Of all the coffees I’ve had over the years, all over the world, including places like Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya and Italy, the one flavor that I keep returning to is the French Vanilla Flavored Ground Coffee made by of all companies, Dunkin’ Donuts. I recently ordered a vacupack from Amazon Deutschland and the flavor is consistent with what you get at any of the donut company’s shops. You can also order it from the American Food and Gift Store which I think is based in Sweden. I shot the coffee cup above during breakfast in Spain a while back. It’s pretty nifty way to get guests to replenish their caffeine depot.
Here’s a small side project that I’ve been working on from time to time for a few days. I just can’t get enough of these shiny yellow flowers. Shot with just about every camera and lens I own (including my six-year-old iPhone 7 with macro glass) and during all kinds of weather conditions.
Another incredibly interesting wall that nobody but me would take notice of. I walked by it earlier in the week somewhere in Malmö and realizing that something about the wall had caught my attention, so I took a few steps back to check it out. Low and behold, it had all the right components: a wide color gamut, plenty of patina, and plenty of fragments from years of layered postings. Now it’s part of my collection of Resurfaced images.
I’m still addicted to the bi-daily BBC Global News Podcast. Perhaps this sounds discriminatory, but I still haven’t found a Swedish equivalence when it comes to striking an intriguing balance of daily news. Most Swedish journalists, especially foreign correspondents, are stiff and only mildly talented. And in the US, nothing comes even close to the editorial quality the BBC provides regularly. Both cable and terrestrial news outlets in the US are way too polluted with politics and commercial interests. Even John Oliver’s show offers better coverage than any traditional American newsroom.
This team (including the elusive editor Karen Martin) should be awarded for their excellent hosting and aforemnetioned balancing act between war and conflict reporting, human interest stories, and humorous tidbits that lighten the mental load.
Here’s an interview with one other the podcast’s most frequent and excellent hosts, Jackie Leonard.
Today’s Apple Day. Not the fruit, but the company with Newton’s fruit of knowledge symbol. I’ve been an Apple customer since 1990 and even if it’s been many years since the company lost it’s “friendly rebel“ status and became a corporate behemoth and uncurbed producer of all kinds of more or less significant consumer stuff, most of which is far, far from being the creative tools that I was originally mesmerized by, I can still get a little excited when a product I use is due to be refreshed.
So, later tonight, I’ll probably watch the product launch of the year’s crop of new iPhones and other gadgetry. My phone is 3 years old and still does what I need it to do without complaints. So I don’t think an update is necessary. I might anyway, though. The wide-angle lens and night photography features would be nice to have.
Like a child, not yet privy to the circle of life, I felt a sudden sadness for the bird. I wondered how or why its life had ended on this beach in Vejbystrand. Did it die at sea and was washed ashore?
Did the bird’s existence end from old age or illness? Had it flown too far, or, as Icarus, too close to the sun, suddenly surprised by heat asthenia, its tired wings that would no longer carry the toilsome weight between them? Perhaps it then fell from the sky, landed in the shallows, and was then gently washed up onto the sand.
The bird’s flesh was gone and much of its thin bones had withered. What remained were feathers of which the wind would soon blow away. Leaving only a memory. And a photograph.
Charlotte shot these images during my talk at the book release yesterday afternoon. My 18th book is about the people and their creative deeds at the art and culture center Sliperiet in scenic Gylsboda, Skåne, Sweden.
The book conveys in words and pictures part of the area’s rich cultural history, the artists’ activities and the importance of the diabase quarries for both the town and the region.
In addition to the diabase and many quarries that surround Gylsboda, the village is perhaps best known for the author Harry Martinson living there as a child and depicting his years in this rural part of Sweden in the novel “Flowering Nettle” (for which he received the Nobel Prize).
The new book is also a tribute to the driving individuals that have tirelessly transformed the for decades abandoned Sliperiet into a creative center for arts and crafts with studios, workshops, exhibition space and a café. The book’s texts are in Swedish and English and can be ordered on Sliperiet’s website: www.sliperietgylsboda.se
Our sunflowers bloomed a couple of weeks later than usual this year, but are no less beautiful for it. On the contrary, 2021’s sunflowers have extra sturdy stems and unusually large flower crowns
Sunflowers are said to lift the soul, symbolize adoration, loyalty and longevity. I have long been enchanted by their colorful look and impressive height. When I lived in the Johanneberg district in Gothenburg, I grew sunflowers every spring on my tiny balcony and they would reach for the sky! But it was probably during my training as a visual artist at Gotland Art School in the early 1990s that my love for “Helianthus” really took off.
Like many of my fellow students, I also adopted the Impressionist Vincent van Gogh as a kind of patron saint for us bourgeoning artists. His sunflowers vibrated with life and reflected a joy that was so difficult for him to capture beyond the canvas. Like many creative people, it was almost only during the process of creation that Vincent experienced weightless happiness. As a “poor” student, it was not difficult to recognize the frustration and anguish that van Gogh fought against. He made the suffering for the sake of art feel noble, somehow. No pain, no gain.
All in all, Vincent is said to have painted a total of 11 paintings with sunflower motifs; four in Paris and seven in Arles. I have on a couple of occasions been to the fields in Provence where it’s believed that he created some of the most beautiful images.
As I stood there looking out over the bright yellow sea of rhythmically swaying sunflowers, I was mesmerized by the view and could appreciate that Vincent van Gogh might have felt euphorically happy as he stood there with his field easel, paints, and canvases, ready with unwieldy gestures and great frenzy to interpret the amazing view in front of him.
I also feel joy in our garden here in Stora Hult today when looking at our gently swaying sunflowers. They stand guard, tightly next to each other in front of the shed’s long side, ready to spread joy as we pass.
I can’t remember when I last received a handwritten letter from a friend or anyone for that matter. On the other hand, I really can’t remember when I wrote one myself. I am dubious about my ability to sit down and write a letter today. Would I use a cursive or a printed style? When did I last hold a pen?
Just remembered that I have a pretty thick binder full of old letters from old friends. One day I’ll get around to re-reading them.
Before video doorbells, before electric doorbells, there were door knockers. Well, there have also been other kind of ways to get the attention of someone behind a door, including manual bells and pushbutton ringers.
But old-school door knockers are arguably still the coolest and best way to announce an arrival. This one is from somewhere in Málaga, Spain.
So eventually the images in my resurfaced series will end up in a book. That’s the plan, anyway. I’ve exhibited a few, last year during Malmö’s Gallery Night, but I felt they were way too small to do the project justice.
The piece above is from Poland, from a wall in Krakow’s Old Town, I believe. I can literally spend hours and many km walking around a city to find new walls that entice me. Which is just fine as my expeditions also provide an abundance of exercise. I’ll often walk by a section of a wall or utility box and then stop and take a step or two back to see if there is something worth pulling out my camera for. It’s an artistic, investigative discovery mission, of sorts. People that take note of what I am photographing must think I’m a bit whacko. Which is also fine.
It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true: the most spectacularly beautiful art, the most organic, natural creativity is and will always be found in our planet’s biosphere. I grew up surrounded by this kind of agave plant and every time I see one, I feel drawn to it. They make me happy, somehow.
Sad to hear that Mick Jagger will never again have reason to say “Charlie’s good tonight, ain’t he?”. But what a run Mr. Watts had during his 80-year life! I’d argue that he was by far the most talented musician in the band – but boring beyond belief to look at. Which I guess was part of his schtick.
I’ve seen the Stones live. It was back in 1982 at Ullevi Stadium in Göteborg during their Tattoo You Tour. The concert I attended was June 19 and even if I never had been much of a fan, I preferred the Beatles’ polished sound, catchier melodies, and sense of humor, I knew that not attending at least one of the two Stones concerts would be a huge cultural mistake that I would probably always regret.
A bunch of us gathered at buddy Lars’s house the night before the show to warm up, and, well, let’s just say things got a little out of hand with the partying. Let’s also just say that I didn’t fully recuperate until a few minutes before Mick and his bandmates entered the gigantic stage. Let’s say that I have never since filled a glass with dentist high proof alcohol mixed with Fanta. Let’s finally say that I’ve since the occasion never washed my pants in someone’s fish tank.
Serendipity. How I love that word. It’s the opposite of preordained or predestined. I embrace serendipity. That’s how I came across this bag of cobblestones laying on a sidewalk somewhere. It was as if someone had bought the stones at an IKEA warehouse and then tried to carry them home. At some point, the burden must have gotten too heavy. So they gave up, leaving the abandoned stones in the yellow and blue bag, and just walked away only for me to come across it serendipitously. Truth be told, I added the logos after the fact. Couldn’t resist.
How could I not be compelled to capture this wonderfully bright yellow door framed by a wall of red tiles? Should I instead have forsaken the opportunity because of its obvious allure?
My need to document, eternalize and archive almost any given subject matter is thankfully evolving. I’d argue that the image above is an exception, that I am markedly more focused on exploring and discovering fragments of artifacts of art, hence my Resurfaced series. Still, I continue to be drawn to repetitive patterns, to both complementary and analogous colors and compositions that at least pose a bit of a challenge. I am constantly framing my environment, always on the lookout for balance.
I’m aware of this being autonomous, the result of working as a commercial and editorial photographer for so many years; finding the “right” angle, figuring out how to get the best light, determining focal field and exposure. So, with this in mind, I often have to stop myself from capturing the obvious. The valley of “très très triste” is safe, familiar, and easy. And art should never be too safe, familiar, and easy.
I saw this sign somewhere outside of Japan. I find that I periodically feel a curiously strong yearning for Tokyo. Just pronouncing the name out loud gets me a little travel excited. And when I think of some of the places there that I’ve discovered but only scratched the surface of, well, it gets my hopes up that one day I’ll be able to return and experience the intensity, the insane politeness, and endless idiosyncrasies that I think define Tokyo as one of the world’s most alluring metropolises.
Two resurfaced pieces combined.
Life is full of choices. Too many at times. Some estimate that on average, humans make 35,000 decisions per day. Most are made automatically and others are so trivial that we barely notice that we actively make them. But we do. Like choosing which socks to wear, or, what foot to put them on first. As the day progresses, our decisions tend to demand a deeper thought process for us to reach a conclusion that won’t result in a negative result. Like choosing which route to take to work, or, getting sucked into a time-consuming topic on social media because we chose to take a peek there before doing more important stuff.
I find that many of the choices I make are influenced by my emotions – which is perfectly normal as I work as an artist and use my gut feeling, instinct, or, “Emotional Intelligence” to help guide my creative choices. And I am perfectly happy using my emotions to steer my path in a given project.
But I also find that sometimes, emotions are so fleeting, that they are totally unreliable. That in order to suss out whether or not an emotion-driven choice is rational and won’t wreak havoc beyond your ability to foresee the consequences, you need to allocate time to give an important decision serious consideration.
Here’s a new piece for the Resurfaced series. An old friend in L.A. is often wakeful and finds it difficult to fall asleep. The time difference is mostly to my advantage, from a chat perspective, but I worry that the sleep deficit is harmful.
I sleep relatively well nowadays. For several years I’ve used podcasts to help me relax and in due course, fall to sleep. Sometimes, I’ll wake up after a short while, frustrated that the podcast hosts won’t allow me to share my opinion verbally on their show.
One trick that I used to do to fall asleep is map neighborhoods where I’ve lived. The one area I returned to with great frequency was in West Hollywood and the general vicinity where I grew up, hung out, or walked through on my way to or back from somewhere.
I would start along Santa Monica Boulevard going east and then west, visualizing all the buildings, stores, shops, and places I can recall. Then, if that didn’t put me to sleep, I’d map La Cienega Boulevard starting from Sunset and going down what must still be one of L.A.’s steepest hills, then heading south until my personal map starts moving into unfamiliar territory. I haven’t lived in that part of L.A. since 1978, more than forty years ago. So it’s fascinating that I still have such vivid memories of places like The Bowling Alley, John & Pete’s Liquor Store, Alan Hale’s The Lobster Barrel, The Melting Pot, 49 Steps, Rexall’s Drugstore, Norm’s, All America Burger, Pup n’ Tail, Kiddyland, the oil pumps on Beverly, and the row of art galleries and fine dining eateries around Melrose Place.
I remember one time when I was out alone at night (having been locked out of the house by my mother after yet another tumultuous conflict), that I saw what I believed to have been a prostitute on the southwest corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica. She had placed one of her shiny white boots on the edge of the bus stop’s green wooden bench. The woman was extraordinarily tall and wore a wide, black or dark brown hat and a long matching coat that revealed short white hot pants above her legs.
As a prepubescent 12-year old, I was beguiled to say the least. At first, the woman smiled coyly at me, but after realizing I was way too young, her smile shifted quickly to a disappointed, vacant gaze. Maybe she saw in me a version of her younger self and acknowledged that neither of us should be where we were at the time. Certainly not on Santa Monica Boulevard in the middle of the night. I walked home and snuck in through a window along the long side of our house, hoping that by then, my mother had finally fallen asleep. Her sleep was usually induced and fueled by Smirnoff, but I wonder if she had preferred Absolut if it had been available at the time. Probably not.
While shooting for their book over the summer, I also did some filming, capturing a few unique scenes from the artists’ colony and cultural center Sliperiet Gylsboda. This short film is the result of my experiences.
Shot this from my room window this afternoon during another short overnight visit to Malmö. I’ve stayed at most of the bigger hotels in this city and last night I knocked the remaining big one off my list: Scandic Triangeln. I would have preferred a room higher up, but my request was denied since I had booked the room through one of Charlotte’s sites and not directly on the hotel’s reservation page. A petty policy, if you ask me.
Tired today after last night’s celebration for a friend named Jen that lives southeast of Malmö. We spent a restless night at a hotel, drove back up to Vejbystrand and arrived just in time to enjoy a long coastal walk in beautiful late summer weather. This was our view during Lenanrt’s evening walk.
Maybe I should have written this in Swedish. No, I don’t think he would have cared either way.
It was Charlotte that captured this shot of Bengt Nielsen and me during the unveiling of the five collages I was commissioned to create for Kockum Fritid, the sports center he was Managing Director for at the time and had worked at for the majority of his life.
About a week ago I learned from a friend and Bengt successor Magnus Steen that Bengt had succumbed to cancer. I hadn’t seen him since his retirement, but I’d known about the battle for several years. In our very last email exchange, Bengt told me about his poor health and how his cancer had metastasized.
Kockum Fritid has been the Raboff family’s preferred sports center and I’ve also been their supplier of film and photography services for about a decade.
Though my relationship with Bengt was purely professional, whenever we met, whenever I dropped by, he would almost always take time off from whatever he was doing to chat about this and that; from work to wine to family and, towards the end of his tenure, about the battle he was going through and trips he’d hope to be able to make with his wife despite decreasing health.
I’ll always remember Bengt Nielsen as one of the most unpretentious people I’ve ever met. Friendly, kind and generous with inspiring anecdotes from his life. R.I.P.
Years ago, I frequently took a cab to our favorite airport, Københavns Lufthavn. On several occasions, I had the same driver, a tall, slender man with a neatly kept beard, a loosely hanging red scarf and a wide, gentle smile. He was a good-looking fellow that if I had to guess, came from somewhere in northern China, or, perhaps Mongolia.
As usual, I bombarded my driver with a spate of questions, the first being where he originally came from. As an immigrant myself, I’ve always felt legitimized to make such inquiries, even on a reasonably personal level, regardless really of wherever in the world I’ve taken a cab.
When my driver replied Afghanistan, I told him how his answer surprised me and that I had guessed somewhere many thousands of miles further northeast. Without taking his eyes off the road, the driver smiled and spent the rest of our time together enlightening me about Afghanistan’s many tribes and ethnicities.
As we neared the airport’s drop-off zone, he told me that my guess wasn’t too far off, that he in fact belonged to the Hazara tribe, which according to legend are descendants of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire.
Mongol soldiers swept through the region of what is today’s Afghanistan sometime during the 13th century. Wary from war, many of Genghis’ soldiers settled down and their Asiatic features and language – a dialect of Persian – set them apart from other tribes, including the predominant Pashtun.
Now that the Taliban have once again overtaken Afghanistan, a country shared by Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimaq, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashai, Nuristani, Gujjar, Arab, Brahui, Qizilbash, Pamiri, Kyrgyz, Sadat, and many others, smaller tribes, I wonder if the medal-laden leadership at the Pentagon feel as embarrassingly incompetent as their Russian counterparts did when they abandoned Afghanistan back in February 1989. It boggles the mind how little is learned from history. From epic mistakes. From massive fuckups. How it took 2 trillion taxpayer dollars, twenty years and thousands if not tens of thousands of civillian and military casualites to realize that the endeavor was doomed to fail, that the strategy was flawed to begin with and it was only a matter of time before the zealots would return, is just incredible. So much tragedy. Eisenhower was so right when he warmed against the Military Industrial Complex. For they are the only winners.
On this auspicious day, 23 years ago, Charlotte and I were married at Brunnby Church near Mölle-by-the-Sea by the family priest Ola Stålnacke. The photo above was taken during our very first trip to Asia – the year before our memorable wedding on August 15, 1998. Both Charlotte and I had been to Southeast Asia before, but never together. This was also my very first time in India.
When I snapped this shot of her outside of our bungalow in Goa, it was very early in the morning and we’d just woken up after spending the better part of the previous evening and most of the night sick as dogs from eating grilled shrimp that had gone bad.
Our marriage is nearing a quarter of a century, which is a long time, no matter how you slice it. Yes, we’ve had our fair share of challenges and a few seemingly unsurmountable uphill treks. But when I think of all the good times, unforgettable adventures, and, most importantly, our ability to teamwork our way through tough patches, I realize that our relationship has always had a solid foundation built on love, trust, and loyalty.
We were both hard-core singles when we met sometime in the fall of 1996 and truth be told, both of us had more or less given up on the idea of starting a family. But once we’d committed to sharing life together and seeing where our pact would take us, as long as we had fun doing so, life evolved. Just a couple of years later, we were blessed with Elle.
To this day, despite all kinds of weird shit going on in our world and on this troubled rock we share with everyone else, Charlotte and I still have a lot of fun and laugh a lot together, and, thankfully, at each other. Life as a concept is way too absurd not to laugh at oneself from time to time.
Happy Anniversary to us and to everybody that attended our wedding ceremony and the unforgettable party afterward.
Nothing reminds me more of my own mortality than on the rare occasion when I am invited to a funeral. I suppose the remainder will become more and more evidential the older I get.
Despite having several close family members pass away prematurely, as a concept, death still feels remarkably abstract and distant. Not that I don’t think about my own mortality almost every day, because I do. But I don’t fixate on it, or, let it steer the day’s agenda. Someone wiser has said that it’s healthy to think about death once a day. It keeps you humble about how great it is to be alive.
Yesterday’s funeral for a family friend, neighbor and Charlotte’s distant relative Eva Bendz Hellström was a celebration more than a sad affair. I didn’t know Eva very well but I have had the privilege of enjoying her humor, spontaneity, and enviable unpretentiousness.
Barkåkra church is both cozy and beautifully well-kept and the music and speeches held in her honor were both emotional and inspiring.
Eva’s children, Klara, Anna, Anders, and husband Bengt had arranged a joyful, celebratory after-church memory mingle in their garden.
Finally a new installment in my Resurfaced series. I haven’t been giving it much attention lately. Hope to remedy this soon. I honestly don’t remember where I shot this utility box. Possibly in Malmö. Maybe in Göteborg.
With the release of the United Nations pan-governmental climate report yesterday, one can either envision a forboding cataclysmic doomsday scenario or, see this as the beginning of the most exciting era to be a human. Either way, there’s no denying that planet Earth is in dire straits.
I prefer the latter position.
Why? Because the contents of said report, the urgency it proclaims, means we must now wholeheartedly embrace the climate crisis just to have a fighting chance at staving off the potentially devastating consequences of our neglect and ignorance – which means that a lot of really smart people will need to come up with some incredibly smart ideas very, very soon.
Then again, perhaps all everybody has to do is just sit down for a minute, take inventory of how we live our lives, and come to the reasonable conclusion and insight that we all actually have many of the required solutions within reach…
We went for a lovely long walk here in Vejbystrand yesterday evening. The day’s intense rainfall had finally ceased and a wonderful smell of fresh, robot-cut lawns permeated the air.
Not every house, but most of those we walked past had two rain-washed cars parked in driveways and under carports. All but a few of them were really fancy automobiles, some electric, others hybrid but most were fossil-fueled.
As we walked past the cavalcade of shiny vehicles, I thought to myself how difficult it’s going to be to legislate against leading a lifestyle that at least from a global warming perspective can’t be described as anything but excessive and collectively ruinous to the planet. The same goes for what we wear, what we drink and eat (contents and volume) as well with long-distance and regional travel.
The most optimistic scientists don’t think the problems at hand are unsurmountable. Demanding? Yes! Life-changing? Yes, for sure!
And this is what makes this era so exciting!
Being coerced verbally or legally into redefine so much of what we’ve taken for granted for so long is undoubtedly going to take a lot of effort. Especially for us lucky folk that live up here in northern Europe where we don’t much realize how rich we actually are.
I’ve said it before and now I’ll say it again. We’re going to need a lot of philosophers and psychologists to help us appreciate life with less.
I don’t have the faintest idea how we’re going to get where we need to be for the planet to cool down some. But I am looking forward to taking part in the master plan – however it rolls out.
I’ve been shifting gears, switching paths, and changing goals all my life. I wouldn’t have a hard time at all. You know what? The pandemic has been inadvertently helpful in getting me to appreciate more with less and feeling more content with what I have.
I don’t think many governments will take drastic action after this latest report. That would just lead to panic and more violent disruption. I mean, if so many people refuse to take a simple vaccine to help against Covid-19, just imagine the insanity if the EPA and other nation’s equivalent environmental agencies mandated against owning more than one car or shopping for H&M clothes more than once a quarter. Just conceptualize the havoc if you as a meat-lover could only eat steak, pork chop, or, fried chicken once a month? Weekend trip to Paris or London? Fuhgeddaboudit!
I do hope that countries like China and the US immediately close all operating and planned coal-fueled power plants. And more importantly, I sincerely hope that Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Page – along with their teams backed up by us minions – use their spectacular brain power and formidable money muscle to help Earth get through this crisis.
I vividly remember the very first time I visited Stora Hult Strand in Vejbystrand. It was the spring of 1997 and Charlotte and I had been dating for about six months. After a night in Malmö, we made a quick pitstop at her summer house on our way back to Göteborg.
The ancient name of the area within the village of Vejbystrand where the family house sits is Stora Hult, which roughly translates into “the big forest”. There’s not much of a forest here today, though.
The image above is from last night at the beach in Stora Hult. The first time I walked along it, I remember thinking how wonderfully untouched it looked. Unlike any of the beaches I’d ever been to thus far, much of Stora Hult Strand was covered with seaweed, rocks, and driftwood. As we walked along the shoreline, a pungent smell from rotting seaweed lingered but didn’t disturb us at all.
Stora Hult Strand is unique and about as far as you can get from your typical postcard-perfect beaches in the Seychelles, on the Greek islands, in Spain, Hawaii, along Southern California’s coast, or South East Asia. And because it was so unapologetically natural, I thought it looked really exotic.
I was alone there last night. Most people were at home, sitting in front of the “tube”, utterly oblivious of the phenomenal scene playing out down by the sea. What a privilege it was.
Met this curious creature on my way back from last night’s dip in the sea. Good to be back in Vejby again after an intense visit to Malmö. Finishing up the new book next week as the printer’s deadline is rapidly approaching. Will be heading back up to the Gylsboda this Saturday to shoot stills and footage from the annual festival which has been added to the book’s scope.
I’ve been in Malmö for 24 hours to meet with Joanna and Rikard, long-time clients (whom, like most of my clients, are also good friends) at their new restaurant Utbåtshallen to see if a giant print of one of my images could add to the milieu. I think we came up with an idea that could do just that spectacularly.
Admittedly, I am not an expert on Indian food. I’ve been to India a half dozen times and even spent a few weeks surfing in Sri Lanka. So I certainly enjoy eating Indian cuisine – not nearly as much as I lust for Japanese or Mexican dishes. Still, it’s definitely on my Top 5 list of favorites. Is it above or below Greek food on that list? Not sure.
Anyway, the meal I shared with my pal last night was absolutely superb. Not only that, but the table service too was on par with what I’m used to experiencing from the subcontinent. Snappy yet casual in a welcoming, easy-going way. Highly recommend a meal there.
Stayed once again at Clarion Hotel Malmö Live where spectacular views, a super comfy bed, and a giant, sumptuous breakfast buffet continue to make me look forward to every visit.
A series of powerful storms have been passing through northwestern Skåne for the last two weeks. Torrential rains are often followed by beautiful, dramatic skies like the one above, shot night before last.
Compared with the summer’s prolonged heatwave, the temperature has now dropped to a much more agreeable level, oscillating gently, but never reaching July’s feverish peaks. Today it’s a mere 18C/60F.
There’s no shortage of drama here in Vejbystrand. The day before last, while a powerful summer storm flew through the village, I stepped outside the studio to take a picture of how the gusty winds forcefully bent the bamboo canes and elephant grass.
Just then, at that very moment, the garden’s large Aspen gave in to the strong rush of wind and fell over, nearly landing on top of me. Yeah, it was surreal.
Our local garden and tree expert Östen, believed the thicker of the tree’s sprawling roots had succumbed to some kind of fungus. While the tree itself was fine and looked very healthy, under ground, just below its trunk, there was so much rot that very little was actually holding it upright.
Yesterday, the trunk and branches were cut into manageable pieces and I hauled them off to my compost in the back of the garden and to our firewood shed.
After the initial surprise, a little sadness came over me. I mean, what a shock it must have been for the relatively old Aspen tree. After about 35 years (according to the trunk rings I counted), it just fell over and died. Then again, it might have somehow known it was doomed.
We’ve already started looking at a replacement. Perhaps the next tree to occupy the space will be chestnut or a maple tree.
Continues to feel both humbled and privileged to have such beautiful and varied nature experiences literally around the corner. Although I walk pretty much the same distances over and over again, I still never get tired. Why? Well, because the colors, the light, and the smells are constantly changing. So even though the landscape itself is familiar and adorable, it’s when I observe and appreciate the sometimes small nuances that each walk still feels so unique, exciting, and inspiring.
Met this little fella last night while eating a pizza down by the harbor in Vejbystrand. He lived under the restaurant’s wooden deck and made short, intense trips between his home and the restaurant’s outdoor tables and chairs, looking for scraps of food.
It’s been almost a year since I was abroad and almost two since traveling to Asia or America. Thanks to my archive of film and photos, my memories aren’t fading anytime soon.
The last time I set foot on foreign soil was first in Stuttgart and then in Münich, Germany.
Even if my passport hasn’t been used much since we moved back from Malaga, I’ve still continued to travel domestically to both familiar and a few new places. Some for work, others for pleasure.
While sharing last night’s meal with friends and with the above cute porcupine scurrying around under our table, we spoke of travels near and far. Of Inter Railing across Europe and backpacking throughout East Asia. Of wild adventures, bleached hair, and indulgence bordering on unholy decadence.
At some point between beer one and two, I had an epiphany of how much of the world I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen through work and pleasure. While the size of my pension fund isn’t very impressive, I’ve certainly done my best to fill my time on this planet with a wealth of fabulous experiences. I’ve always been terrible at managing boredom.
A few clips from our brilliant kayaking trip the other day.