathered by the elements, but very distinguished and his manners sophisticated. And he was a perfect gentleman the whole evening, while we walked around the hotel premises, trying to communicate in a broken German and  poor English.

Our walk and the innocent, but memorable evening finally ended in the hotel's bar on the other side of midnight, where he bought me a glass of my first good wine. Even today I recall the odd and long looks of all the mature women present in the intimately lit, smoke filled room. Many of them looked lonely and what I perceived desperate, something unknown to me in my youth. I felt terribly out of place and surprised over this scrutiny then, as the man I was with held no interest of mine. Today I know better, as time has caught up with me as well...
All this became strongly etched in my memory, an odd moment frozen in time while the bars piano man played Just The Way You Are softly in the background.
He played many more songs that night, but this one stuck with me for eternity.

Eventually our lovely vacation came to an end and as we boarded the plane, my friend knew she was in love. She found a soul mate, even though the infatuation came to be short lived. After our return home, she packed her bags and left to be with her love in Germany, where she stayed for many years to come, long after the relationship ended. Even though we are still in touch today, I lost my very best friend on that island and no more than a couple of years later, I left Sweden too, for good. I guess in some way her departure was a catalyst to my own.

What is even more fascinating about this story is the fact that today, the man she left her family and friends for is a famous television commentator and a talk show host, with his own very popular talk show, interviewing prominent guests on German television.
I wonder to this day if fond memories of Furteventura ever cross his mind - or that of his friend. After all, when translated, the name of the island means something like "Grand Adventure".
And it sure was one indeed.

Authors Note: To those of you who read this to the end; I humbly thank you for your patience and effort in making your way through a very long post - and I dedicate this beautiful compilation below to all of you. 
It is a classic and a beauty, both in harmonies and lyrics.

January 01, 2011

Crossing The Annual Doorway.

The God of the Doorway is yet again ruling our present.
January is here and with it, all the bittersweet sentiments that come from endings and simultaneous beginnings.

As we brush away the confetti from our hair, recovering from champagne daze and smoke of fireworks - whether we make resolutions or not - we are all facing a pristine year ahead of us. It is ready to be seized and conquered, made into anything we like, as long as we dare to dream and imagine.

Just like the two faced God Janus, looking forward and backward, I can not help but feel a sense of nostalgia as I let go of the last twelve months of my own life. A time of so many changes, a time of happiness and sorrow, of laughter and pain, and most of all a time filled with so many unforgettable moments, those that will become a silver lining on the mental photographs stored in the corners of my memories.  I feel enriched and grateful for all that destiny has bestowed upon me as yet another year is added to the creases of my face. However the lines instigate a strong sense of satisfaction, not dismay. They tell a tale of a year lived and that is is all that I aspire to.

Looking ahead, there is so much promise in the commencing twelve months and I intend to embrace it all, without restrictions. After all, experiences have taught me, that life brings our way wonderful things, but it often takes courage to savor them fully.

Courage to let go of fears and insecurities, courage to take a leap of faith, courage to surrender to our destiny and ultimately courage to give into love and to life itself, despite the incredible uncertainty of the future.

And I intend to be courageous with a fiery passion, as passion is what I do best.
Happy 2011 everyone.