Another coast whispers in blue
And in the awakening swirls of fog
A butterfly whirls into my creased vision.
It ignites and burns out, ignites and burns out again,
Ignites…and everything feels light as though
A journey is about to begin.
There is something so mesmerizing about Nordic winters. Perhaps because I grew up in the North, but I believe flocks of tourists would still agree with me.
There is something about the light…And I am not just talking about the northern lights. I am talking about the sun. So pale, but intensely lemon yellow. So low on the sky, it barely dips its head above the horizon. Making it feel as though it is always dusk or dawn.
And when it reflects on the crisp snow, or the thinly iced over fjords or lakes. Magic happens…
There is something about the air…always so clear and cold. Washing over your face in the morning, instantly refreshing you. There is not even a hint of pollution in that air. It just smells of ocean and trees and snow.
I love the soft blueness of cloudy days. It feels as though you have walked in to a world painted in all shades of pastels. Even people’s faces take on a softer and more mellow glow. And there is a quiet that comes with that softness. Only accompanied by the the sound of surf against the harbor and booted feet stepping in new snow.
Nordic Winters can seem lonely for those who appreciate social noise and crowds of people. You can walk along a street not seeing any other soul. But if you look closer you will see the light behind windows. Candle light and little warm glowing lamps and fire places. You might hear a faint sound of music or laughter. Or perhaps even get a glance of a family huddled up under blankets drinking coffee or cocoa to keep warm.
You might think this is not a very hospitable place for animals to live in. But our lake birds prefer to winter over here. They will always get plenty of food by walkers-by and even though most lakes freezes over, the ocean is never far away. You will see ducks and swans waddling on thin ice all through winter. It is a cozy and rather funny sight.
There certainly is something magic about Nordic Winters that I don’t find anywhere else in the world, even in cold and snowy countries. I think it has to do with the topography, the climate and the lack of pollution. It truly is a Winter Wonderland. That is, if you dress yourself properly. 😄😄
There is something about wandering around cobbled street surrounded by russet leaves and trees with amber crowns leaning against brightly lit shop windows and cozy white painted cafes.
There is something about the dim orange autumnal light making tan-less faces shine beautiful, and the northern wind whipping up rose cream to brush on people’s cheeks.
There is something about little wooden homed cafes in the autumn rain with people in them drinking hot chocolate and smiling while wet drops cover the windows with diamonds.
There is something about children and puppies tossing around leaves and dancing in muddy puddles.
There is something about listening to the sea while sitting on a bench in a park eating Cinnamon buns with cold stiff hands.
There is something about autumn in the city…especially in the north where the sun blazes so briefly in the summer, yet so strong into the night itself. There is something about the nip in the air on those first days of October, waking us up and inviting us in, celebrating the natural rawness of sea and sky and land…
I miss the ocean, the scent of it, the movements of the waves breathing upon the shore. I miss the blues and greens of the reflective surface mirroring the changing seasons from inky blue-black winter to clear sapphire to the softest cornflower summer.
I miss the rainy frothing autumn currents whipping up a storm. I miss the stillness of blue against blue with only white cottony dots, above and below, sailing on their way. There is nothing a beach or a black cliff can’t make better.
I miss the mooring poles, rusted orangey-red, standing erect on slippery slopes headed to sea. I miss the hexagon light huts with red hats casting longing glances at the starry horizon. I miss beach carnations, pretty Pinks, birthed savagely from stony cavities on barren cliffs.
I miss the sound of the ocean. Roaring forcefully, keening wistfully, or lulling soothingly, while polishing land and thoughts smooth and shiny. There is nothing better than being rocked to sleep by the ocean. Maybe it is the water in me calling to its twin, or the pre-historic aquatic creature longing for its origin. I am left to wonder.
But there is something about the ocean that moves me. Maybe it is time to move with it…to that island I have always been dreaming of…
A bit ambitious title, huh? Well, it was just meant to be a bit of fun. Obviously I am no expert or some guru who has all the answers. But whenever I learn something in life, I feel the need to share and perhaps even inspire others. So that is what I am doing here.
I will give you the answer I have obtained from my life experience right away. The key to happiness is flexibility. Let me explain. I sometimes get a bit frustrated with all the slogans and pep talks telling to you believe in your dreams and if you work hard enough they will come true. It sounds lovely. But we are not living in a perfect world and if we become too rigid in our dreaming we might end up feeling disappointment and let down. I think it is great to dream! I am a dreamer for sure. I think dreams are the way we envision our talents and gifts being fulfilled in the world, and that is what life is about. But we need to remember that the only thing that truly belongs to us is that which is without physical form. Even our bodies are not our own. They are borrowed and will at some point be given back to the earth. What we do take with us is our love, our lessons, our experiences…So let us focus on these instead of that which has only material value.
Say your dream is to live in a lighthouse. Most people might tell you that that is impossible. But is it really? Perhaps owning a lighthouse is impossible (do we really own anything at all?), but living in one certainly isn’t. There are many lighthouses around the world you can rent. Maybe you can only afford a couple of nights, but if you treat that time as the only thing real at the moment, if you truly live in the “now” and do not obsess over things like forever and ownership, then yes, you have fulfilled your dream.
Another example: say your dream is to travel around the world, but you are 80 years old and not physically fit enough to travel. You spent your life taking care of family and missed the opportunity. Well, it is still possible. You can go on a cruise! On a cruise ship you can sit on the little balcony attached to your room and watch the world go by without moving a muscle! A cruise ship has excellent medical care in case you should need it and bus tours at every port it docks in. Ta-da! Problem solved.
If you keep being flexible like this most dreams are possible to fulfill. You dream of being a grandparent but don’t have any grandkids, well there are a lot of kids without grandparents in the world. So join a volunteer “Grandparents wanted” program or start one yourself! If you dream of being a parent, but can’t have kids or don’t have a partner, adopt! There are so many children without parents. Or if you can’t commit to that, join a program that helps single parents, or assists parents with children in need of extra care, or help out in a children’s home or refugee center. If you want to publish a book, write it and publish it yourself! If you want to be a singer, record a song and upload it to a streaming service. If you want to start a vintage shop, but can’t afford to, source clothes from friends and family or your local thrift shop and set up a stall on the local Sunday Market! If you want to work somewhere, but don’t have the skill set, offer to work for free a couple of hours a week! If you want to live on a deserted island, buy a tent and get a local fisherman to take you out to one of the many uninhabited islands on our planet. If you want to have an art exhibition, start painting and find an abandoned boat house and make flyers to hang in the local supermarket announcing your exhibition, or if you are too shy, simply leave your paintings for Sunday walkers to stumble upon. If you dream of living in a castle, there are castles (for example in Ireland) you can rent, even for just a night. Throw a ball and be the belle you read about in story books when you were a kid!
You get the gist of this. If you learn to be flexible, to live for the moments, the experiences, instead of the illusion of ownership, fame, material gain etc, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from fulfilling every dream you have ever had. You just simply get creative and make it happen. All on your own.