Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #159 – Postcards

This week Ana invites us to the world of postcards! I am old enough to have received and sent hundreds of postcards, but I admit I haven’t kept them all. – Ana says: ”You can show us some of your pictures that you would send as postcards to someone you love. Or you can simply share with us images of your favorite places.

If you have a garden full of flowers, show us a beautiful and colorful collection of floral postcards. It doesn’t need to be your garden, It can also be your neighbour’s.

If you have some real postcards it would be great if you would like to share them with us, I’m sure they have a nice story behind them.”

I was so thrilled by this theme, that I immediately went looking for my box of postcards – even though I knew I had not kept but a fraction of all I got over the years. As we have rearranged everything in the cellar the last year, they were not easily found – but finally I did.

I will start though, with a couple of my own images, that I would have loved to send as postcards to my friends – from the Verzasca valley in Italy and from Reykjavik. They have something important to say about their place, with no words needed on the picture page – only on the other side of the picture. I used to write quite a lot when I sent my cards, loving to reveal details and experiences. Nowadays the joy is not the same – I agree with Ana – sending an mms is another story…

My box opened, I sat for hours today, in memories, reading messages from near and far, from people long since gone, old friends, collegues and relatives. Birthday greetings, words of wisdom…the upper card on the right saying:

Life is not about the days we have lived, but the days we remember.

I picked some different cards, from people I love and loved, and remember some places where I have been a visitor myself as well. The Acores I have been to several times – and always loved it. But this card comes from our neighbours who toured the world (in 2003 I think). Sometimes the cards are not dated, and the stamp not clear enough to read.

Tenerife and Teide was a yearly visit when the children grew up. Wonderful nature and not much snow wintertime…We often went with friends and children the same age as ours. The lovely Moomin valley in Finland was such a treat – for us grown-ups as well! Many Swedish families visited Finland when the Moomin series were on TV.

Bretagne shows a postcard in a postcard – rather beautiful I think. And then Kashmir, my cousin worked for many years in Pakistan and the area around there, as an ambulance nurse. He sent me cards to calm me down – showing he was still alive. So, the reason for sending cards vary!

The green, middle card, is from a painting made by a local artist – now dead since long. But I met him several times, a very special man. He had a nice pottery too. The forest motif was painted from my home forest.

The last two cards both came with encouraging messages from dear friends. One soft and sweet, the other one fiery – Cards And Senders… In fact I find it interesting to notice how different people pick so different cards to send. And handwriting – that is no more – was an amazing way of showing your personality. Times gone by…

As for the opener, I have featured a postcard from my daughter when I finally had set up my glass house – Oh, the joy! So, in my family, we still send handwritten messages to each other. Feeling the warmth!

Thank you, Beth, for taking us along so many lovely country roads! Please visit the excellent work done by all the previous guest hosts this month:

John Steiner of Journeys With Johnbo – “On the Water

Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed – “Black and White

Rusha Sams of Oh The Places We See – “Getting Away

Beth Smith of Wandering Dawgs – “Along Back Country Roads

Remember to link to Ana’s post and use the Lens Artists tag. Next week, we will return to our regular schedule.  On Saturday, August 7, Patti will host LAPC #160 Your inspiration, which can be a place, a subject, a person, a book–just about anything that inspires you.

Until then – stay kind and safe.

Lens-Artists Challenge #158 – Along Back Country Roads

Beth is our guest host this week, and for this challenge she is asking us to show our interpretation of going along a back country road. It can be any road that’s off the beaten track.

My opener is a photo taken long ago, of one of my favourite roads ever. It was a late summer evening, and the last warm sun rays made the whole world golden. I can still feel the air that night.

Last week, as we finally went for a short trip to dear friends some 300 miles from home, we had to drive far out along lovely country roads. We had some trouble finding their house this time, because the world becomes so different when all the trees are cut down…

They live on a beautiful lake named Grecken, and luckily their window lights were easily discerned in the soft darkness falling. So, we found our way.

I have tried to assemble some of my favourite country roads, and I easily realise that almost all of them go through pure farmland. Not surprising at all… Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong…

The most lovable country road should be a gravel road, with grass in the middle. I am lucky to have some of those special roads close to me. As Beth mentioned – I would have wanted to follow every one of them to find out where they are leading to.

Last autumn we walked some new roads nearby. (There are always new old roads!) This one is said to be one of Skånes most beautiful country roads.

My forest in winter, and the tractor road.

I have to finish with a real winter road. The winter roads in powdery snow always make my heart beat extra hard – because we don’t have them every year anymore. And, they can be dangerous too. Careful driving!

Hope you are inspired to come along! If you do, in your post, please include a link to Beth’s original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so everyone can find your post in the WordPress reader. Be sure to check out the first three guest hosted challenges.

John Steiner of Journeys with JohnBo – On the Water

Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed – Black and White

Bert and Rusha Sams of Oh the Places we see – Getting Away

Thank you, for letting us get away with Bert and Rusha last week! Next week on July 31, please visit Ana Campo of Anvica’s Gallery for her challenge – “Postcards.”

I’m looking forward to seeing where your back country roads have taken you!

Thursday Thoughts – Yesterday

Yesterday my beloved grandmother would have turned 110 years old. I brought her flowers from my garden. Her favourites were marguerites and cornflowers, and poppies among them. Only cornflowers are alive now that the marguerites and the poppies are gone. Those where the flowers she met in the fields as a young girl. And I am sure they were among the first flowers she ever layed her eyes upon.

She was a hard working woman – never lazy, up early and in bed late. She and my grandfather had an extensive orchard, growing currants (more than 200 bushes), but also plum trees, apple trees, pear trees, cherries. And potatoes, carrots, strawberries, raspberries, beans and sugar peas too. And rabbits. And flowers. Children and grandchildren all helped with the summer and autumn harvest.

I know that is where my love for the land and its fruits come. I know that is the reason why I love green, to see things grow and develop into the wonders they were meant to be.

I used to love growing people as well – young people developing the wings needed to fly free into the world.

When I think about Time, how much has passed and what might be left, I feel a bit sad in the midst of happy memories. But that is Life. As the Bible says, there is a time for everything.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #147 – Gardens

This week Amy has set a beautiful challenge – Gardens. Normally this would have meant so much joy for me to put together, but time and life is bringing too many changes and challenges right now.

Anyhow, here we go – I decided to once again visit my favourite garden – I call it the Garden of My Dreams – because it is, in more than one sense. For its abundant beauty, biodiversity and – for it being lost and is no more.

The old couple who owned it, travelled the world for rare plants and brought them home to their garden in the forest.
I used to visit now and then, and they always loved a quiet chat and a walk through their Paradise. The little old man was an avid birder as well, and he put up homes for the birds in his garden as well as in the forest. He also banded the birds and tracked them every year. So… whenever I post on such a little home, you can be almost sure it was made by his hard working hands.

Now, let’s enjoy a nostalgic walk from the past together. And remember, these wonders are just a few of what this amazing garden would offer!

Thank you for walking down memory lane with me.

Sincere thanks to all who responded to last week’s Focus on the Details challenge. We enjoyed every detail you offered and hope you will share more for this week’s challenge. Please be sure to link your response to Amy’s lovely original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find you in our reader. Wishing all the moms a Happy Mothers’ Day filled with love and beauty.

Next week, I, Leya, will be your host. I wish you all a calm and peaceful weekend.

Lens-Artists Challenge #139 – Special Moments

This week, we will look beyond the life-changing events and share some other special moments and what they mean to us, Tina says. I think we all have so many of them…It will be hard to choose, but I will try to pick some unforgettable ones …

A moment of solitude and contemplation on this small crater island of the Azores. Walking up the mountain, we did not know what to expect when turning around the bend… but the scenery was breathtakingly beautiful – The feeling of floating free in this silent universe. Blue hydrangeas, blue sky and blue ocean – and us flying on a green, tiny spot in the middle of it all… Otherworldly.

The Pothala palace is representing the Dream-Come-True moments in my life. I have been so lucky as to have a few of those. So, I finally arrived in Tibet, after some 40 years since I read about Shangri-La in Lost Horizon, the 1933 novel by James Hilton, and saw the movie Lost Horizon from 1937. They represented the enigmatic and enchanting world out there…far away from my home and far away from any landscape I had ever been. I was lost for words – and breath – in the thin air.

April 2017, and I met Michael Lindnord and Arthur. The Swedish multi sport team were in Ecuador 2014, trying to win the world championships. Instead the team leader, Mikael Lindnord, found that in the middle of the jungle, his team of four had got a fifth member…Arthur. Mikael had never had a dog of his own and never thought of getting one – he was a tough athlete and a determined leader for his team. But, all it took was one meatball…

King Arthur. He owned the place from the first second he entered the room. I loved every minute of being close to him, touching him and listening to their story. Seeing the very special bond between Mikael and Arthur.

Mikael himself says that Arthur stands for Hope.  The Lindnord family have also started a fund for homeless dogs in Ecuador – There is hope for many ill treated and abused dogs with people like Mikael, who was prepared to even let go of his team’s victory to save this dog’s life. Mikael says he recognized himself in Arthur that very first day…they both stand tall, they never give up. So, how could he let Arthur down, when the dog put all his trust in him ?

December 9, 2020, Arthur passed away from an aggressive cancer, 13 years old. 2021 is the startup for shooting the Hollywood movie – ArthurThe King, with Mark Wahlberg starring together with a not yet chosen dog to play Arthur. I am looking forward to seeing it – hopefully cinemas will be open by then…

I can honestly say, that no other journey in my life gave me more special moments than the one to Arthur’s home country, Ecuador. Sailing along the Napo River in the Amazon and in the Galápagos Islands.

I could not stop watching them, all these little seabirds following our sailing boat in Ecuador. They could actually walk, run and stand still on the water! This is the smallest seabird in the world – an Elliot’s Storm-Petrel. Another enigmatic fact is that no nesting site for these birds has ever been found…

The stay at Sacha Lodge on a quiet lake – open to all the sounds of the jungle – still echoes in my mind today, 5 years later. Silent canoing through the tangled forest, watching swarms of monkeys foraging in the trees, jumping and playing. And the tiny Paradise Tanager – shooting veritable neon lightings in the trees – (I only managed to capture a couple of them in a photo) The first glimpse of the flock was very special – they moved faster than Chip ‘n’ Dale juggling around with the colourful Christmas baubles – and Pluto trying to handle the situation…

So, I will end with the late evening climb up in the Kapok tree, staying for the day’s last hours watching the sun set over the Amazon Basin. Imagine the sounds, the light, the soft warmth, the birds and the monkeys calling each other…I have never slept better in my entire life, than I did in the Amazon jungle.

Finally, a big Thank You for the inspirational set of Natural Lights, and hopefully you will join in for some special moments too! Please link to Tinas original post, and add the Lens-Artists tag.

Next week we’re excited to announce Beth of Wandering Dawgs as our Guest Host. Be sure to stop by and check out her always-interesting blog. Until then, stay safe and be kind.

Lens-Artists Challenge #129 – Favourite Photos of 2020

Our team is back and we wish you welcome to 2021. This New Year comes with much hope for the future. Maybe more than ever –

It was as if the land opened its lips and breathed again, and was made anew.
― Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Our “Favorite Images of the Year ” challenge will be a bit different – as this whole year, 2020, has been different. No visits to foreign lands or faraway places. Instead it opens for images that tell something of our own journey for 2020. For me, this year meant living in my bubble, struggling to stay reasonably sane. So much less camera…and so much less energy – but still, here’s my year through lens and sense.

I begin with my absolute favourite image for 2020 – the broken window with wine leaves and the last rays of sun. From here I will travel backwards in time, down to when it all started, somewhere in January/February.

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
― Oprah Winfrey

A friend of mine said to me, ”…this image is like a symbol of 2020: restriction and restraint for everything beautiful.” Maybe so, but, being a person who constantly seeks beauty, I will always try to find it, and to portray it – no matter what.
Letting ourselves and the dogs as free as possible – giving room and space for more uplifting thinking. We are fortunate to live near nature and the possibility to spend several hours a day in the great outdoors.
One of the few sunny minutes this autumn. For several years I have tried to catch this road in its Autumn glory – and finally, the golden moment arrived. Unfortunately this happened on one of my ”low” days, so, I felt… nothing of the expected joy. Still, here it is – the once much longed for image…
This year brought many opportunities for close-ups and macro photography – finding new worlds in small spaces. Never has William Blake’s words rung more true to me:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 

And Eternity in an hour

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. —Lao Tzu

In September my mother left us. Unexpectedly and unforeseen. And Autumn darkness at the door. After the funeral I went from feeling low to feeling exhausted and powerless. No recharging at hand. Even on our hikes I seldom brought my camera.

And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that never were.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke

A highlight in the autumn darkness was the visit to IFÖ center and the artists’ studios there. I brought my camera… Creativity is contagious – not dangerous.
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Cicero

My garden was a special joy this summer. And I finally got my glasshouse – hopefully there will be new plants in spring!
The beginning is always today.—Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

New life is slowly growing where my forest once was. I clearly remember this uplifting day watching the clouds sailing low, like cottonballs dropped from the sky.
NO treat beats an outing with my daughter and son.
This year I discovered the swirl through some other bloggers – and loved juggling with it. I even made a none favourite animal look more handsome. (Still not a favourite though…) So, swirling became a distraction from the nightmare situation in the world.
Every moment is a fresh beginning. —T.S. Eliot

A new hiking area – we walked all familiar areas and even some new ones this Spring. Nothing compares to Mother Nature when it comes to healing. A sunny day, open fields, lovely old houses – the closest we could get to an ordinary day and a normal life.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – Khalil Gibran

In the sandy soil of southwestern Skåne…you will find the most beautiful of spring flowers – the Pasqueflower. Only about 7 centimeters high, but abundant here. It felt comforting to lie down and touch the earth, knowing it is still there…

I was fortunate to attend a spectacular event – letting two young Eurasian eagle-owls take off for freedom! And how I wished I could just fly away with them.
Waiting for the train in Stockholm. On that train home from Umeå, I learned about the new Corona virus’ arrival in the world. Everything turned sci-fi, and I was shivering to the bones. My husband was traveling somewhere in Asia, and I texted him to return home immediately.

A lovely winter’s morning before the world changed… before everything we knew as normal was … gone.

In retrospect, I realize I have made more images than I knew of… despite this invisible invader and its impact on all our lives. Now we can only wish the vaccine will help us come back to easier and brighter days. The wiser. The first thing I would do… is go to a café for a nice cup of coffee and a tasty piece of cake – and quietly sit down to watch smiling people passing by.

We are excited to announce that next week’s challenge will be guest hosted by Slow Shutter Speed’s Anne Sandler. Do stop by her blog this week to see her beautiful photography and don’t miss her post next Saturday at noon EST.

May 2021 bring peace, health, and happy moments to us all. We look forward to seeing Your favorite images of 2020 and understanding why you’ve chosen them. Please link them to Tina’s original post, and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. As always, we greatly appreciate your continued support of our challenge and the inventive creativity of your responses.

Lens-Artists Challenge #128 – And Here Comes the Holiday Season…

A strange, surreal Holiday Season. For many of us, it will be very different from earlier years.

I know many creative plans are being made to make these celebrations work – somehow and anyway. This last LAPC challenge, of the strange year 2020, is all about your Holiday Season. So what will your holidays look like? What are your plans and/or memories? Will you create new traditions or will you just ”survive” this one, looking forward to a ”normalized” celebrating next year?

For me, the holidays are all about Christmas – memories of Christmases gone by and what Christmas really, essentially means to me. What traditions can still be kept this year, and what will I have to let go of…

Well, let us begin… be my guest!

”So this is Christmas…” – John Lennon and Yoko Ono – is always present when we are decorating the Christmas tree. In Sweden we celebrate Christmas, even though not many of us are truly religious. But the message is much the same – Imagine… Wishes for Peace and Harmony. Caring for family and each other – Love for everything living. Gratitude.

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To me, Christmas also means discussing, listening to music and playing games together. Happy music, classical music, religious music…

Street music, Lodz
Piano a’ la Yayoi Kusama

Candle light was made for these the darkest days of winter. Lights in our windows are glowing the whole day – to chase the darkness away. Today’s sunrise was 8.34 AM – and sunset 15.35 PM. No complaining when I compare to my daughter Emma’s situation in Umeå: 9.27 AM and 13.45 PM. (But where I live, the sun has not shown its face for the last two months.)

Adding – just listening to the news it seems people are decorating their houses double up this year – I too bought new lights for the path up to our door…75 meters!

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. – Buddha

So far, these holidays look much the same as every year. But, Imagine Covid19 was over and gone …. then more of the happy celebrating would come alive – Going to Denmark for delicious food, coffee and cake, attending Christmas markets, traveling to beautiful places, finding snow again – at least for the Christmas card photos… and having the youngsters back for baking, laughing and pottering!

Luckily we Will have three youngsters here with us this holiday season – which makes me truly happy. Corona safe, no hugging or kissing. I know many families with mixed generations have booked barbecue places to eat outdoors in recreation areas. A very good idea.

The greatest differences will be the lack of hugs and kisses. And, our mother and grandmother will not be here with us to celebrate. Her photo is standing where she used to sit at the table, with a candle lit by her side. Maybe she Is watching us somehow, from somewhere. I’d like to think she is.

The much longed for light will slowly return, starting with the Winter Solstice, December 21. This year has made it crystal clear just how much we have to be grateful for – and how little we can take for granted.

Please include a link to my post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader. We look very much forward to seeing your creative work!

Special thanks to Amy for her beautiful “Precious Moments.” And thank You for sharing with us so many positive and loving moments! Smiles and tears in a beautiful mix.

Finally we send our deepest and most grateful Thank You to you all for being an endless inspirational resource this special year, 2020. Hopefully we have helped each other stay reasonably sane in a crazy world. I want to close with John Lennon’s words in:

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

………………………………………..

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

……………………………………….

– someday soon we hope this invisible enemy, Corona and Covid19, will be defeated too –

Have you seen these:

KFBuchsbaum posted a Christmas card treasure

Big and small moments with Mei-Mei of Jedi by Night

Get starstruck at David M’s Photoblog

Announcement:  We’ll be on break until January 2nd at which point our theme will be Favorite Photos of 2020.

Short Note: There have been issues with WP pingbacks not working. If you don’t receive a reply or a comment from us, please let us know.

Thursday Thoughts – Winter Memories

Today we went to the forest again, dreaming of frosty days and snow …

Like it was only two years ago – Milo and I could walk forever…
I cannot tell you how much I miss that crispy air…
… and the powdery snow

Milo was a youngster – I think it must have been a long time ago…