This blue marble

– and yet it spins


About happiness, again

flowersHow much does our happiness depend on others? How much is not happiness unless it is recognized and mirrored back by another person? And what happens when we hang our happiness on another person’s regard and acceptance of us?

Yet another day of doubting whether it is worth seeking happiness again. Or is lasting happiness really happiness at all, but rather a contentment, peace, and quiet joy?

(Flowers at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand; April 2011)

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The last warm day of the year

lastwarmday-1Summer warmth during the day does not fool anyone. The green grass by the waterline has a yellow tint and the half-submerged rocks are the lone companions of waves now that the water birds are gone. Only the dogs dare to swim.

While summer chooses to drop the battle and regain strength, elsewhere another fierce battle prevails. Victory has only one hand to extend, and after the game is over the dogs may not be the only ones swimming.

lastwarmday-2(Helsinki, Finland; September 2014)


Our blue marble


This blue marble may be the only planet we have, but it is also our playground, full of sand we can make castles of. Or draw pink river dolphins in. Or swim with the dolphins.

That beautiful place you’ve only seen in photos is really there, existing every day across the globe somewhere. What you consider a dream is everyday life and landscape for someone else. So why not set a date to go introduce yourself to that place and its inhabitants (dolphins or other)? mamiraua-14

(Amazon, Brazil; October 2012)

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What does it take to float?

amazon-1Each morning, as the sun rose, I sat on the porch with my tea cup and watched a couple of thousands cormorants fly past out to the river mouth. For twenty minutes the air was filled with streamlined black missiles flying without other sound than the whoosh of their wings, determined not to miss breakfast. Each afternoon, a few hours before sunset, the black mass of birds flew back in to sleep in the trees.

Cormorants are skilled divers; yet their innate state is to float on the water. But are they buoyant because of their bones or their plumage? If birds did not have feathers, would they sink?

(Mamiraua National Park, Amazon, Brazil; September 2012)

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Sibelius in the sunset

SibeliusWhen the September sun lay low over the wheat fields we drove into town for a moment of music. As the last light wandered across the window, the church filled with crisp snow falling, bears and wolves wandering in deep pine forests, Nordic mythical beings dancing, and always, always an ominous backdrop layered under a wistful allure.

Many composers painted feelings. Jean Sibelius covered the canvas with nature landscapes. Sitting in the church pew I wondered whether Sibelius was a painter or a composer. Perhaps he saw tones where painters saw colors. Perhaps he was the most skilled painter, able to do what canvas painters never could: a bear illustrated by sound will ultimately conjure an image of a live, moving bear in our minds.

While dusk overtook the sunset, the double basses unleashed the bear’s heavy walk in the woods, followed by the celloes that sketched a fox trotting over the grass. And then the creatures were gone, overtaken by the wind in the pine trees, and my contemplations of the sinister undertow and what the inner world of Sibelius must have contained.

(Loviisa, Finland; September 2014)