This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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When everything is mud-licious

mudlicious

in Just-
spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman
whistles          far          and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it’s
spring
when the world is puddle-wonderful
the queer
old balloonman whistles
far          and             wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
it’s
spring
and
         the
                  goat-footed
balloonMan          whistles
far
and
wee
(e. e. cummings)

mudlicious-2(Loviisa, Finland; April 2019)


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Hills in Denmark (really)

hills-1There are hills in Denmark. Really. It is not all flat. Only, the hills are hiding here on Jutland, far away from Copenhagen and Odense and where most visitors go.

The highest spot in Denmark is just short of 171 m tall, in Skanderborg. Probably far taller than the one we climbed today, in Silkeborg. But the view is just as magnificent.hills-2(Silkeborg, Denmark; March 2019)


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Snowdrops

snowdropsSnowdrops are champions of spring. Although in most of Europe they flower in winter, before spring equinox. Apparently they are not supposed to be native of Denmark but that has not stopped them from taking over this little town.

Snowdrops are literally sweet: they are filled with sugar which acts like an antifreeze against cold snowy mornings. Should one taste a snowdrop? No, as it is a narcissus – and those are poisonous at least to us humans.

(Brande, Denmark; March 2019)


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Hot wall

hetvaggHetvägg (”hot wall”). With marzipan. Just like it used to be for hundreds of years. While most people in Finland prefer their bun dry in hand, mine definitely likes hot milk better.

This is what people relish in the Nordic countries on Shrove Tuesday (called Fat Tuesday in Swedish). In Finland the day is “laskiainen”, an untranslatable “sliding day”. Not only because one begins the slide towards Easter and spring, but quite literally because one is supposed to rush down snowy hills with one’s behind seated on a coaster or in a plastic sled, regardless of one’s age and bone health.

Therefore, a Finnish or Swedish Shrove Tuesday is also celebrated with hot pea soup – and possibly a sip of arrack punch.

(Helsinki, Finland; March 2019)


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Danish outdoors: missed out by many

BranderiverThis little town has many great picnic spots. I cannot wait for warmer weather and lazy days on the grass with a good book, or in good company. The Danes do not seem to enjoy the great outdoors much, unless they are into mountain biking or have a dog that needs to attend to its business. Most evenings the gravel and forest trails are empty, save for those few dog walkers, and me and about three other runners. On Sundays the busiest time is before 2 pm, when families go for a leisurely stroll (even without dogs). And what is nearly unthinkable here in the dark Nordic winter: all gravel walks and trails are without artificial lighting, so enjoying the outdoors after dark is quite unpleasant.

The hiking trails are nearly empty compared to Finland. And so are all these beautiful picnic spots. At least this time of year. The Danes do not know what they are missing.
Brandebacks-spring-3(Brande, Denmark; February 2019)