It was our last night, we had just devoured a delicious dinner of seafood accompanied by a nice glass of wine and were hanging back in our chairs to give our bellies some space when I looked outside and noticed the stars. What if?
For a moment I hesitated but then decided to look it up regardless, we only had a few hours before our flight would leave but hell, it wasn’t as if we’d be back soon. I grabbed my phone from deep down in my bag and connected to the restaurant’s wifi. It was a clear night, I didn’t need a website to tell me that, but what I didn’t know was if there was any chance of seeing the northern lights tonight. So I opened the tab which I had kept ready for weeks and there it was. 90 percent chance.
I’m sitting on a hunter’s platform overlooking a valley. Right in the middle of it I can see what I think is the outskirt of La Roche. A river twists and bends its way through the city and then the trees and I imagine myself walking there only a few hours before. The signage hadn’t been very clear to me and I’d felt utterly lost, after a few confused looks at the map I’d picked up earlier I’d mustered my best french and asked a local man if I was going the right way. Yes, he said, and he said it with so much confidence I had trusted him entirely. A little further down the road, I’d asked another group of locals again and they had said yes with perhaps even more confidence than the first. It was probably because of that, that it took a little while before I found out, but I found out soon enough to eventually find my way looking around and behind trees and signposts. They had sent me the wrong way, I guess it’s just the tourists walking these routes and not the locals. It didn’t really matter, though, the tracks and climbs and views were just as beautiful. It was just a little harder to navigate, walking a different route from the one I’d planned in the opposite direction.
I can’t find my pen, it’s gotten dark now, but it’s ok, a pencil will write the same words. The colours of the world have changed so much in the last few hours. I didn’t even notice, I was lost in another world, flipping the pages of my book until it got hard for me to read the words. The sun had set without me noticing and with it slowly the light had disappeared. I looked up in utter astonishment, and when I did my breath was taken away. Water drops and layers of dew and steam fogged the windows. Obscuring what was outside, covering the world which was now in warm shades of red, orange and yellow where street lights were turned on and in shades of deep dark blue and purple everywhere else.
“Nothing, Everything, Anything, Something: If you have nothing, then you have everything, because you have the freedom to do anything, without the fear of losing something.” ― Jarod Kintz
It is a long time ago now and it feels as if it was. I was a different person back then, a different version of me living in a different world. But I remember those three weeks of getting lost on Swedish roads well. Mum and I had decided it was time for a different kind of holiday, and instead of the warm coast of the south we took to the cold roads of the North. We didn’t have a plan, we didn’t have a list of things we wanted to see or do. All we knew was that we’d drive north and turn back down once time would make us.
“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
In the beginning, we had planned to work a month as wwoofers in the farm of a 70 years old couple, in small hamlet close to Oslo. Difference of opinions and generational conflict, we had stayed one week. After a few talks, some trees planted, a lawn-mower broken and window-panes well cleaned, we had decided to escape for the fjords of Sognfjord. This is the summary of three days of our one month trip, in a place where time seemed to pass differently.
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Sometimes, when the sun is bright and sand slips between my toes, when the seagulls cry and the children run and play the memories come back to me. Or when I am in bed, looking at the ceiling, a soft breeze entering through the window. Or when I am in the car and I wind down the window and my hair blows wild, when I listen to the radio or when I walk past french speaking tourists. On any of these moments, and many others I can’t recall right now it all comes back to me. All the summers we spent in the south of France, me, my mum and dad, my friends. We all went back every year, for years and years and over time we had become a little community. Most of us children knew each other and some of the parents did too.
A quiet camp, everything is still, only a striped cat searches for some food besides the fireplace. We are waking up to cross the empty town and catch the first rays of sunshine. The desert wind is casting goosebumps on our skin while I’m taking photographs of the makhtesh. Suddenly, the weather changes: we cannot see anything but the sandy mist. A local lady stands next to the ibexes, just in the moment when they notice us, they are running away. I was wondering what happens to those born near the desert, how they change: it seems like she knows here every rock, animal, the changes of the seasons…
Maribor welcomes me with heavy snow in its empty streets: I cannot find the synagogue I am searching for, I literally cannot find and see anything. I’m stopping a random guy and ask him both the way to the train station. We end up talking about life in Slovenia. We laugh about how everyone always confuses Slovakia for Slovenia – I’m finally in the right place! The train silently passes through small villages and hills. Nataša and Špela pick me up in Celje and we are heading for a mountain home with only two neighbours. Snowy trees are everywhere, all around us. The roadtrip starts tomorrow morning.
“Always try to remain alert for anything that causes light to behave in less than ordinary ways – fog or clouds that create a sense of infinity or weightlessness, unusual perspectives that create interesting silhouettes.”
Kellen Mohr’s pursuit for the intertwining interactions of light and matter in the perpetual universe’s wraps has lead his unsated steps to an otherworldly space. A contstantly shifting immense sky, minimal tides of muted color palettes islanded with terra cotta orange, multifaceted mistique, massive wind turbines and creative endeavors of capturing the right moment – in a nutshell: Denmark.
The Sequoia trees humbled me, to say the least. I had never seen a more enchanted environment as I did while walking amongst these giants. The light was magical, as were the skies. They say Holland is famous for its specific natural light, however looking up at the clouds hovering over the American valleys was, well, something else. Read More