• Sweden edition
 

Julie\'s Nordic Island

Space & Time for Your Wellbeing

Archive for the ‘Season’ Category

The eye of spring

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

The eye of the spring

The eye of spring peered through the frosted reeds. The thought of this delicate time of year, with its fragile flowers and pastel colors, often seems so far away in mid-winter;  but on this January morning at the water’s edge, the power of its steely light held all winter in a trance. Winter attempted to flex its muscles with -7 Celsius, demonstrating that it could still force us to wear warm clothes and thick-soled boots. Yet, like a child’s laugh which brings the world to a standstill, the yellow light broke through the cold mist that rose from the water’s surface and magically turned it warm.

I’ve waited so long for this morning to come. Since the waning light hours of October, I’ve thought of this January morning with Ellie the dog in the park when we would witness the magnificence of nature turning. It has been worth the wait; indeed, without it, this moment would not at all be the same. Everything to its time.

As my husband and I have both grown a year older this January, I have been thinking about time. During the first thirty years, one cannot hope for it to move quickly enough, releasing the reins on it like a thoroughbred on a race track. Thereafter, there is a short peace with time until one begins to hold the reins increasingly tightly. Life becomes more like dressage, with a greater respect for the dignity of restraint. Then there is a zone somewhere beyond 80, which I still haven’t quite understood, where the horse has been put back into its stall and where the whole business of release and restraint is a memory of the struggle. One goes more deeply into the beautiful simplicity of the child’s laugh and the effortlessness of the light that penetrates the mist in mid-January.

The snow in the back yard is marked by the shape of a sunken heart. In the evening it burned with many candles as the society of sauna brothers (a very exclusive club in our neighborhood that meets weekly to sweat and philosophize together) sang a Swedish Happy Birthday a capella from behind the fence. The sound of a male choir, with men and voices of different ages, is robust and full of musty vitality. There is a confidence in it that we will ride out the years with spirit.

Despite the rising years, I am alert once again these early mornings in January. As soon as my eyes open, I catch that glimmer of spring that breaks the coal black mornings of Scandinavian winter. The eyes that wanted to close again as soon as they opened when the light hours were on the decrease, are now open wide to milk the early mornings of their increasing light. The urge to get up and greet the day has returned and, like the bear, I leave my hibernation.

The bare branches of the fruit trees on the hill chirp. The silence of winter has been broken by the birds who know. The bulbs underground have been broken by small shoots. All of creation knows what we do not yet see. There is a revolution brewing under the surface. The birds fly into the blue sky and perch on a television antenna where the light warms their wings. On this static creation of man they can watch nature unfold.

______________________________

For more about Julie Lindahl’s books and other projects, please visit www.julielindahl.com, www.storiesforsociety.com and www.nordicwellbeing.com.

Report abuse »

A trip to infinity

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Sacred mountains

I’ve come to the mountains to escape the idea of the last day. In the ancient mountains there are no last days, as the mountains go on forever. As we drive up, the giant spruce tower over us on either side of the road like attendants at the portal to this land of infinity. Their size should make them initimidating in the rapidly darkening skies, but it doesn’t. Their white coats of snow make them look like sad angels, overgrown children tasked with standing together and greeting newcomers at this entrance to the land that never ends.

From my cottage window I can see the sacred mountain. It gets in the way of progress, they say, because no one is allowed to build on it, over it or around it. One becomes quite ill climbing up this mountain, and one wonders why since, like most of the Swedish mountains, its altitude is not remarkable. Perhaps that is because its very being clashes with our need for speed; our inclination to divide life into the old and the new. On the mountain, old and new dwell together; they are a part of the same whole and change is constant.

In the nearby village it’s the time of peak business; time for excitement, hustle and bustle. Yet, the manner of speaking of our local hosts, the townspeople, remains constant. While happy to see us, the shop attendants find our ecstatic lowland approach to New Year’s puzzling. They’ve put out the fireworks for sale for our petty amusement, but the mountains will continue at the midnight chiming of the clocks and time will go on.

Out on the cross-country tracks, which are themselves an endless white, it occurs to me why it is that I long to escape finality and the ideas of old and new this year. It isn’t as simple as ageing. The challenges that we face today seem so final that opposites don’t matter any more. Young, old, this, that matter decreasingly as we begin to wake up to the fact that we’ve used up the earth. In this dark thought I come to an even space, as even as the land that stretches between the low, undulating Swedish mountains: when finality becomes great enough, contradictions and opposites seem to collapse. Old and new become time, time and infinity become the universe and, most importantly, you and me become we. My skis keep moving me forward in space and time through the white, but I hold onto this thought which seems so deeply entrenched in the spirit of the mountains.

———————————————-

Learn more about Julie Lindahl’s books and other projects at www.julielindahl.com and www.storiesforsociety.com.

Report abuse »

As good as it gets

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Image by Rachel Stenback

Santa Claus walked down the road holding his young daughter’s hand. They both wore the same red Christmas robes with hoods that had a white fur trimming; and thick boots that kept their feet warm when, in just one day, they would soar overhead in their sled around the world in the cool skies. For now, they trudged down the road in the snow away from me, each one holding a lantern in their free hand that illuminated this special winter’s afternoon two days before Christmas.

I wondered where they were going: perhaps to check on the reindeer, which were bunkering up before the long journey by nibbling on the wintergreen lichen growing on the trees? Santa and his daughter are always so busy preparing at this time of year. Fancy them making their preparations right here in my neighborhood in Drottningholm, Sweden?

I walked home and felt the Christmas spirit coming on. Seeing all of the stuff in the stores hadn’t done it for me. In fact, I was beginning to find the whole concept of Christmas shopping one of alienation and terror. How could we, when we know what all of this superfluous stuff is doing to our planet? Future generations would consider us criminals. The peace of this deep winter’s afternoon, with the snow covering the palace rooftops despite valiant efforts to clear them this week, calmed me and I felt the urge to share the feeling. Perhaps I could light a couple of lanterns and put them out there in the snow in front of my house for passersby to enjoy. I hoped they’d understand that my lanterns were for them – particularly people I didn’t know – so that they might contribute in some small way to that one thing that makes Christmas indispensable: the rise of our common feeling of humanity.

An hour later there was a light knock on the door. It sounded like the small fist of a child. I opened the door and found it was Santa’s daughter with the lantern in her hand. She blinked twice and smiled gently without saying a word. Behind her, gathered in a small crowd of light, were many Santas, women and men, girls and boys. Someone had understood my lanterns, I thought. They launched into one of the most beautiful Swedish Christmas songs I know which starts with, “Light, light, wonderful light…” and two others followed. Santa’s daughter sang with all her might, hitting some curious and, as yet, undiscovered notes.

These days this sort of thing doesn’t tend to happen unless someone is out collecting for a good cause. I asked the question and then felt ashamed when the gathered crowd laughed and said, “Wish we’d thought of it.” It was then that I was reminded that one lantern attracts another, and that the purpose of their being there together is quite simply to make their common light grow, because that is as good as it gets. “Thank you,” I said to them in the most heartfelt manner I could muster. “Merry Christmas,! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!” they shouted, as they passed by my lanterns and walked out the gate back onto the street carrying their own light onwards.

—————————————————

Wishing all of my readers and friends a wonderful and heartfelt holiday season.

As always, for more about my books visit www.julielindahl.com.

Report abuse »

Wolf Winter

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Wolf Winter

-14 but the weather woman says it feels more like -17. Dawn lifts the heavy darkness of winter enough to see the silver landscape. My glove sticks to the gate as I open the latch, and I gently peel it off again. The snow is so dry it sounds like styrofoam under my boots. My face feels the grip of winter on it; the skin feels stretched and ageing temporarily halts. The rest of me continues ageing under many layers. At least it is a warm sort of process.

The candelabras of Swedish Christmas have been dutifully placed in every window. They glimmer with familiarity: “Here we are again; the year has gone round.” Our windows are no exception. The children have grown and there is more time to do things on time. A pine wreath with a casually-tied red ribbon hangs on the front door. It is a gift made by a friend and symbolizes the essence of the season. The roof is covered with snow, disguising the need for a paint job. The house looks perfect in this wolf winter.

On Dog Island in the park, I spot what I think looks like a glimmering light on the park bench. Perhaps it is just the morning light hitting a metal hinge? No, it is a small candle, protected in a glass jar, that has been lit and left there by someone in the small hours. Was it the little bit of joy experienced by a homeless person who had found an unused candle at the dump, and used one of his last matches to light it? There are no marks in the snow on the bench. No one had sat there next to the candle. Was it the park attendant out early to surprise his beloved dog walkers? On a morning this cold? There was a spot of magic around this lit candle on the bench. Somewhere in the cold air was the thought that someone who needed it would find it in this wolf winter.

Home in the back yard, a cat’s tail swirls over the snow scanning for mice. Under the white insulation in small caves under the wilted garden brush, mice struggle to survive.  The cat crouches in the colors of a tiger waiting for the right moment. The wolf winter is cold and unforgiving, and warm and generous. Where there is contradiction, there is fascination, and so we go on with our celebration of light towards the darkest day.

——————————————–

Order Rose in the Sand, Julie Lindahl’s prize-winning book about a decade lived on a Swedish island. Learn more about her non-profit for story-telling and the new initiative, Beyond Tolerance, at www.storiesforsociety.com.

Report abuse »

Meeting the new season

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

A little splotch of autumn

It all felt so sorrowful. The temperature had gone to neutral. The air was emptied of the carefree warmth of summer, at the same time as it was still free of the bite of autumn. The forest floor smelled musty and the mushrooms had already begun their work of breaking down the fallen debris from the trees. The bees at the coops under the berry-laden branches of the mountain ash tree buzzed at a lower frequency than during the previous week, when summer had seemed as though it had come to stay forever. The water birds knew that we were at the threshold of the new season, as they sought eagerly for the fish that had begun to rise from the depths to the cooling surface. Somewhere in the background were the early voices of departure, with Canada geese squawking like disorganized travellers.

I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want change. I didn’t want autumn. These thoughts repeated themselves like a mantra that made next steps seem quite impossible. Just to make things doubly as challenging, the skies poured buckets of cool early autumn rain on our first day back in town. The weather woman had said that we were in for some “considerable change,” and, looking out the window on the first early school morning when there was no avoiding feeling tired, it seemed that she may have been right. It bothered me that under their umbrellas people were rushing down the hill past our house to the bus stop in the browns, greys and blacks of the latest autumn fashions. We hadn’t even seen out August.

Ellie the dog stood at the door wondering whether we were walking or swimming this early morning. In defiance of the pre-autumn mood, I swung on my bath robe and swimming gear, and we walked over the hill to the beach as the rain let up a little. In Stockholm one is never far from the water. As we walked down the length of the dock, the wind hit us and the sight of the choppy waves indicated that on this side of the hill we were in a storm. Since I wasn’t ready to give up on summer yet and reasoned that there was nothing wrong with swimming in the rain, I lowered myself into the water and swam along the length of the shore. The water felt warm compared to the outside temperature, and the waves massaged my shoulders as I backstroked to avoid the water hitting my face. As the sail boat moored at the next dock rocked back and forth like a cradle in the waves, it struck me how surprisingly calming all this was. Prejudice simply comes from the avoidance of experience.

This morning the sun shone on the dock at 7 am. The water was tame, but the dock had gone clammy and green, as it does each early autumn. Everything felt a degree or two colder, but it was alright. I had met the new season on my own terms. It is, after all, one of those distinguishing features of human nature that we feel better when we think we are in charge.

——————————————-

Learn more about Julie Lindahl’s books about living in Sweden at www.julielindahl.com. Visiting the Gothenburg Book Fair? Like Julie’s Island at Facebook to keep up with news of where you can find Julie there.

Report abuse »

Timeless in summer

Saturday, June 16th, 2012

Timelessness on Lake Mälar

Ellie the dog and I trundled down the path with the contributions to the evening “knytis” at the beautiful mansion on the hill overlooking Lake Mälar. For those of you who do not know it, a “knytis” is a lovely Swedish term for a potluck dinner which translates more directly as “a little knot.” It was tricky balancing the basil and orange salad with Ellie’s need to explore the high grass, but after some time I managed to convince her that the dirt path leading through our magical settlement originating in the 18th century could be OK.

The soft summer breeze caught my wide, sailor-style white cotton trousers and called my attention to the fact that I was dressed like Lauren Bacall on a casual summer evening with her artist friends in the 1940s. It is funny the way that a piece of clothing can transport one’s thoughts through time and personalities. The small gatherings of friends in their magical gardens here and there upped the feeling of living in another time.  I was beginning to think that people’s schedules didn’t allow for this sort of thing any more, but here they were, and my faith in the transformational powers of humanity was restored, once again.

As we arrived at my artist friends’ beautiful home on the hill, we noticed the party was gathered in the clearing to the right of the house. Here, we entered into a mood that was distinctly 1970s. People reminisced about revolutionary urges and the rejection of convention. I had been a young child in those days and admitted that my memory of that time was my third grade teacher, who sported a gigantic afro and beard (one saw very little of his face) and started our classroom days with Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind,” having smoked a joint or two.  I find that the spirit of that time is coming back to us again, as young people awaken to the mess that the older generation has left behind on this planet. One young man told me he was going to spend a month in the forest this summer, living close to the earth, with thousands of others who are choosing to do the same thing.

The “knytis” was a wonderful success. A long table was heavily laden with all of the dishes and delicacies one could possibly desire. No one had co-ordinated their contributions. The buffet seemed a perfect example of the strange and unique order that can emerge spontaneously out of total chaos. Since most appeared to be vegetarians, Ellie enjoyed the meatballs.

As the sun moved westward, the group shifted towards the gazebo overlooking Lake Mälar. Ellie and I wandered down to the waterfront  and found a woman meditating naked on the dock. A few minutes later, when we had hurried back up the hill, so as not to interrupt pure thoughts, we heard the most beautiful, seeking cry come from this very same woman. She hurled out her arresting voice across the surface of the lake and sang to the sun. No one moved. My thoughts were cast back into a primal time, when man’s needs had been basic and song was uncluttered. Perhaps we were in the Stone Age or further back somewhere on the timeline of all life.

I wandered home, the sensuous feeling of no time all over me. The garden parties had gone inside and all that was left was the sounds of the night. As we approached Midsummer, the birds seemed never to stop singing, as true darkness never came.  I stood in the garden and listened one more time before closing the door for the night. The world was full of the most extraordinary things.

————————————————————————

Living in Sweden? Take advantage of the special offer available on Julie’s books just now by visiting www.julielindahl.com. If you live elsewhere, visit the site to learn about where you can purchase her newest award-winning book, “Rose in the Sand” about a decade lived on a Swedish island.

Report abuse »

After the rain

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

early summer after the rain

Click! Click! Click! Once again, Ellie the dog and I have been immortalized in a Chinese photo album. The Eastern visitors in the park find us to be an object of fascination. I am uncertain as to why. Perhaps it is the sight of a defenseless woman having the guts (or the stupidity) to walk a fearsome black canine. While the Chinese tourists photograph Ellie, they indicate clearly that they’d prefer not to greet her.

Cultural attitudes towards animals run strong. A friend of mine from Paraguay reminds me of why I’ve never warmed up to cats. Growing up in developing countries with a lot of rabid strays around – deserted scavengers that hiss and scratch to survive – hasn’t cultivated a warm and loving instinct towards our feline friends.

“Whä di Chinaaa Palace?” asks one of the Chinese tourists while taking a snap of us. Bewildered as to why someone from China might have come all this way to see a Swedish King’s imitation Chinese leisure house, I point to the hill behind the long row of fountains. The tourist and his fellow travellers turn immediately and shuffle rapidly in that direction. I think of shouting out that it will be open for a few more hours (it’s only 9 in the morning), but sense that this piece of information may be in vain. The gaggle of tourists is already snapping its cameras half way up the hill to the China Palace.

It’s been a week of worries in the rain. Precipitation and cold as we pass into June is enough to send most of us in Sweden to the psychiatrist. The Euro crisis, the neo-Nazis in Hamburg, bisphenols in our packaged food and even global warming (although it hasn’t seemed evident during the past week) begin to seem like walls closing in on us.

Then the sky begins to break up and this morning the sun shoots through the linden alleys at the Palace. The lilac, which has been drenched in rain and now the goodness of the sun, lives up in its own sensuous perfume. The rhododendrons strike me as the underside of a ballerina’s tutu. In fact, it is not hard to understand why flowers are associated with women: their various shapes mirror the shape of clothing we have worn over time. Everywhere there are blossoms spilling over the fences and into places that are supposedly out-of-bounds. The early summer pushes out limitations and breaks them down. Everything is possible, solvable, doable.

The transformation of my week by the drying up of the rain and the return of the sun’s rays on the early summer blossoms is a reminder of how little we need to change our perception of things. Whole realities can be transformed by small adjustments. Sometimes our inbuilt volatility can be frightening: on one day the world can be black, and on the next it can be white. On the whole, though, I take our capacity to rapidly change the way we see things as hopeful. The greatest of all dangers lies, after all, in stagnancy and intransigence.

The Chinese tourists are done exploring King Adolf Frederik’s Chinese Pavilion, a small “birthday gift” to his wife Ulrika Lovisa. Each of them has got at least a hundred snaps of it. While I am quite sure that Ellie and I will quickly be deleted from the collection that gets shared with relatives back home in China, perhaps just one more look at the image of the friendly black dog will be enough to shift some attitudes. It only takes the memory of a little wag of the tail to move mountains.

——————————————–

Living in Sweden? Take advantage of the special offer available on Julie’s books just now by visiting www.julielindahl.com. If you live elsewhere, visit the site to learn about where you can purchase her newest award-winning book, “Rose in the Sand” about a decade lived on a Swedish island.

Report abuse »

The answer is in the seed bag

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Everyone should have to make one grow

“The birch leaves are bigger than mouse ears,” I commented as we drove out into the countryside. This fact distressed me a little: I hadn’t yet got the potatoes into the ground. The size and color of the birch leaves has always been a measure of time for farmers in these parts, but mostly just as a marker, a sign that one had completed the needed tasks on time. For all of the part-time farmers of Sweden, and that is a very large number of us, the transformation of the birch leaf has become something of a stresser. Farming in the North is the art of precision. A week or two’s delay here or there may land you with crops that aren’t ready before the first frost. Everything in nature gets to work quickly, is terribly industrious throughout the light season, and then closes down promptly, albeit somewhat unwillingly.

The seed bags lie unopened on the counter of my island kitchen. They are a reflection of modern life. So much will to creativity, but such a small portion gets done. Or perhaps it is that a very great deal gets done and that our lists have just got too long. No one can be satisfied with just three tasks or five tasks. The list has to be long. Or perhaps it is that so much of life, and increasing portions of it, takes place in digital worlds. In other words, we are no longer living in one world, rather in several at the same time, keeping our heads constantly turning from one world to the other, wondering which world is most important to prioritize just now.

Yet the seed bags are still on the counter, closed, and that bothers me. My garden is a school of learning unsurpassed in content and quality by any educational institution I have attended. I’ve learned more there about the intricate connections between everything – the reason that answering the question of “why” is never simple – than in any other setting I can think of. Following the directions on the pack won’t do in a garden. One must observe, switch on all of the senses and come to a deeper understanding of all of the forces that will affect the sprouting of the seed and the growth of the plant. It is a true lesson in “sustainable growth,” a riddle that seems otherwise still unsolved. If we wanted to address the world’s most pressing problems, everyone, particularly the world’s leaders, should be asked to make a seed grow where they live. The learning and discussion that would follow this great global act would be of greater value than anything we have heard so far. The thought may seem idealistic, but having myself been involved in the construction of complex strategies to solve global problems, I think the results could catalyze considerable shifts.

I inspect the grounds of my summer island. The impossible rose garden which we created on an island of sand is well. The emptying of the septic tank on Good Friday certainly has worked wonders. I give myself credit for at least observing this important date in the calendar. Appropriately, the awful task of Good Friday leads to a stunning rebirth. As Christ ascends to heaven this weekend, the work of cutting back and removing those admirable fighters we call weeds, begins. A cold May wind steals through the sunlit air to ensure that no one rests in the hammock just yet. No time for resting. The seed bags have been opened.

—————————————————————————

Learn more about Julie Lindahl’s prize-winning new book, “Rose in the Sand,” a memoir of a decade lived on a Swedish island. Order it now from amazon.com, amazon.co.uk , Author House, authorhouse.co.uk and many other online bookstores, including major Swedish online bookstores such as bokia.se and adlibris.se. If you live in Sweden visit www.julielindahl.com to take advantage of a special offer currently available for Lindahl’s books. Learn more about her other books and activities at www.julielindahl.com.

Report abuse »

Spring at the water

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

Everything in its highest form

Early Sunday morning and the lake was all fog. One struggled to see a solid object, but the lake was a white haze. The facing island had vanished, and out on the water it seemed that there was nothing. Many people found this nothingness to be haunting, disorienting, something one hoped would lift and go away. During all of the years in this place, I had learned that this blankness was a friend, because it gave the possibility for the mind to rest and become fertile for own new thoughts.

An hour later, a motor boat headed out for the islands broke the silence and the evenness. Nothing had become something and had started to lift here and there. A pair of Canada geese flew low over the water, the tips of their wings skimming the surface to awaken the sleeping giant. The weeping birch branches swayed over the water as the dance of the day proper began.

Now the lake was patterns in the mid-morning sun. The birds in the trees chirped with excitement in a thousand voices. One heard the motor boats in the distance, darting between the islands, transporting and preparing for the life of summer. The garden furniture at the dock was still inhabited by the ghost of winter – empty, unarranged and quiet. Yet, soon, it too would join the carnival at the water.

It is wonderful to see a receptive mind discover the water for the first time. Ellie the dog cocked her floppy ears as the waves reached out to her at the shore. “Here we are, come and meet us, little pup,” they whispered. Ellie barked, since dogs don’t whisper, then crouched down and lapped mischievously at the incoming tide with her tongue, inviting the water to play. There was something about the water that was magical, frightening, alluring and original to us, all at the same time. We’d come from it, consisted mostly of it, and could never get enough of its shimmering surface.

I sat on a tree stump and shut my eyes. Ellie crept into my lap, exhausted from playing with the waves, which never seemed to give up. Her small pup’s body was soft and warm in the sun, which had consumed the fog and revealed the lake. Then I wished I could sit here forever, in the company of evenness and truth. Here there was no need to be strategic, make progress or achieve. Everything by its very nature, was already in its highest form. Yet, it took silence, fog and nothing to know and appreciate the essence of things. I wished more of it for more of us.

————————————————————————-

Learn more about Julie Lindahl’s prize-winning new book, “Rose in the Sand,” a memoir of a decade lived on a Swedish island. Order it now from amazon.com, amazon.co.uk , Author House, authorhouse.co.uk and many other online bookstores, including major Swedish online bookstores such as bokia.se and adlibris.se. Learn more about Julie’s other books and activities at www.julielindahl.com.

Report abuse »

Ecological Easter

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Colt's foot emerges from the cold April ground

The waves push out the last of the thin morning ice that accumulates like a thin wafer during the April nights. The sun melts down the morning chill and wills the greenness to rise from the flowerbeds. The shapes of the tender leaves rising from the soil remind me of the plants that will be there, tall, mature and colorful with flowers, during the summer. The birds take off and land, delighting in the new fluidity of nature. There is motion and color after stillness and white.  The balance of aesthetics between the seasons is perfect. There is nothing we can create that likens it. All we can do to experience it is to be a part of it. This thought is so obvious that we easily forget it as we observe nature, conserve nature and try to ensure its sustainability.

Returning to my summer island in the spring brings me back to being a part of it. There is something about living in or near the city that makes one an observer of nature rather than a participant. Nature is in museums and zoos. Out on the pavement there are only cement and cigarette butts. Just the other evening, while visiting friends in the center of town, I struggled to find a tuft of grass for Ellie the dog to pee on. We wandered block after block in the supposedly green city of Stockholm, but failed to find anything but a small patch of brown. This happened to be the new neighborhood plantings (although this was not obvious to the naked eye), and neighborhood watch soon screamed out her window that we were tramping on the neighborhood farm. Sometimes I find that the city makes people get angry about green. It is an unfortunate fact that humankind becomes militant when resources are lacking. Ellie and I walked away from the patch of brown quietly. We hadn’t noticed a single shoot. Only cigarette butts. More power to the people who want to green our cities.

Out here in the boondocks, we’ve been very ecological this Easter. Septic tanks need taking care of and roses need fertilizing. Roses are beautiful things with a vile appetite for stuff that smells bad and has a consistency that doesn’t make most people feel well. In fact, most things that grow have this sort of vile appetite and preference for the mushy. Our modern visions of ecological lifestyles – brown paper labels in clean ‘green’ shops – put a smooth veneer on what ecological living actually is. Ellie runs into the kitchen from the garden, snout and paws covered in dirt, and jumps up on my trousers to catch my attention. Now I have brown paw marks on my trousers. Nothing to bother about. This is the very essence of ecological living.

Today it is Easter Sunday. I wasn’t raised in any particular religion, although with many of them around me. Despite this, Easter Sunday on this island is special to me. It is the day when I find the time to notice the power of the shoots and the sap rising in the birch trees. The green Buddha on my window sill strikes me as the perfect symbol of what I experience here: the perfect balance of everything that simply is.

———————————————————————————

Learn more about Julie Lindahl’s prize-winning new book, “Rose in the Sand,” a memoir of a decade lived on a Swedish island. Order it now from amazon.com, amazon.co.uk , Author House, authorhouse.co.uk and many other online bookstores. Learn more about Julie’s other books and activities at www.julielindahl.com.

Report abuse »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Blog updates

21 November

Editor’s Blog, November 21st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello from Stockholm, Our week started with reports another Russian plane had been spotted in Sweden’s airspace,..." READ »

 

21 November

Exclusive Interview with Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"Most of us will agree that actions speak louder than words. But when the two are..." READ »

 
 
 
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

835
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
aa-europe.org/sweden
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists
Click here for the full job description