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A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT
Craving sunshine nearly as much as I'm craving snow, I was delighted to see the sun smiling in a bright blue sky when I woke, vacation-late as usual, this morning. Anders and the kids were headed out the door to their grandparents; Anders is going to help them paint their bathroom this week, and I, quite honestly, am glad of some alone time.

I worked on my editing project for a couple of hours and ate a big salad for lunch, and then the call of the sunshine overwhelmed me at last and pushed me out the door. Brrr! It is COLD out there! There's a slick of ice over every paved surface, but the county has been around with the sand & gravel trucks, and have very kindly spread some on the walking paths as well as the streets, so it's just a matter of being a little more penguin-walky than usual.

After the turn out of the neighborhood by the back of the school, I knew I'd have to return to the house for the camera, so I took a shortcut back and fetched it. The winter palette of grey, green and brown was lit up everywhere with the silver and gold sparkles of sunshine on ice. The leaf litter of brown beech leaves underfoot was rimed in frost, each individual leaf stamped out in silver. Except for the barking of seals, it was still and quiet. I rounded the corner to find the tree-filled hollow that is often foot-deep with water completely frozen over: a bowl of white with trees sticking out and the seals turned out to be a gang of small boys, delightedly sliding about on the ice, whacking an ice-puck ahead of them with makeshift tree-branch hockey sticks.





Once I was well past the boys, the stillness descended again. I could hear birds once in awhile, but not much else. The creek alongside the path to the snail trail sported a saran-wrap thin skin of ice along each edge. An old woman walked toward me, and smiled as she said Hej!; my answering smile as big as hers. I could tell that her smile and greeting enveloped a whole joyful conversation of: Isn't it FINE out today? Isn't this WONDERFUL? My lungs filled and emptied, the cold air zinging in and filling every crevice as I swung my arms and strode along. I bit gently down on my dry lips, feeling them crinkle and dent and expand again.





On the way back around, I cut through the village green to stay in the sunlight as much as possible. A bunch of small brown sparrows chattered to each other in a leafless lilac bush, only falling silent as I came too near. A car pulled out from a driveway up the street and the tires spun, spraying sand and gravel as it slid, before getting a grip. I walked down the bare pear allé—it's a depressingly different sight in winter: all gnarled and twisted and stunted without the white flowers of spring or the green leaves of summer or the bright bounty of autumn pears to lend it allure.

A flock of rooks swung from the trees down to the grass ahead of me, big as cats. As long as I was walking they paid me no mind but as soon as I stopped to pull out the camera, they would swoop up and ahead to a safer distance. By this time, the skin of my chin was so cold it burned and I could feel every inch of my thighs through the too-thin denim of my jeans. Up the path between the school and our neighborhood, each small square of pavement was lined with crackled ice and here and there the plastic pop caps of New Year's Eve littered the frozen crunched grass, each tree covered in bright green moss, everything sparkling in the sun.





Already now, a scant 30 minutes after I came back inside, the sun is slanting down, shadows throwing themselves against the house; it will be dark pretty soon. But I know we got more than the day before; the light is on its way back.

Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: Stuff in perspective

Beautiful, Sorrowful & Moving: Days With My Father (thanks to courtesy for the link)
 happy
mood: happy
music: XTC—Grass


Comments

Beautiful pictures. The photos and the words.

Thanks, you :)

What a wonderful walk through the neighbourhood. Thank you for sharing all of that with us. As long as you are rugged up, it's wonderful to be out on these crisp clear days.

You weren't kidding that you didn't get much snow. We have plenty here as you can see. Even Lambi needs a winter coat.

WOW! You've truly got a winter wonderland up there. I love the snow-flocked trees. Very envious right now. We've just got the freezing temps, ice and frost, but no snow whatsoever. The forecast says we'll possibly get some on Wednesday...I'll believe it when I see it.

You've truly got a winter wonderland up there. So waht are you waiting for. Lambi's here and I have cookies :)

Actually, it's so cold that those trees are covered in ICE, not snow. Did you see that I still have my moose reflector :)

The other cool thing we saw was sjörök (don't know what that is in English) when we looked out to sea. It was amazing.

That IS cool...like fog on the sea!

It was beautiful. It happens when the sea temperature is warmer than the ambient air temperature. I've seen it in small bits, but never the whole harbour and out to sea like that.

According to Wikipedia, sjörök in English is no more fancy than steam or evaporation fog, but it still is an interesting phenomena.

I heard on the weather forecast that tomorrow, Tuesday it will be a bit more mild but the really cold weather is back for Wednesday. Brr. A few days ago, one of the plastic ice scrapers laying in my car broke in two parts when I picked it up! I didn't even have to use it before it broke.

I would think Lambi needs booties, too, actually. Does she have some?

Whatever for? She never walks. She's a princess. She has staff to do the walking....

Do you just bend down and hold her rear over the bag, when she's ready?

She doesn't "do it" in public! What do you take her for? A dog? She has an inside box at home now, so she can be in private and never stray far from sofa and goodies jar.

Man, that dog has it MADE!

Dog???

Wash your mouth out with soap!

She's a regular little opportunist. She uses the box on the boat and we had taken it home with a few other things for winter storage. Before we got a chance to take it up to the attic area, she trotted over and peed in it like it was meant to be. So we let it stay. And she trots off to the bathroom when she feels like it, just like a regular person. Hee, hee...

(Anonymous)

Pretty pics Liz! The first 3 are my favorites- great eye you have!

Ciao,
Kathryn

I was amazed I managed to get ANY photos at all -- I got a "Warning! Battery exhausted" message as soon as I got back out there with the camera, despite putting NEW batteries in the darn thing before I left the house!!

(Anonymous)

Beautiful post and beautiful photos! Wow...

And isn't it wonderful that light is returning?? Everything feels so much better knowing we are going towards the light, spring, summer, long days...

/Mia

http://mias.blogg.se

I totally agree! Even on a cloudy day like today, it makes a difference knowing the light is returning :)

(Anonymous)

Beautiful photos and beautiful words. Although, I would have liked to see a pic of the seals! :) Love, Lizardmom

They wouldn't hold still long enough! :D

(Anonymous)

I'd love to see the seals too! Are you that close to the water?

julia@kolo

No no! The seals were the BOYS! :)

Liz! I just realized my Bloglines hasn't been updating your feed! Just tried to add it again (occasionally they seem to get wonky)...but it says you haven't updated in weeks...?? So I thought you weren't posting since I'd gotten back in the reading saddle with the new year. Hope you and the family are well and I look forward to getting caught up on your doings. 'Cause I know you're a busy, doing sort of gal. ;) Happy New Year! xo

What the heck? Smack that Bloglines around and tell it to get up to speed! I update every couple of days usually, and have been pretty regular lately. I'm glad to see you back around, girl, you've been missed!! Happy New Year to you, too! :)

What a beautiful walk! Your word pictures could easily have painted a picture for me. Easily. I’m glad you included the photos because I’m curious to see what it is like for you. I’ve never been out of the country and only out of my home state four times. When I’m shopping at IKEA I see Hej! on posters and I think of you. I am fascinated with your story, your life.

haha! I love it that you think of me when you're at IKEA! Have you bought any of the Swedish food yet? They have some good stuff :)

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