Learning About The Moments

Hello dear ones! I checked the weather map this morning after waking up to strong winds grabbing at the house. They warned of hard winds in this area and outside the snow is creating a thick veil of fog. Somehow there’s something very cozy about sitting inside when the wind howls and snow whirls through the trees outside the window. And I always feel so safe in these old, wooden houses.

On Sunday morning just gone, my mom, brother, Loke and I went on an adventure, and once again I meant to write about it earlier but I keep forgetting how these road trips zap all my strength and energy.

white-road-and-snow-laden-trees

If sitting still and crammed into a car for hours is strenuous for me, it is even more so for my mom who has arthritis. But she loves adventures, too, and when I asked if she wanted to come along on this trip she of course said yes. She had an SLR when we were younger and has filled many pages in our family albums with photos. Now she uses her phone and happily shoots from the seat in the car, so the photos with me in it are courtesy of my mom.

One of our first stops was at a frozen lake with the most beautiful view. I got out to climb a snow drift to get a better view, but when I wanted to get down on the other side it didn’t occur to me that the snow wouldn’t be as packed down there. Loke whined in the car when I gave out a shout as I went straight through at least one meter of snow.

me-photographing-on-a-snow-drift

I started laughing as I sat there in my hole in the snow. Mom called out and asked if I was all right, which I of course was. I got snow into my shoes and inside my coat, which I didn’t realise until I had sat in the car for a while and the seat and my pants were all wet. Haha But I got great photos!

white-lake-and-snowy-tree-dressed-mountains

frost-dressed-tree-trunk

snowy-rest-stop

You know, this area we drove through was one of the most beautiful on the entire trip. Ever since the road trip with my brother last summer I have wanted to go back toward the Norwegian border, toward the fell mountains to take photos. Now when the world here is covered in all this snow, I got an image in my head and decided to go chase it. All along the road Mom and I ooh-ed and aah-ed at the breathtaking sights. Driving a white road lined by tall spruces in their snowy coats, leaf trees bowing beneath the weight of the snow, is so incredibly magical. It’s like being embraced by winter itself. A sense of warmth and peace spreads through every limb in the body and I didn’t even stop to take photos. I wanted to continue along that road into eternity.

So often I have both read and heard that it’s not the destination that counts but the journey. It’s so true, too, I have found, but I also forget this so easily. When I get an idea and the inspiration to move, I sometimes become so focused on reaching my goal that I only give glances to what happens around me as I work toward it. In spite of knowing each step holds valuable experience in itself. So often along the drive I saw such beauty, but I only stopped a few times. I knew that we only had so many hours of daylight, and since we left two hours later than I initially planned, I would have had maybe one hour at our destination before sunset. A thick sheet of clouds also hung from the sky so the light was very mellow to begin with, which didn’t matter so much. I love the melancholy, too, that the landscape is wrapped in when the sun doesn’t shine.

me-photographing-at-rest-stop

Jämtland, the province in which my destination was, is so beautiful. It’s not all that different from Ångermanland, just more. The mountains a little higher, the valleys a little deeper, the lakes a little more to count. Or at least it feels like that. And then of course the fell mountains to glimpse on the horizon as you near Östersund. Åre is situated in Jämtland, which might be if not the most popular winter holiday destination, then very far up there. My brother and I drove past Åre on our way to Norway last summer, and it sure was spectacular to me, even without its winter outfit.

These last photos I’m sharing are from Ragundadalen, about halfway to our destination Gräftåvallen, which lies about 100 kilometers below Åre.

winter-evergreens

snow-powdered-cones-and-needles

frozen-river-landscape

rest-stop-ragundadalen

After having some coffee and sandwiches at this rest stop, we drove on until I had to pee so badly I feared I would wet my pants. Haha Then I wasted precious time driving around a small community called Brunflo trying to find a toilet. We were in stitches by the time we found a service station where they had four toilets. Brun is brown in Swedish, and I commented on that no wonder it’s called that; people have been driving on for hours and they come here bursting at the seams in search for a toilet and find none. I have a very childish sense of humor. 🙂

When we finally left Brunflo, the sun was disappearing behind the brief break in the clouds, and even though I knew by then we would be arriving after dark, I drove on. All the way up the mountain that looked nothing like what I had imagined. In all honesty I saw no fell mountains within our reach, only those towering on the horizon, far too far to reach on that day’s trip. At the top outside the small resort, I stopped the car and didn’t even get outside. My brother took Loke out to leave some poop on top of the mountain, and then he had a pee in a snow drift before we drove back down. Mom laughed at the fact we had driven 300 kilometers for this, which is funny. We also looked at renting a room for the night to maybe salvage the trip and take the next day to drive around, but my brother had to be at work at eight the next morning, which he said his boss would probably be okay with, but I drove us back home anyway.

snow-powdered-evergreen-branches

I have a tendency to think at times like these about purpose. That pretty much anything we do, things that happen have a meaning. Especially when I drove 600 kilometers there and back without barely getting out of the car. I didn’t take photos up on that mountain when I so easily could have, but I just didn’t feel like it. When I sat there I thought that this trip wasn’t meant to be about reaching a destination or a goal. I didn’t come here to find the visuals to fit the image in my head. This was about looking at how to be in the moment, how to savor the journey. The people I was with — spending time with family I don’t get to see very often. And believe me, we had the greatest time. We talked about everything imaginable and laughed so hard my face hurt. And before settling in for the drive home, we stopped at Brunflo again to get some dinner.

dinner-stop-at-sibylla-brunflo

After a couple of months of feeling like my passion and motivation for all things photography and going on adventures had slipped away, I am so incredibly thankful for this drive. I talked a little with my brother about these things when I picked him up on Saturday night, and he, too, has felt his own inspiration for drawing (which he is so amazing at) has abandoned him lately. Maybe this is just truly due to the seasons within us. The winter in our minds. We, too, fall into hibernation and need to do so. Our minds are capable of incredible things, we as humans have so much power and energy flowing through us, but can we expect it to be constant? Is it natural? Is it nature’s way?

I look at the river and the mountains outside my window and it lies in peaceful rest. The tall birches don’t attempt to sprout buds, no animal out there pretends it is anything other than winter. The water slows its course beneath the ice. Just the same our thoughts and actions need a little extra time to unfold.

I wish you a continued great week. Much love. ❤

Advertisements

Something Meaningful

In one of my very first posts when I started this blog, I wrote how I have always loved drawing. I also used to sing a lot, and when I was practicing Celine Dion-tunes my dad would yell from upstairs who is strangling the cat? (Even if we did not have one at that point in time, huh.) When I didn’t sing or draw I would find something else. I remember I got out my mother’s old painting books and colours and painted the landscapes I saw on the pages. I painted on cardboard boxes or the covers of drawing pads, since we couldn’t afford anything else.

LeafyWindow

Artsy things. Anything to do with creating something beautiful is something I have always loved doing. I asked myself in my journal a few days ago what it is I love so much about photography. I thought of when I studied to become a makeup artist in Australia, back in 2003. That was about the same thing. To capture beauty–there is so much of it in this world–and bring it forward. Anything that fascinates me–any subject, object or composition of several–colours, light, dark, angles–which to me holds a sense of wonder I want to capture. And interpret–translate into a medium with which I want to say, “This is how I see our world. Look how wonderful it is.”

TheOldSauna

And yesterday, as I came out of the barn after helping Jay with building some shelves, I looked at the piled tree trunks out there. Some of it is used to make wood chips, which we burn to heat up the house and our water. And some of it just sits there. I stood there and gazed at it all, wandered closer and suddenly I had an aspen trunk in my arms and carried it away to what used to be a horse wagon shed.

Wheelbarrel

These days we keep various tools and gardening equipment in that building. With that tool there, resting on the wheelbarrow, I removed the bark from the aspen. I told Jay about an idea I had, earlier that day, and he found a tool I could use. I don’t know the name of it, but it has been on this farm for at least a few generations.

It took me quite some time to peel the bark, and by the time I was done my entire body ached. The result was so worth it, though.

PeeledAspenTrunk

PeeledAspen

And today I got another trunk and peeled the bark off. A birch this time. The most fascinating patterns are hidden beneath the bark, and together with the scratch marks from the peeling tool, it looks incredible.

TreeTrunks

BirchBark

BirchUpClose

These piles of birch and aspen are now off-limits–they are now mine. I am going to create something out of it.

A couple of days ago Jay told me there will be no more saplings to plant this year. I have waited and waited so I can get out there again. But apparently this entire country has run out of saplings. I cannot even believe how that is possible. I talked to Jay about growing our own. Gather pine and spruce cones and just grow them ourselves. But we need thousands. That is a lot of work. Not to mention I have no idea where to keep them, especially over winter. I haven’t abandoned the idea just yet. I know nothing about growing trees, either, but the great thing about not knowing something is the opportunity you get to learn it.

FairytaleForest

In the meantime, I will be spending a lot of time working on those aspens and birches. Finland celebrates one hundred years this year, by the way, and for this there has been a drive to plant trees. I wondered if that was why we have run out, but Jay says it is because we are cutting down more forest than normally here and so we have to plant more than usual. Either way, my longing for planting trees has met a sad ending for now, but I can do something with a few of the ones we have taken that is more symbolic and meaningful than burning.

I am so incredibly exhausted I have to go to bed, but I felt I wanted to let you know why I am and will be a little absent. During the weekend I will pop in again to take part in the Weekly Photo Challenge, but for now I hope you have all had a great week so far and I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead. ❤