Waiting for Green – Life in Colour

So much fun with Jude’s challenge – I found two whole galleries. Maybe the sign for how much I long for green right now?

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, now…

For Debbie’s SixWordSaturday. The photo was taken through a stained glass mirror.

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 Photo Challenge #127 Precious Moments

Amy is hosting this week, and she says: ”This week, as we are approaching the end of 2020, let us share some of the precious moments we have had, before or during the pandemic.”

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? – Mary Oliver

So, my images are all from before the pandemic – when planning was possible.

Vielha, Spain

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. – Marcus Aurelius

Sunrise, Fryksås, Orsa Lake, Dalarna

Frosty morning, Hovdala meadows

The most precious resource we have is time. – Adam Neumann

Birthday

Life is short, and every moment is precious. – Gad Saad

Sand sculptures, Denmark

Levada hiking, Madeira

My favourite class graduating (Immediate connection and some of them are still in contact with me)

Stray dog and friend, Georgia

Christmas market, Skåne

We invite you to share your own precious moments, from traveling, holidays or with family and friends. Include a link to Amy’s post here and use the lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find your post in the WP Reader. We look forward to seeing your creative work.

Special thanks to Patti for her inspirational “Subjects That Begin with the Letter A.” Marvelous!

Finally – stay tuned for December 19, when I, Leya, will be your host. Until then, be safe and well.

Thursday Thoughts – Younger Days II

I was born and raised in a tiny village, consisting of about 15 houses situated on a ridge above the school house. Here I spent every day of my first 12 years, climbing and running, strolling and roaming the farm land, meadows and forests. I had a happy childhood.

This is the gate I climbed every day – or, this might be a newer one, but it still looks the same to me… There are huge stones in the meadow above, and we used to bring buns and milk to feast on when we had finished climbing and settled on top of the highest one. To us they were mountains – but in reality, boulders from the ice age, left here when the ice moved away.

In this house lived the grandmother of my best friend at school, and her grandson (my friend’s elder brother). A small farm I loved to walk up to every day. My own grandmother’s house was just 5 minutes down the road.
Maybe you remember I posted before on this barn, the cats and a duck behind the yellow door. My childhood friend’s brother still lives here, but the farm animals are not that many anymore. He always keeps his ”Grålle” tractor (Ferguson) in excellent shape.
They used to have sheep, pigs, geese, hens, rabbits, cats and dogs. There’s only two sheep left, a duck and … loads of cats. Being a farmer is a tough life, so it has got to be a ”living your dream” scenario. It takes All of you to manage and make it thrive.
But the two sheep seemed happy in their golden meadow, and the farmer – well, he was just like I remembered him from younger days. I will return a sunny day in spring so we can climb some stones again. That would be just great.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #113 – A Labor of Love

First of all – thank you for so many inventive, creative and fun interpretations of last week’s challenge – Pick a Word! Fabulous!

Rusha Sams of Oh the Places We See is our host this week, and she has chosen to highlight all those people who work for a better society and a better world. A Labor of Love.

As so many of us do these days, I think of the health care workers, police and firefighters – all those brave people helping us in this unruly world. But my thoughts also go to all those who work for a sustainable world and helping vulnerable species to survive – because biodiversity is essential to us all. Without biodiversity we will all perish and our planet is lost. Even if we are living in a pandemic now, we know that other problems will not go away – we have to fight them all, simultaneously. Tough. But, the pandemic is also a result of how humans have abused and misused Nature and our only home, planet Earth.

In the header, the dotterel beach in Coromandel.

In 2016 we went to Ecuador, the Amazon Basin and the Galapagos Islands. Threatened already then by the oil industry and new settlers burning down the rainforest, but little did we know of the many fires that would arrive through mismanagement and the pandemic.

A vast piece of jungle was once bought by a man from the Netherlands who wanted to save it from getting destroyed. We stayed at his eco-lodge with local people guiding and lecturing about herb medicine and Amazon plants and animals. These people were born and raised here, lived here and knew the jungle like the back of their hand.

They took us out on crystal clear waters…
…silent canoe days
…and if not out on the waters – then bird watching high above the Amazon jungle.
Luis was one of our skilled guides, helping us find essential plants for cuisine and health. This was certainly a Labour of Love for him – a way of helping his people, animals and plants survive. He could also recognize and identify several hundreds of different bird sounds.
For Andi, his Labor of Love meant that several villages could survive – and thrive.
This journey is the most highly treasured one of all my journeys through 47 years. To see these people’s loving faces in preserving and teaching about their natural environment was a great joy and to learn how deep their knowledge is of Nature’s secrets was truly humbling. Knowledge and skills of this kind can only be yours if you are born and raised here. I am forever grateful to have met them all.

”We hope you’ll join us in sharing your interpretations of “A Labor of Love” whether you showcase a person or a group or an object notable for the labor or laborer involved.” Publish your post and add your link to the Comments section at the bottom of Rusha’s post. Please don’t forget to add the tag Lens-Artists so you can be found in the Reader.

Next week we will be back on schedule, and Amy will be our host for challenge #114. Until then – stay well and be kind. To yourself as well.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #112 – Pick a Word…

Pick a word and illustrate it with a photo! This used to be a favorite challenge of mine when held by Paula of Lost in Translation. Unfortunately she is not running it anymore. So – how about a revival at Lens-Artists? It is easy: Choose one (1) word or more – choose all of them if you like! The words available are the following:

Comfortable

Growing

Tangled

Crowded

Exuberant

In the header – Comfortable? Yes! If you are safe and living in the Galapagos Islands!

Swimming is normal for me. I’m relaxed. I’m comfortable, and I know my surroundings. It’s my home.  – Michael Phelps
 

Gunnera

Growing

Growth itself contains the germ of happiness.

 – Pearl S. Buck

19800 Cranes at Hornborgasjön, Sweden

Crowded

In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.  – Seth Godin

Double exposure from my windows to make tangled even more tangled…

Tangled

A word garden blooming within the tangled weeds.
Jazz Feylynn

Holland, flower festival at Keukenhof

Exuberant

Exuberance is beauty.

 – William Blake
 

Thank you for a marvelous response to Patti’s Everyday Objects – you really made us all open our eyes and SEE what we have around us!

A new announcement: We have the pleasure of having Rusha Sams  of Oh the Places We See as guest host for September 5, #113. Be sure to visit her! Until then – stay well and safe, and be kind, to yourself as well.

Have you seen these:

Thursday Thoughts – Friends

We had our yearly outing at Wanås castle, Viveka and I. Finally. This is something we look forward to every year – and even this ”lost” year,  2020, we made it happen.

 

Much of the art work and installations are the same, but each year there are new interesting artists and art on display. The forest linen and the mirror barn 2020.

These days the importance of friends is even more highlighted. What would our distanced lives be without them? And we can still visit exhibitions that are mostly outdoors.

Viveka (of Myguiltypleasures) is an inspirational and avid photographer, and her Oscar is always going warm when we are out. So, what is she photographing now?

 

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Laetiporus sulphureus – or sulphur shelf. A very beautiful species of fungus growing on tree trunks and branches.

You can easily lose sight of Viveka as she often gets lost in her photography – but there is one unmistakable sign that helps me finding her again…her bag. Her striped bag. Whose bowels contain anything needed for a day out…including Oscar.

https://www.wanaskonst.se/sv-se/ Artist: Kimsooja, South Korea

A friend to go on adventures with, a friend to chat with, and to share your thoughts with, a friend to hold your hand when you need it. Even virtually.

Thank you, Viveka, for being my friend – and Cheers – for future adventures together!

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #103 – Surprise

Thank you to Patti for her lovely challenge #102 –  ”A Quiet Moment”, and all your beautiful responses! We certainly need our quiet moments, and it feels so good to share.

This week I have been pondering over the impact of not knowing how our situation in general will develop. We really – don’t – know. Even if we never can know in advance how life and things will turn out… we want to have some kind of schedule and feel in control.

Somehow, over these last months, I have tried hard to accept the fact that not knowing will be the normal thing for the future. Less planning – I have decided to adapt.

 

Would you like to know your future? If your answer is yes, think again. Not knowing is the greatest life motivator. So enjoy, endure, survive each moment as it comes to you in its proper sequence, a surprise.     

– Vera Nazarian

This young lady was surprised by a happy call yesterday – getting that new job!

For many of us, June, July and August are the starters of vacation time. This year is of course without any scheduled far away travels, but small surprises usually occur in our everyday life. It could be surprising meetings, incidents, or maybe eye openers. In fact anything you feel surprise you!

I start off with a missed coffee break (Swedish ”Fika”) in the opener. We quickly had to find another place to eat our sandwiches… not sharing any!

Then – eye openers and great surprises are everywhere in nature. Last year I met this little creature – an insect looking exactly like a tiny twig – here together with a real twig. Can you tell which is which? This camouflage must be very effective!

Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.     

– Boris Pasternak

But then there are surprises both negative and positive…Two days ago I found this battered 4cm butterfly dead on the garden stones. I could tell it must have been a beauty with those emerald/mother of pearl blue spots on the white wings. I wrote my colleagues in the biology group – and the answer was: Zeuzera pyrina, a blue spotted tree butterfly. A rare species where I live. The experts told me that my old apple trees could have been its home. And it might be that more of these butterflies are here. Let’s hope for a live meeting!

This is what it looks like in a fresh costume – wing span 35-75 mm.

http://www.vilkenart.se

Another big surprise – a minor shock in fact –

– was this Digitalis with a mutated top flower – a so called Peloria.

(This photo with my Samsung phone.) I had never seen one before. It reminded me of those dragon lizards running in the desert!

Have you seen these from Patti’s challenge?

Nes Felicio – The quiet has to come from within

From Hiding to Blogging– Yan is chasing sunstars

Pat, of Living Life Almost Gracefully finds quiet in the sense of gentle colors and order

Anne of Slow Shutter Speed – stunning quiet moments

Also –

The team has a special “surprise” for July. We will be hosting the theme “Seasons” for the entire month, and are announcing the sequence in advance. The schedule will be:

July 4  Amy  Summer
July 11 Tina  Spring
July 18 Patti  Autumn/Fall
July 25 A-C  Winter

Lastly – stay well, and don’t forget to use the Lens-Artists tag to easily be found in the reader!

Thursday Thoughts – Happy Birthday Sweet Mum!

Photo from last year’s birthday, when you turned 84.

 

Today you turn 85, and you two have been married for 55 years! The sun is shining, and we will make it a memorable day for you – despite the difficult times we are living in.