April 27, 2013

Scintillating Sky.

Gone are the unrestricted views I once had at my disposition in the white house on the hill. I still recollect fondly the captivating light shows that from spring to autumn played out in front of my windows.

These days, wide planes surround my home and our house is nestled between others, hidden from view, lacking it as well.
However, despite these limitations - and to my surprise - the obstructed horizon can nevertheless offer subtle demonstrations of natural splendor.
Just like the other evening, when twilight enveloped our surroundings and the final rays of the setting sun illuminated the three dimensional clouds.

Camera in hand, I walked around the house, capturing the scintillating spring sky in every cardinal direction, reveling in this early "white night" sneak preview...

Beautiful sights indeed always await those who take the time to notice.

April 19, 2013

Raising The Old Anchor.

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'No' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. 
Steve Jobs

These days my mind keeps retuning to a time in my past, more than two decades ago. I was working at a university laboratory, fresh out of school, on the second year of my employment. Only twenty two years old, I enjoyed my life and the infinite, undefined future that laid ahead.

The laboratory had many members, anything from students and senior researchers to professors. Two of these were senior lab analysts, my colleagues - jovial, kind women, to whom I turned with questions and problems, when I was still very insecure in my profession and held very little experience in the science field. At that time, they have been employed there, at the same place, for over twenty years. I recall my infinite incomprehension of this fact. To me that time span accounted for a whole life time and the idea of being at the same location for such an eternity felt absolutely unimaginable. Indeed, about three years later, I left for the US, to work with my current employer.

Thus today, however outrageous that idea once seemed, I am exactly in their shoes, having worked for the same laboratory for twenty one years. There has been one relocation, the one that took me to Denmark, when my employer decided to go back home - but overall, I have been educated, trained and directed by the same man almost my whole professional life.

He brought out the hidden talents in me, gave me the opportunities to use my imagination and my skills and established an environment for me where I could thrive and flourish, excelling in the field of science with an incredible speed and endless success. He turned my work into my life and together with his wife, the couple became my best friends, a substitute family to a young girl far away from home. They became people I could - and still can today - count on one hundred percent to be there for me, should I ever need it.

Today I am one of the senior analysts in the lab.
I know where everything is, how everything works, as I am partly responsible for the overall running of the place. It is to me the young students turn with their troubles and problems. I am free to do whatever I like, I take days off at my fancy and decide my working hours. My work has always been the only constant in my life, something safe and secure. No matter how much my personal life changed, my professional life never did.

And yet, we all know that nothing ever stays the same, no matter how much we want - or expect it to. Along the way in life we make decisions that take us on novel paths, setting us on journeys that defy our world.
Thus all the choices I made in recent years in my private life slowly caused changes in my line of work as well, without me even noticing. At the onset, they were only ripples on the surface, but in time it became painfully apparent to me that the place of my employment, the one that has been my secure shelter and a solid anchor my whole adult life, has sadly played out its role...

In two weeks I will start a new job, for the first time in two decades. The emotion that encompass my being when I think about that fact is a wild mix of joy and fear.
There are days when I feel excited and happy about the prospect of a new start. I will still work in the research field, but my long commute will be cut by two hours every day, giving my personal life more freedom. However, the new position comes with responsibilities and a firm promise of hard work. I can not even recall any longer how it feels to work for someone else than my friend and my mentor and I wonder all the time whether I will be able to take direct orders from someone new - and whether he will find me competent in my skills.

Thus there are days when I wake up with a knot in my stomach, riddled with profound fear and anxiety, absolutely terrified and full of regrets. It feels as if I am to leave home again, for the first time since I was twenty, leaving my family for good, knowing I will miss them terribly.
I have made many outrageous changes in my life, but never before have I been so apprehensive about altering anything as I am today.

Somewhere deep within though, in the core of my very being, I know that I need to take this step, however scary it might seem. I need to say my thanks and my farewells and set out sailing anew.
I expect nothing and am prepared for everything, knowing hardship is linked to every change and things might get a lot worse before they get better. Yet hardship is what makes us grow and flourish, experiences have taught me that.
I believe that worst life is life lived with fear and I refuse to let fear of the unknown prevent me from embracing the very beauty of it. I try very hard to remember my own personal belief stating that change is what fuels our reality - I hope I will never get too scared to realize that.

Thus I have decided to raise my old anchor, the one that is rusty and buried in the depth of the sea, not having been moved for a very long time - a life time it seems. Yet the ship is still sail worthy and the ocean is open wide, thus lets sail into the unknown one more time.
I am confident that great adventures await.

Images: Photobucket

April 13, 2013

Dawn By iPhotography.

My daily run is slowly becoming a favorite part of my morning.
Not just because I love the exercise, but mostly due to the incredible natural beauty that meets my gaze. Watching a still landscape waking up to a stunning dawn is the most perfect way to start a new day.

I run with my iPhone in the pocket.
Initially, this was to check the time and provided me with a sort of security, as I venture into deserted fields. However, it has become a tool to document the enchanted beauty of panoramic views at sunrise.

Sadly, my little Nikon ceased functioning a couple of months ago, thus until I buy a new pocket camera, my phone seems to be a suitable substitute. Considering the quantum leap that technology has taken just in a few decades, I view every capture I snap with it as a true marvel. Ten years ago no one ever thought that a phone would be substituting point-and-shoot cameras.

My very first camera was made by Kodak and today it would be considered as ancient at the very best, but in 1982 it was a modern gadget. Of course, viewed with today's eyes, the pictures were of limited quality, nevertheless, I was fascinated by its simple process and by the sheer possibility of being able to the capture moments in time.
Unfortunately, when vacationing in the south of Europe one summer, I left it on the rooftop of my parents car at a rest stop. When I realized this some three hours later, I had to accept that it was lost forever.

Since then I have own many cameras - some inexpensive, some of better quality - yet my love for photography only grew.
Almost every day I take pictures of something that entices me, either using my beautiful Canon or my phone. The fact that I can take hundreds of shots and view them instantly will never cease to mesmerize me - anyone can be a photographer these days.
Still, I can at times get slightly sentimental recollecting the anticipation of the old film processing. Taking pictures in the past was just like a box of chocolates - you never knew what you were going to get.

Below: Images of an April dawn taken with my iPhone during my recent run, please click to enlarge.

And here below a sentimental walk down the memory lane - the old add for my first camera.:)

April 05, 2013

Siberian And Sunny.

Our first vernal month goes down in history as one of the coldest ever measured. Air streaming directly from Siberia has kept the atmospere frigidly cold and the ground snow covered - but our skies have been unusually sunny for weeks at end, accounting for a seventy year old record.
I have mixed feelings about the cold weather. Indeed it is unbearable when winter is endless, yet I rather have cold, sunny skies, then warm, rainy air.

Nevertheless, a change of seasons is in the process and spring has gotten one foot in. The sun is gaining in strength by each and every day and despite the temperatures hoovering around zero, I decided to bundle up and take a walk in our new neighborhood this past weekend.

We live at the outskirts of the town and thus very quickly I found myself leaving the residential area behind and I begun walking among empty fields. Despite the flat lands, the views came across as absolutely enchanting, my gaze tracing an endless horizon, as the vital sunshine warmed my face. Listening to the singing of the lark, a bird song so significant of these parts, I realized that vernal bloom was covering the surroundings and that unmistakable sense of spring saturated the air. That undefinable yet so tangible perception of awakenings at winters end.

My Walk
My hour long walk inspired me to take up running, something I gave up on last autumn. Thus just before sunrise, every morning this week, I set out onto the frost covered ground, into Siberian conditions, to greet a world that was still asleep. With the moon setting in the west and the imminent sunrise in the east, I ran on a path among barren fields, marveling at the natural beauty.
And as always, nature put my mind to ease...

A lot is occupying my thinking these days, some of the thoughts fill me with anxiety.
Somewhere deep within me there is a sadness gaining hold. The seasonal shift means that summer is getting closer and so is the departure of the man that I love.
Once again, we will be separated for four months and already now this weights heavy on my heart. Having tried it before is actually not making things any easier. Oddly enough, harder. I can only take consolation in my own strength, that one that I found last time around. And in the profound love that we share.

Thus new projects are being planned in my mind, to keep me occupied, the spirits up and the sinister thoughts at bay.
Gardening is on top of the list. 

Forgotten Hyacinths
Our garden is beautiful, but in a simple way and I definitely am not a simple gardener. There is a total lack of vernal bloom - no spring flowers adorn the flowers beds, something I truly miss. And yet, cleaning our greenhouse the other day, I stumbled upon a forgotten pot, left behind by the former owners. It was full of blue hyacinths. The bulbs have survived the winter and were blooming despite the lack of watering - I took it as subtle sign that everything will be well.

I am also planning to undertake a project involving a mural painting. There is a spot above the Provence inspired stove area in our kitchen, in form of a little alcove in the wall. It absolutely screams for a tranquil French still-life. I am indeed excited about the prospect of reviving my old hobby - painting. Right now I am in stages of planning and preparations, in search of suitable paint and motif.

Danish Passport
I have officially become Danish and that leaves me with a sense of a bittersweet finale. A door is closing upon the first half of my adult reality. Yet simultaneously another one is opening wide.
I went to a photographer having a picture taken for my new driving license and passport. I had to gasp when the photographer returned the images to me, as I met the gaze of a middle aged woman. What happened to that young girl that used to smile at me for a decade, every time I opened my old Swedish passport? I guess she is forever gone - but maybe that is not such a bad thing.

Aging used to bother me quiet a bit. It still does and probably always will, yet I have started to slowly surrender myself to time.
Would I like to be twenty again? I am not so sure. Life is short, yet the magic lies in its ephemerality. I have done exactly what I was suppose to do and what I wanted to do. I have no regrets and no need to go back in time.
Ultimately I will happily trade my youth for the privilege of unforgettable experiences and priceless knowledge.

Endless Views Near Our Home

The Same Views At Dawn - The Setting Moon
The Same Views At Dawn - The Rising Sun