June 16th, 2006

say what?


We are rising, light-filled, toward the longest day. Morning after morning breaks clear across the wide sky and pours sunshine over us in spate. If it were possible to be filled to the brim with sunshine, I would be, but it keeps on coming and it's never enough, here in a northern country where grey skies, rain and darkness hold so much sway. Contrails stitch comet-needles across the roof of the sky, and clouds have pasted themselves unmoving along the horizon. When the sun lowers it singes all the edges, turning everything rose-red, pink-gold, orange and lavender.

Out watering in the yard, the long blue snake of the hose behind me, I stand by the ankle-high hedge, icewater dripping down my wrist. Across the ditch, the horses puff and blow and suddenly a spiky fat meatloaf waddles up the slope on the far side: hedgehog. He disappears among the grasses and I turn the hose from its fat, flat spray to a stiff and pointed stream, flipping it up and over to the other side to see if I can flush him out again, but he's gone.

Earlier, Mom called me to the kitchen window to help identify a small bird. Small birds seem unusual here among the giant crows, ravens, magpies and jackdaws that dominate. It's tiny, poppity, a suggestion of stripes; black and white and black and white again. Martin makes a suggestion in Swedish, Sädesärla, and sure enough, when we look it up that's what it is: a Pied Wagtail.

My sister identified another the week before last, after being startled by a pigeon in the yard the size of a large cat. It was a Wood Pigeon and while it was apparently building a nest in one of trees across the ditch, I haven't seen it again. It looks just like a regular pigeon only about 3x the size. Strangely enough, right after she saw it in our yard, we saw another one hanging out on a balcony in the middle of downtown Malmö.

Oh! I forgot to tell you about the dog! On our way back from Germany, after landing at Copenhagen airport, taking the train across the Öresund, and meeting Anders' parents who brought our car to the train station, we were zipping along the highway at the speedy but entirely manageable limit of 120 klicks on our last stretch before home. Anders was driving and ahead of us in the right lane a campervan was going quite slow, so Anders smoothly pulled out to the left to pass them, when we suddenly realized they weren't so much going slow as nearly stopped because out from in front of them walked a big black Rottweiler, straight across the highway with absolutely no notice or concern taken of the high-speed traffic (read: US!) rushing toward him. He didn't react at all either with his eyes or ears, and continued straight on his course across our road and the median into the the oncoming traffic on the other side as we swerved wildly to miss him. Anders said there was another dog coming after him up onto the road, which I didn't see, since I was in the middle of a panic-coronary. My guesses were deaf, blind or sick, and we tried to call the police to report it, but couldn't get through, so hopefully they crossed all the way without further incident.