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A tiny sleek copper-colored snake gliding through the leaf clutter on the forest floor. Giant wooden towers built on a beach of boulders. A maze of grey beech tree roots patterning the cliffside. Karin far ahead of us, bounding down the side of the hill, first to reach the tunnel towers of wood that lead to the towering structures. Martin leaping from boulder to rock, climbing to the top of Wotan's Tower, a veritable billygoat. My heart, pounding like a jackhammer, as I lean against the trunk of an old oak tree, resting on the way back up the hill. A small seaside town, lambent in the evening sunlight, with a friendly harbor and ice cream from the kiosk. A little brown and white spaniel out on the rocks of the harbor, his tail wagging so hard it's nearly a propeller as the kids scrounge for sticks among the stones to fling out in the air for him to chase.

As the sun begins to sink, the air grows chill and we turn our faces toward home. It's nearly bathtime when we arrive but the kids have an hour to play before I call them in. After they've been scrubbed, pajamaed and brushed, we read the first chapter of The Long Winter, returning to Laura and Mary after a sojourn in Almanzo Wilder's boyhood, and then we bundle up: fleeces, long pants, socks, winter hats and a big blanket. The kids and I head out first, to lie on the big trampoline in the chilly evening. Fall is in the air. The sky is only dark straight up, there is a ring of cobalt around the horizon. We can hear an orchestra of crickets or grasshoppers and other nightbugs singing away in the ditch. A bat goes swooping in circles about our heads and over the yard in widening ellipses. Karin sits bolt upright and the whole trampoline shakes and bounces.

We lie back down and watch the stars come out as the sky slowly darkens. John and Anders join us and we lie there for an hour, counting shooting stars: the Perseids have come to town, my annual stellar birthday present. We've missed the peak this past weekend; too many things going on and a party to distract us, but we still see them every once in awhile, a faint streak of light burning toward Earth. Martin counts 8 by the time we go in, I've seen 5. The big dipper is high and bright to the left of our heads. It's cozy under the blanket despite the cold air; I feel inert and centered as if I could stay lying there, staring at the stars, forever.

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Your embedded photo links haven't been working in the last couple of entries for me...sounds like other people aren't having that problem. I looked at the link to the structures--those are amazing! One of them had a person on top--are you allowed to climb them? Are they that stable?

My brother took a picture of a driftwood sculpture when we were at Plum Island on Saturday. I don't know where he saw it--we were all standing together and somehow I missed it. It's gorgeous, but certainly doesn't look like something one could climb.

I wanted to ask you about the food culture in Sweden. Is there a prevalent foodie culture there with stores catering towards organic produce versus regular groceries or is it all one culture? I'm curious if people in Sweden are already where I see our affluent-ended culture going.

Yes, they're very stable and you can climb to the top of all of those towers. These are actually recreations. Vandals burned several of the towers down in 1997.

And no, I don't think there is anywhere near the kind of foodie culture here in Sweden that there is in the States.

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lizardek's obiter photos

Feeling generous? Be my guest!

I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

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