This blue marble

– and yet it spins

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Snow and silence

molsbjerge-1No, this is not Canada. It is West Denmark, as high up as one can get. That means a mere 137 meters above sea level. And no, this photo is not from January. It is from late October, when we suddenly had a week of frost and snowfall. Except for on that particular day I am convinced that only the Mols Bjerge microclimate had proper snowfall and it was because we were there, in anything but winter hiking gear.

It was cold. It was wet. It was quiet. We stopped for knapsack lunch at a hikers’ shelter and wished we had brought matches to light a warming fire. The blue tits fluttering around the fireplace probably wished the same. I wished I had brought brandy for my tea.

On the path through a parkland we encountered a woolly cow and her baby. They were dressed for snowfall and frost. I was not. My woolly base layers, fleece gloves, and scarf were still back in Finland (how could it ever snow in Denmark in October?).

When I was not thinking of how cold I was, I could feel the silence creep under my skin. There is enough Finnishness in me to need to feel it from time to time, feel the silence of Nature under my skin. And there is no better time than winter, when even the birds have nothing to say to each other.molsbjerge-2(Mols Bjerge, Denmark; October 2018)

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In Antwerp

antwerpIt was October. And it was +25C in Antwerp. For those using the Fahrenheit scale, +25C means the treshold to proper summer heat. I walked across town, from the railway station to the hotel, at 10 pm at night. It was me and couples, walking arm in arm or hand in hand, taking a late-night shopping stroll or returning home from a weekday dinner in town. Antwerp is a cozy town for romance.

Unfortunately for me, Antwerp means work, every time. Even on balmy late-fall nights.

(Antwerp, Belgium; October 2018)

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Finally: the beach

jyllandbeachAfter wandering through a military area, stumbling into deer hunting ground, and being attacked by baby ticks, a picnic lunch by the beach seemed like a good idea.

A word of newly discovered experience (and warning): people really do add any and all kinds of tracks in Wikiloc. Perhaps the one we followed was an effort to trick foolish random hikers such as ourselves.

(Sondervig, Denmark; October 2018)

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By the pond

brandemoseThe pond in the Brande backs makes me think of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Perhaps it was more shaded by forest, but the size and tranquil feel is right.

Like with so much in Denmark, this is not the original, natural state of the environment. Brande’s heather moors and wetland were exploited for peat still just a century or less ago. The people dug such a deep hole that when they stopped working it filled up with water.

I try to not think about how this pond is man-made. Instead I try to think of Thoreau’s words: “Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.”

(Brande, Denmark; October 2018)

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Interlude: a small heartbreak

rcAfter two and a half months, it is still hard for me. These two adorable beings have found a new loving home. Hopefully for another 5 good years of elderly life. My heart broke, but I knew it was the same break I would eventually experience once they leave for good, in old age.

You see, Ramses never felt at home in the apartment in Denmark. He would not sleep, and would not let anyone, including the neighbors, sleep. He was happier in a cat hotel than he was at his new home with me. He spent the last three weeks on antidepressants, totally drugged and out of this world. It was heart-wrenching to see. His best friend Cassandra did not know what to do as her buddy was not completely mentally present. Moving was not possible as a short-term option. It would have been selfish to ask for these elderly kitties to keep up with the speed of frequent travel, moving every couple of years, varipus cat-sitters visiting, and weeks spent in cat hotels?

Since last October these two have peacefully and cozily cohabited in south Sweden with two furry guinea pig friends and three less furry human friends. Hugs and cuddles are not spared. And I am left wondering how life takes such unexpected kinks and turns.

(Brande, Denmark; January 2019)

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Before the green is gone

silkeborg-1Catching the last of the green before it is gone for the winter. And yes, there are forests in Denmark. Real ones, not just those plantations with one sort of trees planted in endless rows. silkeborg-6But (unfortunately) one must go looking for the natural forests. To Silkeborg, for example. silkeborg-7Oh, such a gorgeous backyard for the lucky people who live in Silkeborg. And how sad: this is what all of Denmark probably looked like before people got the bright idea to convert it into a flat, open-land agriculture nation.

This castle-hall pine tree forest below is definitely not in a natural state. But it is a plantation at its most beautiful (for the humans though, not the deer and smaller animals who have nowhere to hide). silkeborg-2(Silkeborg, Denmark; October 2018)