This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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Cold snap in Helsinki

In the middle of all the snow and cold I left quarantine for just 24 hours in Helsinki. Some potentially useful tips for getting through -20C or lower temperatures:

  1. Don’t buy fresh herbs or lettuce if you have to walk home. They freeze (and then wilt) within minutes.
  2. Don’t take your face mask off between shops, as the humidity condensed on your mask and face will freeze.
  3. Do put your smartphone and any other electronic device close to your skin. A handbag is out of the question, and even a jacket pocket most likely won’t do – the device will freeze and die very quickly.
  4. Four more words: technical wear, and long underwear (including long-johns and glove liners). Function before fashion, otherwise freezing is inevitable.

(Helsinki, Finland; January 2021)


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Snowed in

Apologies for the crappy image quality, but this was taken late at night, with a smartphone, in heavy wet snowfall. After about an hour’s worth of shoveling. That thing there is not a spade but a sizable sleigh shovel, and the heaps I pushed through reached my waist.

Unfortunately, after all my hard labor, the wind filled everything up during the night. Even more unfortunate was that they forgot to clear the road passing the cottage and my parents’ house, in both directions, thus we were snowed in for two days. Makes me long for climate change to come sooner.

(Loviisa, Finland; January 2021)


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First snow

In Finnish, the opposite to a white christmas is a “black christmas”. This year, we barely had a snow cover thus perhaps it was a “gray christmas”? And after the holidays, it began to snow.

And it did not stop.

It snowed for days, which meant we had to shovel snow every morning. Leaving the house before the snow plow was difficult, both on foot and on wheels. We did not get a white christmas, but we sure did get a white winter.

(Loviisa, Finland; January 2021)


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In Frederiksberg Gardens

The beauty of Frederiksberg Gardens was once curated to the extent that no one poorly dressed was allowed in. And like a proper English landscape garden, the curves of the waterways are just a little too neat to be natural, and the tall waterfall looks gorgeous and natural – but out of place in flat Denmark. English garden styling is like the ideal image of natural beauty.

Scattered here and there between the trees, dozens of great gray herons hunker down for winter, standing like statuettes, necks warmly folded under the neck feathers. In windy Denmark, Frederiksberg Gardens is probably a nice resting place for birds. And on a cold Saturday in November, the park is a perfect place for a leisurely walk, some headspace, and good conversation.

(Copenhagen, Denmark; November 2020)


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Around Damhussøen

Saturday sun felt like the first bright day in a month. What a nice day to saunter around the lake in Vanløse with a friend. There were swans, dog-walkers, and yellow leaves on the gravel road. And there was much head-shaking between the two of us, about how this year turned our lives upside down in such profound ways.

In the bleak but welcome November afternoon sun, we concluded that life still tasted good. So did the tea, cake, and waffles.

(Copenhagen, Denmark; November 2020)


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Like an oil painting

I stopped by the little lake on my daily route around the park. With the yellow, falling leaves and deeply overcast sky it looked like from an old, English countryside oil painting. Except that it was so much more rich and detailed.

I sometimes forget I am not in a central European country but in the Nordics – because the Nordic, impenetrable spruce thickets and lofty halls of pine trees are all missing. Even on Jylland, the coniferous forests consist of trees planted in rows. But that is okay, because the parklands in Denmark are beautiful, especially now.

(Copenhagen, Denmark; November 2020)


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Brief interlude in Malmö

This warm, late September Saturday was my fourth time eating in a restaurant this year (wow!). Outside, while it still wasn’t too cold, behind the plexiglass shielding us from the Öresund strait winds.

On returning to Denmark, we were reminded to don our masks, in the train. Like all other times this year I was prepared with Danish health insurance card, apartment rental agreement, and Finnish passport, but the border control station at Copenhagen airport was closed and entry was free. How luxurious and uncomplicated, in 2020.

(Malmö, Sweden; September 2020)