Thursday Thoughts – Younger Days

Walking, walking…One of the last colourful days, I decided to walk along an old road I used to walk in my younger days – in the 1980’s. I had a friend living at the end of the road, and I believe she still is.

One of the old farms was in ruins due to a fire some years ago. The remains looks beautiful still.

Even bird houses have them…
And Milo loved the stone fences – of course. He gets a nice treat when he is climbing up on top of something. Spoilt young man…
So, Milo and I have a lot in common… many stones climbed and so many fences defied – this was a big part of being a child in a rural landscape. No playing indoors – always outdoors in the fresh air.
No matter how much we tried – we still couldn’t conjure up the sleepy sun this day – but memories of childhood days danced like autumn leaves in the air. Golden and light as feathers. Today my grandfather was born, 117 years ago.

Lens-Artists Challenge #124 – Now and Then

Now and then – Then and now

Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.
― L.M. Montgomery

Amy is our host, and she says: ”For our challenge this week we’d like you to tell us about your perspective on now vs then – it could be before and after the pandemic or any other changes you have experienced.” See her perspective on what the current changes can bring to everyday life!

As I was contemplating what major differences there are in my own life now, compared to a few years ago, some things stand out very clearly to me. I will try letting the images tell most of the story, as you change between Then and now, Now and then in my series. ( A new possibility with the block editor – but you have to go to my site to see it. I found out it doesn’t show in the reader …) Somehow I wish it was just as easy to mend things that are broken…

Due to climate change, our winters here in Sweden are very different from those we had only a couple of years ago. These two images are from November 2017 and November 2020.

Two of my best loved hiking trails have been destroyed. The forest is down. Colourful grasses are now taking over, and soon the old stumps will be totally hidden in the new vegetation.

Traveling is no longer an option, due to Covid19 and the pandemic. But, also in order to save the world from more air pollution. Instead of exploring exciting new places abroad, this autumn we built my much longed for glasshouse, where we greatly enjoy a quiet lunch every day.

Ever since I was a child, the forest has been my second home. I usually walk for hours every day, often in the company of my mother and my dogs (in this photo, Mille and Totti). In Spring we always pick wood anemonies and have ”fika” with coffee and cakes in the warm sunshine. Mille left us 2014 and my mother, this unruly year, 2020.

And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees
and changing leaves.

― Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse)

Changes are obvious to us all this year… and now we are looking forward to seeing Your perspective! Don’t forget to include a link to Amy’s post and use the Lens-Artists tag so that everyone can find you in the WP Reader. Next week, Tina will be our host for Challenge #125 on November 28th. Be sure to visit her site.

Lastly – Thank you for sending us so many delightful walks through neighbourhoods all over the world! It has been an adventurous week, a glorious and expressive week. As always – We are grateful that you want to share your world so generously.

Thinking of you who are celebraing Thanksgiving, and to all of us – Take care, stay warm, loving and safe.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #100 – Long and Winding Road

Life gives us many challenges and between those challenges we have to learn to choose happiness. Happiness lies in little things of our lives like kindness, gratitude, learning new things, caring for all living beings on this planet. Life can become a beautiful journey with little effort. Purvi Raniga

The long and winding road is ours to walk – and in this quote lies what we all know in our hearts, and what we now have been given some extra time to contemplate and practice.

 

Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.  – J. R. R. Tolkien

We are, maybe for the first time, in such uncertainty and bewilderment for what lies ahead of us. We are without guidance, without previous knowledge or much scientific evidence concerning this new Corona virus… but we will learn. We have to.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.  – Edward Abbey

In our daily talks, my grandmother used to say about Life: ”Who said it was going to be easy?” Being a child the meaning of that sentence was not easily understood. As I grew up though, I gradually found out how much truth there was in her words.

Trying times bring out the worst and the best in people. Despite this unruly world, I want to focus on positive things like inventiveness, creativity and kindness – the fact is, today I generally see more good people and helping hands than ever. Our individualistic life has in that respect taken a more responsible, humanistic turn.

When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.   – Dejan Stojanovic

Pilgrims know that the road, the long and winding… is the message, the goal in itself. I believe that is what my grandmother meant to tell me. Her words were so well put, as a question instead of a statement.

Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost. Erol Ozan

So, I am a pilgrim, I guess we all are.

In 1989, I went hiking with my dog, in Lapland, Sweden. I met a young man from the Netherlands, Wim, who had come here searching for solitude and contemplation. We walked the path you see in the above photo, and decided to meet up again a week later as we were walking different trails the following week.

And so we did. To my surprise he told me that he had left the trail and got lost for two days. That year we had a lot of snow even in the last week of June, so he was unable to find the road marks. Smiling his funny little smile, he told me how grateful he was for having lost his way – because he had found new beautiful paths and his very own way back. More self confident, more relying on his own abilities. ”I can do this.”

There is a bend in the road. I don’t know what lies around that bend, but I hope for the best.
Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Mankind has always been curious, adventurous – but there is a balance to be kept, in order not to lose too much for the win in the end. Finding that balance is a delicate matter in its own.

At the end of every road you meet yourself.   – S. N. Behrman

With a dedicated heart, I am sure you can. And with this final quote, I will leave you walking your own long and winding road, while I continue mine.

The trials on the road to world harmony are no greater than the courage of those who accept the challenge.  – Carl Lewis

 

This week, Tina asks us to share our images and thoughts about the long and winding road. See Tina’s powerful post here.  We always appreciate your support and enjoy seeing your responses to our challenges. Be sure to link to Tina’s original post and to include the Lens-Artists tag.

Finally, we are excited to announce that next week the Lens-Artists team will be bringing you a very special event. Cee of Ceenphotography has graciously agreed to lead us on our next challenge. All four members of the Lens-Artists team will join Cee next Saturday at noon EST in response to her challenge subject. We look forward to seeing where she leads us, and hope you’ll join the fun as well.

Thursday Thoughts – Searching for Orchids

I mentioned in my delicate colours post, that I originally went out to find the orchids –

– but they were not yet there. I guess it has been too cold a spring for them.

The yellow archangel is another favourite in May – lightening up the forest shadows. Just like angels should.

When I silently reached the wetlands the air was filled with nightingale song and…

…my heart was filled with bumble bees.

I was not alone on the hike, several elderly couples were out with backpacks of ”fika” – the best Swedish word ever…

This boardwalk leads over the orchid fields – but the only flower to be found yet, is another beauty –

– bogbean or buckbean. I find it almost as lovely as an orchid anyway. It will be my closing image before returning home again on the dirt road.  Getting hungry now!

And…it is not me who’s been running over the furrows…

Thursday Thoughts – A Pasque flower Walk in May

This spring is like no other spring – in so many ways. The nights are freezing cold, and many flowers and trees do not grow very much. They even say we might not have new potatoes for Midsummer (a Must…).

I nearly missed out on the Pasque flowers, and arrived just in time to see them in flower –  and faded – at the same time.

The sandy meadows stretch widely in the sun, just by the sea. We seldom go to the sea, so this was a fun opportunity for the dogs. As Milo is only two years old, he still acts like it was the first time. Jumping and bathing like crazy.

Pasque flowers have a special charm. True beauties when in flower – and another kind of delicate beauty when faded. Few flowers are bestowed this gift.

Only about ten centimeters high, they crave a crawl to show their faces.

Leaving the sea and heading to the top of the hills. You can see the Pasque flowers’ home meadow down on your right.

The forest path down again, treats you to orchids as well as other plants and flowers striving in the chilly wind.

After a couple of hours’ sunny walk in the company of our dogs, Totti wanted me to stop photographing and just MOVE ON.

That thought in his little curly head, is nicely demonstrated like this…by not following my husband any more. He just had to let him stay put and wait for me. Any dog owners who recognize this…?

 

Thursday Thoughts – Hiking, but not 2020

For so many years we have hiked this beautiful national park during April…

…but not this year. We used to go the whole family, and all our dogs have made it to the top of the mountain at least a dozen times each. We follow the water for about an hour,

then the track turns around the bend and for a while we walk the footbridges.

I searched my archives to find some memories from years gone by,

and here is something of the early spring loveliness as we struggle up the tough slopes.

On the plateau, old trees have come to rest, and younger ones softly lean over the precipice. We stop to admire before the long walk down to the pond where we started.

I miss this hike, but this is 2020, the year of corona and covid-19.

I will be back though – I promise…maybe next spring.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #92 – Going Back – the Second Time Around

”Considering the current world situation, I decided to focus my challenge to your sharing images from your previous travels rather than asking you to go out to photograph new examples to share. If you visited a favorite place more than once, how did you approach the second trip photographically? If you’ve only been somewhere once, what would you do differently the second time around?” This week we welcome guest-host John Steiner – please visit his post at Journeys with Johnbo for more inspiration!

My choice for a walk down memory lane, is the tiny island of Madeira, a hiking paradise I have visited five or six times.

Two times with our children and my mother. These images are all from 2010, when my mother turned 75, and we celebrated with Madeira for the second time together. This is the first time I brought a camera. For the orchids and for our hiking.

You often go by bus to the staring point, early in the morning. Then, you walk the chosen hike along the levadas – long or short, and return with another bus from the end point.

My mother used to be an avid hiker, and we walked together until one or two years ago. She loved Madeira, and with the youngsters on the path as well, we had so much fun.

In the early morning, it was rather cold in the mountains, but so quiet and beautiful.

Madeira 2010 370-2

Following the lifting mist, and listening to the murmuring of water – always running by your side. Once built to bring water from the mountains to the different parts of the island – the levadas are now also used by hiking tourists.

The air vibrates with bird song, and the soft scent of mosses and soil – everything breathing harmony.

This year there had been a storm, bringing down many trees. Still impressive though.

Lush green wherever you walk – and the stream always accompanying you.

Nature is reflected in their art as well – and I happen to love the tiny lizards –

Maybe some day…I will return. Who can tell. My mother turns 85 this summer, and can no longer go hiking. When I show her the old photos, she can still remember – something of those days, sometimes.

 

In closing, I’d also like to add a special Thank You to all of you who joined our “Simplicity” challenge last week. Thank you for sharing so many moments of peacefulness, beauty, and fun.  In these challenging times, you help make us all feel better and know that this too shall pass.

Next week, it is my time to be your host – and we are back to our ordinary schedule.

Stay well and safe, keep connected to your loved ones, and keep creating!

Thursday Thoughts – Centre of the Earth

In Jules Verne’s  A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Stapi is the last stop on the route the protagonists take before they climb Snæfellsjökull and enter the interior of the planet through a tunnel in the crater.

We didn’t intend to try any of these possibilities, but to hike along the coast line of the peninsula from Arnarstapi  to Hellnar.

We encountered (I think you could say that…) spectacular landscapes this morning – the likes of nothing I had seen before.

Steep cliffs and birds, birds, birds…on this ca 4 km hike.

Amazing colours everywhere, almost no fellow hikers, sun, blue skies and no wind. Who could ask for more?

Island 2019 1069-Redigera

The further we went, the more the landscape opened up and the magnificent coastline became visible – with all its small rocks and islets –

– a spectacular archipelago.

Struggling through some rugged lava formations, I suddenly spotted three killer whales, orcas,  in the blue waters ahead of us. I only got one shot working…then they were gone. But wow, how happy I was! I had never seen them live, in their natural habitat.

Gatklettur Arch

Gatklettur Arch – after some searching, we finally found it on our way back to Arnarstapi.

And the soft evening light kissed the earth. I sat down among the flowers, and listened to the strong feeling of Love for this Country, the stillness in the air, the beauty of this place. I watched the young girl, lying there, contemplating – and wondered if she too had seen the orcas…. To me, they were the icing on the cake this Icelandic summer’s day.

We returned to the two villages, Arnarstapi and Hellnar, the next day – just to savour their beauty once more before heading north… There just might be another post.