My love affair with Sweden always included notions of woodland sprites, fairies, trolls, and nymphs. It seemed to me that in this Scandinavian land, one could experience a special kind of magic found only in a Nordic wilderness.
The culture of Sweden, and her neighbors, has a long history of embracing the spirit of the forest. Nature, and access to nature, is important and it is one of the reasons Allemansrätten (the right of public access) exists, allowing all people to roam freely on any land with the exception of private gardens and homes. Preservation of the environment is nearly encoded in the Swedish DNA and evidence of this is shown through their systems of recycling and waste management.
This love of nature is one of the things which drew me here. But I have to admit, I haven’t taken advantage of the beauty that surrounds me. I have been too distracted with finding work, fitting in, and keeping abreast of the news on my social media platforms.
These are dark times and it is now more important than ever to grab whatever beauty and refuge we can find wherever we can find it. It is more important then ever to indulge in a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of imagination, and to release our minds from the constant onslaught of bad news. More than ever we need to allow our eyes to follow the path of a butterfly, find faces and castles in the clouds, and listen to nothing more than the wind in the trees. Here in Sweden, this can mean simply walking out your door.Read More»
As I am now nearing my third year of residence in Sweden, new friends have asked me what it was I did for a living in my “old life”. This question always takes me a bit by surprise because I’m not sure which Old Life they refer to. The life which I lived in the US, or the one which I lived in a past life?
It does not escape me that Sweden is an old culture, so when someone asks me about a past life this might be a perfectly logical or even common question. This question is, however, one which I can not answer. Much easier is it for me to refer to my recent past and explain that I studied and loved art history and that I once made a living writing about such pleasures.
This need not be. The study of Scandinavia’s art and history, and also the study of ancient nordic runes, fairy tales, folk tales, and mythology is extremely rewarding and informs us in matters concerning a people, place, and time.Read More»
I had the great fortune this last weekend to be invited to visit a Connecticut friend, and her son, in their Swedish home in the forest of Nittkvarn. As do most vacations or weekend getaways, the experience left me feeling inspired and refreshed, and gave me a whole new perspective on Sweden and her people. So friendly and warm were the neighbors we met there that I find myself still smiling over conversations had around the dinner table or fishing at the lake.
We packed up the car late Friday afternoon and headed out for the long five hour drive to parts of Sweden previously unknown or unseen by me. It was a festival for my eyes, my spirit, and my mind. Fields of yellow flowers. A constantly changing glorious Scandinavian sky. Cows and horses in pastures. The midnight sun, forests, and fields where I just know Swedish trolls resided, Näcken enticed, and elves danced in the mist. It is magical.Read More»
Something has happened to my ability to care for foliage. I don’t know how or why this happened but I can say to you, with the greatest confidence, that if there is a plant you hate you must bring it to my house. I will care for it and love it until its little shiny green leaves turn brown and wilt. Its flowers will drop off. Its soil will sour. I will return it to you, in no time at all, a shadow of its former self. I will present you with a stick.
I never used to have this problem. It’s very upsetting because I love plants and flowers and I’ve always done well with horticulture. For all of my life, I had lush, green, beautiful plants in my home. I had gardens of lilacs, iris, peony, strawberries, raspberries, flowering trees and other earthly delights in my yard. A year ago, I watched as friends and family carted off my big beautiful plants as I prepared to move to Sweden.
Perhaps this is payback from the gardening world. I gave away my plants and I am now poison to them.
My guy, believing that I could handle the responsibility for caring of plants, presented me with gorgeous lemon trees, orange trees, olive trees, and beautiful potted beauties. I was delighted. I loved them. And I killed them off… one by one. He finds this immensely entertaining and can not keep from smiling each time I mention the subject.Read More»
Sweden has vipers and killer slugs! Oh my! Last night listening to Radio Sweden was the blurb about warmer weather coming and those walking about in the woods and forests should beware of vipers! Vipers? Between the venomous snakes and the killer slugs, I’m thinking perhaps I’ve picked the wrong continent.
Gotta run now… out shopping for really tall boots!