This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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Morning in Gothenburg

After a magical moonrise there was an almost equally magical sunrise, in Gothenburg.

After the silence I stood on a stage in front of a conference room filled with people. Through the bright lights on stage I could sense the confusion, the questions, and the timidity of an organization that has gone through a dismantling and rebuilding in the past year. While I did not know the people in the room I sensed the need for a purpose.

And I thought of how professional organizations are more like collective individuals than families. A family’s main purpose is to support each member, but an individual or an organization needs a higher, more defined purpose to reach for.

If we have no purpose to strive for together, we will not be brought together in union. And if there is no union there is discord, or dullness.

Some say that the second best may be to improve the world, but the highest best is to improve oneself from the inside. Yet, when people work together with a noble purpose, they improve both the world as well as themselves in ways they never thought possible.

The sun was high when I left the conference room and my new friends. I look forward to keeping closer contact and observing them recreate a new, fresh sense of purpose.

(Gothenburg, Sweden; August 2016)


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Day escape

It was the last real summer’s day in Helsinki, as it turned out later. And sadly, this day came already early in August. But our timing was perfect, and so was the tabbouleh and the cheese cake and the temperature of the prosecco in the coolbox. Is there a better way to celebrate a family birthday than by having a picnic by the shore, with this view of the Helsinki skyline? 
(Vasikkasaari, Helsinki, Finland; August 2016)


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Interlude: in Tallinn

 There was a day off. And visitors from far away. A fast ferry across the Gulf of Finland to Tallinn, some rain, and lots of walking.

There was talk about food culture, and a restaurant owned in Manila. And great food of course. There was talk about making an international career as a woman……And there was talk about the world of men, old wars and new wars, and how recent changes in Russian relationships with some European countries are similar to China’s relationships to small Asian countries like the Philippines.

But most importantly there was time for another random get-together in a random European country. And the sun came out, too.

(Tallinn, Estonia; August 2016)


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Yogi toes

Nobody spends so much time staring on his or her toes as do those who practise yoga asana. How sad it is, then, that we tend to neglect these parts of our body that patiently carry us all day, every day. Usually in shoes that demand the impossible. And feet are the ones that ground us – or lift us up. They are just too far from our nose for us to acknowledge and respect them properly. Which is often closer than another person.

It is only when one spends a good hour staring at one’s feet several times a week, that one discovers how they really are doing and feeling. And even if they are doing fine, isn’t it nice to stare at something pretty and green? Or interesting – I have been entertaining the thought of having someone draw a miniature comic strip on my toes, for that extra drishti concentration.

(Helsinki, Finland; August 2016)


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Sleepover at the Queen’s

windsorQuestion of the day: how does one get an invite to the Queen’s PJ party, also called Dine and Sleep? I hear she throws an occasional bash according to a strict schedule: the guests always arrange and depart by the same trains. And after-dinner discussions are short, but they are with the Queen of England after all. In gone times one could be invited to stay for days, but as our daily pace has quickened, so has the pace at Windsor castle.

But oh, how lovely would it not be to spend one night walking the magnificent halls and gardens? And then perhaps hide in a greenhouse until the train has left, and keep walking…

(Above Windsor castle, United Kingdom; July 2016)


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Summertime and the living is easy

blueberrypieSometimes there are too many telephones, televisions (but none at my place), and people in the world. And too little flowers, dragonflies, and songbirds. And if one must work in July, what is better than to work in a summer house by the corner of a pea field? What is relaxing for humans is exciting for cats, so moving home and office into the countryside is never a bad choice.tarzan

(Loviisa, Finland; July 2016)


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In Grantchester

grantchesterI only know that you may lie
Day long and watch the Cambridge sky,
And, flower-lulled in sleepy grass,
Hear the cool lapse of hours pass,
Until the centuries blend and blur
In Grantchester, in Grantchester. . . .

(From Rupert Brooke’s “The Old Vicarage”)

The old church clock may no longer stand ten to three; Jeffrey and Mary Archer live in Rupert Brooke’s old vicarage; and swimming is no longer allowed in the all-around-fenced Byron’s pool. But there is always honey for tea in the Grantchester Orchard tea garden. Just like it was at the turn of the 20th century when a group of Cambridge students bothered the lady owning the orchard for tea so many times she opened a café (teaé perhaps, for here it’s all about the tea and scones) under the shade of her trees.

“And Cambridgeshire, of all England, the shire for Men who Understand”, wrote Rupert Brooke and longed for home while feeling stuck in Berlin. Under the shade of the fruit trees one could imagine the world a better place “and feel the Classics are not dead”, especially if one was in the company of Virginia Woolf, Rupert Brooke, Ludwig Wittgenstein, John Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell, and EM Forster.

And it was Brooke who created the legend of Lord Byron’s pool: “till in the dawnlit waters cool his ghostly Lordship swims his pool, and tries the strokes, essays the tricks, long learnt on Hellespont, or Styx.”

The best thing about Grantchester is that it is never sadness to leave, because the walk along the “yet unacademic stream” back to Cambridge is pure loveliness. And each time I am left wondering, why ever did I leave Cambridgeshire?Cambridge

(Cambridge, United Kingdom; July 2016)