Below Zero

ColdWell, those four letters pretty much sum it up!

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Not A Windy Day

Frozen Laundry… so what? Well, Frozen!
Air-dried in that cold, it can fool gravity.

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summer memories

leaves, flowers and water
I think I might have caught a cold or something. You know, headache, sore throat, chills? That kind of thing. But, admittedly, life could much be worse. I’m sitting by the wood stove, wrapped in a cozy blanket, while yet another batch of thyme-peppermint-nettle-ginger tea is getting ready. And I’m gonna put honey in it, I’m telling you. In the meantime, digging into my archives to find something suitable for this week’s photo challenge, here’s what I’ve found. A glimpse of a warm, delightful, happy summer day. Gone, but not forgotten.

in a new light

Old barn in Scandinavia

Dear Family, Friends, Colleagues, Acquaintances and Random Strangers,

Do you remember the picture of this old barn I took last month? Here is another one from yesterday.

Some of you worry about my survival in these Nordic latitudes. You’re worried about the freezing cold and ominous darkness. Some of you have even heard somewhere (where, by the way?) of alarming statistics about the rates of suicide in Scandinavian lands. I thank you infinitely for your concern.

Do not worry. Of course I am not denying that on December days like today, sunset is to be expected around 1:40 pm. If it’s cloudy (which is rather frequent), and in the absence of snow, the atmosphere can undeniably be gloomy, and it its hard to remember that these lands are submerged in darkness only half of the year, while summer nights are so bright they almost feel like days. But you can rest assured that, although I do sleep a little longer than usual these days, I do not feel condemned to total hibernation.

winter light in Scandinavia

You would be surprised to see how, far from moping around in the dark all day long, the locals live their lives anyway. I have noticed one thing they do to cope with the darkness: they turn the lights on.

Now I hope you’re sighing in relief. But I don’t want you, though, to imagine anything as vulgar as dazzling white lamps all over the place. Picture, instead, small touches of warm yellow light here and there. One small lamp at each window. Always a candle on the table. The most delicate Christmas lights. Nothing to flashy, nothing to bright.

winter-light2

There is not much sunlight, these days, it is true. But when there is, it is golden, and you’re immersed in it, and you cannot believe its beauty.

You see, living in Scandinavia has taught me one important lesson: for light as for so many things, it is not just quantity that matters. Quality does, too.

Love,
Marion

PS: Please do not send wishes of mild temperatures. I’m actually longing for minus degrees. I can hear you saying that this climate must have driven me nuts, but it hasn’t. You’ve probably heard somewhere that dry cold is much more bearable than moist cold. Well, it is true. Rest assured, though. Like the locals (can you believe there are millions of people living in this country? Millions!), I am taking all necessary precautions whenever I get out of the house: I always put on a coat, a scarf, a hat and mittens. No, really, I promise you, I’m fine. XOXO. M.

on not buying stuff and hot water bottles

hot-water-bottle-bymarion

Soon (hopefully), our little house will have a brand new wood stove. While we’re longing for a crakling fire, our stay-warm strategy is all about fine-tuning the electric heaters so as 1) not to freeze and 2) not to get a heart attack when receiving electricity bills.

A while ago, as I was getting ready to go to bed after a cold and white day, I found myself dreaming of a nice hot water bottle.

The next day, I did some research to find out what a hot water bottle is called in this country, and then where to buy one. The pharmacy. That is, at least, a one hour drive.

Luckily, as Gregg points out in this brilliant post, “most often the best alternative is to not buy anything”.

And, after all, a hot water bottle is not much more than a bottle of hot water, is it? I just love it, really, when that happens.