September 29, 2011

Sunsets Redifined.

I no longer get the privilege to watch stunning sunsets out of the westbound windows at the white house on the hill, those that made me marvel and hold my breath.
Our current house is positioned in the suburbs of a very small town, on a straight plain lined by a sandy coastline and our westerly views are obstructed by trees and other buildings.

Still, as the skies turn ever so dark, while we slowly yet steadily move into the half a year of twilight, my daily extended drive from work makes up for those departed views.
Currently, there is that narrow margin of time, which will only last a couple of weeks at the best, enabling me to watch the sun as it meets the horizon, while I am on my way home.

Thus on a few occasions recently, I got the privilege to witness stunning sunsets, light-shows of no equal, unraveling just above the natural settings that I call home today. Watching the evening sky from a low land, the experience became an absolutely novel one, while the clouds turned the heavens into a vaulted ceiling of shadows and light, at times as if set on fire.

Savoring the visual magic of these precious moments, I eternalized this natural wonder with my camera lens, while the sunsets of my past became redefined...

September 26, 2011

Come Fly With Me.

Recently we returned from a ten day trip around Europe, visiting both of our extended families, traveling by air. I am truly a nervous flier, however as I am getting older, I have found a novel meaning in the saying  
"Life lived in fear is a life only half lived".
Thus I have decided that if I still want to see the world and visit our relatives who live spread all over, the only efficient way to do this is to fly.

Therefore facing my fear, I boarded a total of eight flights in those ten days, a true accomplishment for someone who until last year refused to fly altogether.
The recent experience of such a frequent flying consisted of a broad spectra of emotions -  anything from enjoyment and relaxation to becoming consumed by sheer terror and panic. I assure you that during the later I was not a pretty sight. Particularly during the flights that took off into cloudy skies, when turbulence shook the body of the plane upon a steep ascend through the uneven air, I had a very strong urge to scream. I think I literally tried to climb into the arms of my companion, chanting loudly (I have a short prayer that I whisper shout over and over again) and probably exhibiting a truly embarrassing behavior.

Nevertheless, I survived the flights and I am convinced that I will fly again.
Additionally, for the first time in a very long while have I enjoyed to actually be at an airport. Before, just my close proximity to one used to fill me with immense fear.

This time it brought on a certain kind of excitement and a sense of great expectations. Airports are certainly extremely exotic places. They are a manifestation and representation of the country in which they are situated, yet they are so very international simultaneously. Nowhere is there a larger concentration of so many nationalities in such a small space, interchanging so rapidly. Additionally, this must be one the most controlled, well organized and efficient workplaces in the world.

As we were enjoying a meal at one of Europe's busiest airports, I watched the various flights landing and taking off out of the large glass windows. Every minute a new plane took to the air, those sleek silver birds, defying gravity yet following simple laws of aerodynamics and physics, so effortlessly and with such an elegance. It simply made me realize what a safe way this is to travel indeed.

There is a certain atmosphere in an airport that is unique. One is surrounded by so many languages, faced by so many various people from every single corner of the world, all in a transit to new destinations. This location truly carries an imprint of the advances in technology and displays the speed with which we move forward today, all mixed with the basic human urge to explore.

As much as it holds a feel of movement and urgency, it is also nevertheless a place that is filled with love and affection. Upon our arrival to our final destination, as we were embraced by my parents, I momentarily recalled the opening scene to Love Actually and realized how fortunate I was, because I am loved. That love that I feel from my soul-mate and from my family has made me brave enough to face my worst fear and to finally give into life.

And I know that this love will keep me safe.
In the air as well as on the ground.

September 22, 2011

Falling For Fall.

Suddenly, there is that unmistakable finale in the air. One that signals that a certain natural change is imminent. As we are about to cross the gateway into the third season, my surroundings become defined by all the subtle alterations, those that announce the arrival of Lady Autumn.

The westerly winds blow ever so colder and the sun sets earlier by each day. Looking out of the windows, I notice the first golden leaves on our birch tree and the rowan in our garden is by now fully mature.
My afternoon drive home these days ends in twilight and during my solitary morning run, I can feel the chill in the air and the dance of the first fallen foliage around my feet, when the breeze picks up.

Indeed, tomorrows equinox means that fall is about to commence and this realization brings on emotions of a renewed excitement. I look forward to experience this rich, flamboyant season, in all its colourful glory, greeting it as if for the first time, seeing it with new eyes.
In my new home, in my new life.

September 16, 2011

Silver Birch, Encore.

Many of you might recall my infatuation with a beautiful birch tree, the one that used to adorn my easterly views in my old house.

One year I decided to follow the changes of its foliage and document them here in a series of photographs, showing the yearly cycle of that stunning silver tree.

Never before have I paid such a close attention to that lovely birch as I did that year and in the process I realized how much beauty and life goes unnoticed every day in our own views.

It was with a deep sadness in my heart and tears in my eyes that I watched my neighbours cut down my beautiful friend this past spring... I do not think I can ever accept or understand this atrocity.

Thus I was overwhelmed with joy when I realized that a beautiful silver tree adorns the easterly views in my new home. Once again, I can watch a magnificent birch and its transition through the year, as it plays out just outside our kitchen windows.

Therefore with renewed enthusiasm have I decided to document its yearly cycle, starting from green to bare.
I hope you will join me on this trip through the next few months, as I once in a while share with you the beauty of this natural change, as it gradually commences in my views.

September 13, 2011

"By Any Other Name..."

"... would smell as sweet".
This Shakespearean quote seems somehow so very appropriate to initiate this post with. And as you read along further, it will become soon clear why.

It has been a while ago since Batcat was featured in my writing. And many of you, curiously enough, have recently inquired about his well being.
Thus I decided to dedicate yet another post to my faithful traveler through life and my partner in crime, my furry friend - having been my devoted companion for the last eight years.

In that time span, he has been called many names and each name made him into a certain personality, yet in my eyes he has always been the same jovial feline, brightening my days and making me smile.

Batcats real name is actually Samson.
I named him that way when I collected him as a tiny, six weeks old kitten from a farm, some hundred miles north of where I lived. He screamed his lungs out the whole drive back home (and still detests being in a car). I contemplated many different names, wanting to keep the letter S, as apparently cats names should be starting with one. I have no idea where I have heard that or if it is even true. Still, when the name Samson entered my mind, I knew right away that it was the one, thus it was chosen - but come to think of it - never used.

My first serious boyfriend, with whom I acquired the cat named him Daloon. As in Da - Loon. Or The Loon. Perhaps because his eyes as a kitten were at all times huge like saucers and he was always looking for trouble, defying anything that came in his way. Never giving up or giving in, already as a kitten proving he was a REAL cat. A fighter.
He refused to be confided in a cardboard box and already as a tiny little thing was roaming our apartment. When we tried to prevent him from entering an open staircase by blocking it with cardboard as well - afraid he might fall through the stairs and be injured - he found a way of climbing the narrow space between the stairs and the wall by pushing himself upwards on his little paws - an incredible accomplishment and sign of resilience and determination.

When the Irishman came into my life, he very quickly established that Daloon was no Loon, but a Superhero. To him he looked like a feline Batman and thus he named him Batcat. This was when I started my blog and thus to everyone here my cat was known by this name.

The name Batact has however been abandoned for quiet a while now and another name has gained hold. My new family call him today Sammy, a name instigated by the man I love and inspired by the original name; Samson.

Well, no matter the name, my devoted cat is my everything.
My baby and the one living, comforting soul that has been waiting for me in the dark house when I returned from work for all those years living on my own. The one who made my old house feel alive, when it was so quiet, deserted and still. That one living being that always stuck by my side when everyone else left me. The one into whose fur I cried bitter tears when I was feeling the loneliest I have have ever been...
And the one who I hugged when I was the happiest I have ever been as well.

These days, I am not the only one whose life has changed dramatically. Even Sammy has undergone changes of major proportions.
He has been uprooted, relocated and furthermore been introduced to the outside.
Being an inside cat his whole life, the outside to him is as overwhelming as it would be for the common man to fly into space.

Today Sammy is however a content cat. Just like me, being almost middle aged, he is starting all over again. And just like me, he has finally come home - and in his case in more than just the abstract sense - I recently realized he was born on a farm only a stone throw away from where we live today.
How funny is that.

(All images in this post are of Sammy exploring and enjoying the surroundings of his new home, summer 2011) 

September 08, 2011

Jade And Silver.

Sea is my fascination.
In case you have not noticed.
The vast body of water instigates in my perception a sense of endless liberation. Thus living in proximity to an ocean is almost a must for me.

I left behind the Danish east coast and a beautiful, calm and tranquil bay - something I will always miss.
However, my new home is a stone-throw away from stunning, wide, westbound beaches, surrounded by the powerful North Sea.

I will forever stand in awe on the shores of this untamed body of blue. To be there - at any time - is simply one of a kind experience. There is an indescribably potent force in these tempestuous waters, something that became lucidly evident on our most recent walk.

It was in the late afternoon, during somewhat mixed weather conditions which included sun, wind and rain. Even though the air was still relatively warm, the change of seasons hung heavily in the air, producing sights that reinforced the omnipotence of this unspoiled and pristine coastline.
There was a sense of raw power in the foaming waves, as the jade green waters rose high against the dark blue horizon, their ridges turning into salty aerosol at the mercy of the wind. The thunderheads drew closer and eventually the surrounding landscape grew simply enchanted, as the sun rays painted the surf in silver, creating a fantasy snapshot, eternalizing an unforgettable moment in time...

(Please click images for a larger view.)

September 05, 2011

Carefree Highway.

My former drive to work was wonderful due to two reasons; it took me by the ocean side and it was short. Upon my recent relocation, neither of the above facts remained.

I love my work endlessly and as I am not keen on introducing too many changes into my life, I decided to keep my old employment, at least initially. Thus every day, my little car takes me on a round-trip that comprises a total of some two-hundred miles and about three hours commuting. A far cry from those fifteen minutes it took me once to drive to work.

However, being an undying optimist, I am slowly adapting to my new routine of long distance driving and I actually enjoy it. Of course, there are some setbacks.
I no longer get to see the sea on every day bases, I cry every day I have to fill up the tank as I see literally money being washed down the drain. I encounter many obnoxious, ignorant drivers and I have realized that driving in heavy rain gives me the creeps. The worst of them all is nevertheless by no means the fact that I waste three hours of my day on being confided inside a car.

With all that said though, the highway that I travel on takes me through some stunning scenery and when the sun shines and the traffic is light, the ride is very pleasant.
I have only a tape deck in the car, thus for a few hours each day I revert to my teenage years as I go through a stack of old tapes, some of them made several decades ago. I keep them stashed on the backseat and each time I sit behind the wheel, I enjoy choosing a new trip through my musical past.

The ride has by now become monotone of course. Gone is the excitement of the initial days, when I sat tensed in the seat, trying to concentrate on the traffic around me, feeling so out of place on a highway early in the morning.  Now-days I recognize each turn and each exit, I know all the speed limits, the places of congestion and the traffic signs. Nevertheless, my little car almost never drove faster than 35mph for a span of ten years. Thus when I accelerate to speeds that I did not think the little Toyota was capable of, I still feel that tingling of excitement in the pit of my stomach, while the speakers convey my favourite harmonies and beats.

I do love the drive home particularly. Due to my odd working hours, I drive past the rush hour and at times the highway is empty and carefree, almost like a wide runaway for my personal use. I sip my new brewed coffee, while I let my mind wonder, digesting the events of the day, winding down slowly, while beautiful natural images pass by the windows. I watch the sun set on my left and I know that by each passing mile I am getting closer to home - and to the loving arms of my man.

Unfortunately, I know that in a couple of months, this drive will be of a quiet different kind. As we reach the end of autumn and the days will grow darker and grey, when snow and rain will be my companions and only the headlights or tail lights of passing cars my beacons, I will recollect with an occasional longing those fifteen minutes it once took me to get home.

Still, there is one thought that will keep me warm and safe through my long drive - the thought of a lit house with warmth and love inside, the one waiting for me at the destination. Indeed, once it took me only a fraction of the time to come home, but I came home to a dark and empty place, devoid of happiness and affection.

I would not go back to that ever again and would drive a thousand miles if I had to. To get back home.

(Note: All images in this post and below are taken during my beautiful drive home.)

September 01, 2011

Gypsy Mirabelle.

What a truly striking, exotic name.
Those two words bring to mind images of a sultry, dark haired beauty dancing around a campfire in flowing colorful skirts with flowers in her hair.

However, this is the name of a lovely plum tree that grows at the outskirts of our garden and right now produces fruits in the hundreds. For weeks now the bright red plums have been dropping down, covering our lawn, spilling onto a nearby road, while my new family seems quiet oblivious to this fact. I however, who has never "owned" a fruit tree in my life find this as endless source of excitement, even though I am sorry to say most of the fruit will never be used. Except for those few eaten by me.
I guess it is time to learn how how to make jam.

I truly enjoy going through this time of discovery, slowly getting to know not just my new house and home, but also the beautiful and untamed garden that surrounds it. It seems that each new season offers novel surprises and I relish in making acquaintance with the natural wonders just outside my windows.