Saturday, March 21, 2015

Let there be light after dark

Everything's a mess. It continues to thaw by day and refreeze by night. The roads and tracks turn into ribbons and rivers of mud and water. The dog is shedding his wintercoat and the itch is driving him mad. He scratches himself ferociously leaving tufts of loose hair between his toes and nails, while an aura of flying hair and dust surrounds him at all times. Muddy boots in the hall, muddy pawprints in every other living area and the grinding sound of sand, wherever you go. Wintercoats and snowboots, rain- or thin jackets and rubber boots, mittens, gloves, knitted hats..... Chaos rules... The time is at hand to clean up, clear out the old and bring in the new...

And while our latest member of the family takes the most credit for the present mess, he also ensures our lives do not get boring otherwise.
How is one supposed to get mad at this??
He has been developing into this glad, happy, energetic, boisterous, not always equally obedient fellow, who has been developing a trait I never experienced in one of the dogs I had or dealt with; he talks... No really: He does. When spoken to or when he himself speaks, he doesn't bark or whine. He makes these noises more inside his mouth and throat that sounds a bit like mrawr wroowroowwrow (you're trying it now, aren't you?) and similar versions in varying and alternating intensity, volume and order. Depending on the occasion; food, go out for a walk, playtime... One can actually have a conversation with him! He answers you and it often is hilarious... Just not at 05:45 am next to the bed into one's ear. When laying down on the couch (I had to give in here due to group pressure) he also moans, groans and sighs like an old tired man. He even smiles at times! Rub or scratch him in a particular way and you'll see his eyes turning to slits and the corners of his mouth curling up. And then he has this special wry smile.... Really I sometimes swear he was a human in a previous life, having returned as a dog to get taught a lesson. But when I see him play with one (1!) bit of his dry food, I swear he was a cat somewhere down the line too! He sure is a one of a kind character!

The weather has been exceptionally good the period before the weekend, last week, week and a half. High temperatures, much sun. Typical that exactly at this weekend, with the aurora, eclipse and equinox, the weather turns winterly....
The high daytime temperatures, coupled with cold nights, makes that the ice on the lakes melts and refreezes, causing tremendous stresses within the ice and we can hear it! Even when indoors. The ice groans and moans all the time, often giving off booming sounds, but especially during the mornings, when the sun is warming up, the sounds become violent. It starts to crack, long drawn out cracks ending with a sharp snap, reverberating through the valley. Reminds us of lighting during a fierce summer thunderstorm played in slow mode.
The sun is illuminating spider threads as they waft through the air, loosely strung between the branches of trees and bushes, the light caught in the filaments, turning them into threads of gold. The open water of the lake shimmers and sparkles in a dazzling display of light and in the early morning ice crystals grow out of the ground reflecting the light of the rising sun like diamonds, before the warm rays turn them into water once more. On the other hand I am waiting for the warmth to clear the forest floor. The thaw and freeze cycle has transformed much of it into sheets of ice, often looking like glass, polished smooth and transparent. However in between the trees, pine and spruce mostly, the ground is free. At least the very top. Underneath the moss, leaves and twigs the ground is still rock hard. Yet these are places the sun does not reach, but they appear to be warmer than the areas the sun does reach....

The sun was also otherwise very active, creating the perfect conditions for magnificent displays of the northern light.... of which we saw practically none, because King Winter sent us a shroud of clouds, stubbornly trying to fight of the light, only revealing the light in the dead of night.

Still feast your eyes on some images of what it looked like in the immediate area. The following images are sent in by readers of Lucky bastards... or less sleepy ones...
Ornäs Borlänge
Varpan, Falun

Falu Gruvan, Falun
There was another equally or maybe even more stunning display of light and dark, a solar eclipse, but again that was not visible to us, for the same reason. But whatever King Winter throws at us, he can not stop the advance of the season of light...
The eclipse itself was, as said, not visible to us. The only thing we saw, was snow falling onto a slightly darkening, grey world with a faint orange tinge to it at the moment of the eclipse here. As I stood by the window, looking out, I saw a crow working its way around an apple I had thrown out earlier this morning. It opened its beak a bit, jabbed it into the apple and flew away with it. It actually flew away with one complete apple!
Another thing that was quite noticeable was the arrival of a large flock of returning birds; bofink (or common chaffinch) and bergfink (or brambling); one or two dozen of each. They were joined by not only blåmes and talgoxe (blue and great tits), but also by grönfink (greenfinches), gul sparv (yellowhammers), some domherre (bullfinch) and I even thought I saw grön siska (eurasian siskin) And they did make quite an audible display! At one point all these species were foraging on the ground with even one of the woodpeckers joining them. And when I took the camera and pointed it at them..... they all instantly vanished in a flurry of wingbeats.
This choir of birds became a lot less audible, as the darkening went on and as it did I felt the already present unease building up ever faster into a sense of tension. In my gut, my chest, my spine....Later on, when the sun reappeared the world had this strange, bright almost glorious feel to it... As if it had been renewed in a way.. liberated.... And I could breathe! Really bizarre.

And then there was this strange episode I told about in between the solar eclipse and the equinox of the 20th; Skogens andar

Vårdagjaämning.... The moment where day and night are of equal length... As of that moment the days will be longer than the nights.
There has been so much going on lately, we thought it appropriate to celebrate, commemorate that by having a little special something; the first fire in the garden. Too bad the weather wasn't playing along. On thursday evening the weather turned sharply, clouds sweeping in, temperatures dropping. The forecast for friday was cold, a thick blanket of clouds, windy and mild snowfall mixed with rain. The forecasters predicted everything right this time... except that there was more snow and as it turned out of a much dryer nature later in the night. So the planned celebration with a open fire and a homebrewed beer in the garden was held inside....
The next morning the sun turned the world into a dazzling wonderland with an intensity that is so much different than during winter. Much more intense, much fuller, much more blinding, sparkling. The cover of snow showed we have a very active fox in the immediate area still.
The world started dripping again very soon, adding yet more water to the already saturated ground.
And as winter is giving way to spring, the idiots of summer are beginning to return, invading the peacefulness, ripping apart the veil of quiet with motocross bikes and quads with bad or no mufflers.....

our world saturday morning 06:30 am
And later in the afternoon...

found this little guy next to the wood stack
Despite the ground still being frozen (so I'll have to wait a little longer to start doing some real gardening work), some things are already in progress.
I fixed and filled the woodstorage next to the backdoor. New pallets on the ground, new planks on the side, new fixing in the ceiling. The shoddy wood storage down in the garden we used last winter really wasn't adequate to say the least. So I started removing the wood from it and started tearing it down.
We should have started cleaning up big time; a whole bunch of scrap should've been collected today. the Mitsubishi "wreck", the old moosetub (the bathtub where the moosehide resided for a couple of weeks), the old gas powered grasscutter, 2 old bicycles... The fellow that should come by didn't... again. I hate it when people do that!

And what man doesn't clean up, nature eventually will....
This was earlier last week btw.


  1. I have Pembroke Welsh Corgis and they definitely "talk"! You described it well - they have sounds for everything.
    We had our first experience hearing ice "talk" this winter - it was really amazing to hear the sounds created by the cracking.

    1. Try picturing that sounds on a moonlit night, no artificial lights and a fog rising from a frozen lake... Goosebumps the size of the Himalayas!

  2. Now those Northern Lights... They are on my Bucket List! You have reminded me that I need to start a process that culminates in time spent some where they can be seen. We thought of going to Northern Manitoba but so far the resources to get there have not appeared. Must work on this.

    The dog is heartbreakingly cute! The place where you live is heartbreakingly beautiful! Yay for ladybugs!

    1. I'll never forget the first time I saw the aurora back in 2001. First in whites and a few days later in full colour. That really put this in perspective. Above all how tiny we are...