As much as I love to update this site of mine regularly, at times I feel I want to withdraw from the on-line world. Blogging, as much as it is highly addictive is also highly time consuming. Thus occasionally I experience a need to return to my own life, as it plays out off-line and just live it without the need to document it here.
This happens to me a few times a year, currently coinciding with spring tiredness and the change of seasons. It certainly felt revitalizing to focus on other aspects of my life, areas which I have neglected for a while.
So what did I do in my week off blogging?
I got some work done at the lab (my boss would be happy), I caught up on some reading, I relaxed with some great company, ate some great food, I cleaned my house thoroughly - particularly the large windows as the return of the sun reveals so easily that the glass panes are dirty.
I removed the outdoor Christmas lights, which I usually keep through the winter and I enjoyed the last traces of the snow. It made me happy to realize that the early spring flowers that were about to bloom two weeks ago survived under the white cover and are still growing through the last traces of the wintry precipitation.
I contemplated life's big questions - well, the questions of my life mostly - listened to my favorite music and watched some great movies.
Still, the best visual shows were the ones that played out in front of my newly cleaned windows - the very early spring sunsets. As the sun is now moving higher and higher in the sky, slowly approaching its true cardinal direction for the spring equinox later this month, it will soon return completely into my view.
Eventually, my inspiration to write returned slowly and I missed writing and compiling all the photographs that I keep taking. This made me realize that as much as I have an off-line life, I also do have a very essential on-line life as well.
And in certain ways these two are now intertwined.
It's good to be back.
Our brief encounter with spring has ended and we are once again under a pristine white cover.
Nature refuses to awaken just yet, thus hitting the snooze button it drifts back to sleep, while the arctic wind howls in my chimney and drives the snow into banks against the house.
Winters final fury is unleashed.
The Ice Lady shows off her power one last time, reinforcing the fact that her rule, although culminating, has not concluded just yet. She fights until her last breath, with ammunition of ice and snow, throwing us once more into deep freeze...
My sister invited me recently to join an exclusive club. The charm club at Thomas Sabo. A club I am very honoured to belong to. A gift for my last birthday, she has added four appealing charms to my new charm bracelet and the collection will be only increasing by each year.
The charm bracelet is most likely my first encounter with jewelry. My mother used to wear one on her wrist and I recall how fascinated I was by the multitude of charms adoring the chain, playing with it as she cradled me in her arms, when I was a little girl. My sister, I recently realized, has exactly the same recollection, giving my new bracelet a special meaning as it bridges two generations and redefines the bond between sisters.
The wearing of charms is an ancient tradition and may have begun as a form of amulet to ward off evil spirits or bad luck. During the pre-historic period, jewelry charms would be made from shells, animal-bones and clay and there is evidence from Africa that shells where used for adornments around 75,000 years ago.
Thus wearing mine also connects me symbolically to all the prehistoric sisters of my past.
I have written about love before, numerous times. I posses a romantic mind, a passionate heart and a strong conviction that life without love isn't much of a life. Despite pain and disappointments, which often rule the world, the proof of love's infinite allure and true existence is nevertheless endlessly obvious.
Considering it is Valentine's Day today, I thought I would revisit this emotion once again and I do so with great pleasure and joy.
To love is to live and to be able to continue feeling love throughout life is a gift. Love takes many shapes and can be expressed in so many ways. It can be romantic or platonic, fleeting and everlasting, unrequited or unconditional, passionate or tender, flamboyant or covert - but it has one single constant - it defines us as human beings and makes life bearable. It inspires great artists, musicians, writers and poets and it comes across as the reason why we are here, as it connects us all.
The romantic love is often viewed as an illusion. The cynics will say it is a short lived infatuation, almost a clinical condition - an illness if you will. A possession that makes us blind, as we view reality through the eyes of temporary insanity. Perhaps that is the truth. But perhaps those who believe this never really had the courage to fall in love.
As I know it takes courage to fall the way that makes us look foolish and exposed, utterly vulnerable, while we risk being ridiculed and ultimately have our heart shattered into thousands of pieces. Nevertheless, to give fearlessly into those transcending feelings despite the knowledge that we might be forced to walk away empty handed and disappointed is the essence of true love - this is the only way I know how to love.
Thus the love stories of great sacrifices are the most romantic of them all in my eyes. The ones where great men and at times women would give up so much, as they simply could not see themselves face a life where the object of their desire was not present.
Such is the tale of King Edward of England and his love, Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee for whom the king gave up his throne. Some view this as the love story of the century, while many as a scandal that threatened to weaken the monarchy.
I fall into the first category, in no uncertain terms.
Edward became king in January 1936 and had many desires to become a modern monarch. He intended to marry Wallis Simpson, a woman he fell deeply and passionately in love with and who returned his love with the same token. However, he was informed by the prime minister that his subjects would deem the marriage morally unacceptable, largely because remarriage after divorce was opposed by the Church of England, and the people would not tolerate Wallis as Queen.
Thus after only barely a year on the throne, in December 1936, Edward, now reverted to the style of prince, made a broadcast to the nation and the Empire, explaining his decision to abdicate. He famously said,
"I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love."
Wallis and Edward married in a small ceremony on June 3, 1937. They remained shun by the royal family and forced into exile for the rest of their lives; nevertheless they remained loyally devoted to each other until the Duke's death in Paris in 1972. Wallis died 14 years later in 1986.
They are buried beside one another in the royal burial grounds of Windsor Castle.
Today is bitterly cold.
I woke up to the first morning with subzero temperatures since mid January. Lady Winter is back from her intermission, which came across almost as an early departure.
Still, as we wait for February snow to cover our landscape white once more, the mild, albeit foggy and humid air which has been dominating our forecast for the last twenty days brought about a brief sense of spring. The stalks of the early flowers were seen relentlessly pushing upwards and at times the early bird song resonated a joy, the one that made me feel nature was a month ahead.
My front patio displayed only a few days back the first beauty of the resilient and yet so tender yellow crown of the Eranthis flower, just about to burst into bloom. I am sure this progress has now been abruptly interrupted and hate to contemplate what the plummeting temperatures will do to this lovely plant.
Last weekend however still truly felt like spring and thus I did the first gardening of the year, cutting back the dried up clematis, its climbing vines rigid and brown, seemingly so very lifeless. Upon closer look though, a multitude of buds were already in full sight, usually a sign prompting the annual early trimming of this late summer blooming beauty.
Winter is not over yet and Spring - although not that distant - is still far removed from our perception. However, the first season is slowly running out of time and we all know that good things comes to those who wait.
Thus lets wait just a little bit longer.
As we slowly move towards mid February, the sensation of winter's finale becomes slightly more obvious.
The allure of the Ice Lady is slowly fading, yet we all know too well that her reign isn't ending just yet.
At the commencement of this second month, my entire being becomes slowly infused with a certain longing. A longing that only intensifies in strength by each passing week. It makes me daydream and my perception travels to warmer latitudes, where the tropics rule. Where hot sun is on the menu and the warm sand and the clear sea - in all the shades of green and blue - is the place to be.
To all of you who too feel the onset of mild winter blues and long for some sun and sea, I dedicate the collage below.
It is compiled of photographs depicting the stunning shores I have visited in my life - some were rocky, some were sandy. Some are in the Mediterranean, some in the Caribbean or the Atlantic Ocean. Even the North Sea can surprise us at times with its seemingly tropical beauty. Sometimes the seas were dark blue, at times green or turquoise - but they all had one thing in common - they lifted my spirits and soothed my soul.
It is with amusement that I at times look back upon my youth and scrutinize the way I used to live. Not just the things I did and the way I acted, but also the daily routines that filled my every day - or rather - the lack of those.
Moving into my first own apartment, the sense of freedom I experienced when I was twenty one was very welcomed, but also overwhelming. I was not used to be so completely in charge of my days and recall that initially, I did everything I enjoyed and very little of that I did not. Such as cleaning the place and a multitude of chores that I found boring or tedious.
My life then was completely devoid of routines, except for those absolutely vital ones. Such as getting up every morning at the same time, waiting for the buss at the same buss stop and going to work and from work at a given hour. The rest was undetermined, unplanned and spontaneous, as I found no need in having a structured week, or even a day. A year comprised an eternity and the future felt exciting and distant and received very little of my contemplation.
I am not exactly certain when it happened, but along the way somewhere, as I aged and matured, routines sneaked up on me. Perhaps it was the realization of the fact, that planning meant getting things done. It meant using the time I had wisely, giving me a certain sense of control over it.
Or perhaps it was when I realized that I yearned to control it and in that same sense to control my life.
The issue of having control became a dominating one when I became a young adult. I have often viewed this as the result of my childhood and the fact, that my parents had the heart of gypsies and the soul of constant travelers. We children were uprooted numerous times, the final relocation being my family's emigration to the west when I was in my early teens. This move at such a sensitive age most certainly affected my formative years, instigating in me a endless search for home and stability that surfaced first later in my adulthood.
As I found myself facing the troubles of life, my need for control and structure and my need to belong became the only constant in my days.
Today thus I relish in routines and dislike stress. I seek and demand tranquility and crave that of those around me. The few moments of stress that occur are anticipated and controlled by me, or at least controlled by me as much as it is possible.
However, somewhere deep inside I feel a new realization has been taking place as of lately. As much as I love my routines and security, the idea of living the way I do until the end of my days fills me with a endless sense of terror. The idea of having no more surprises come my way is not one I view fondly. It is as if I have began reverting to my younger self, trying to find that spark of infinite joy over the uncertainty in the future ahead of me, even though it has been cut by half since I last time felt this way in the past.
I assume it is in my genes, however much I try to ignore it or fight it. My parents, who are and have always been an endless source of inspiration to me, still keep on moving. They have not settled down yet and I do not think they ever will.
In return they have kept a young mind and soul and warmth of the heart, radiating energy and joy.
If there is anything they have ever taught me it is to never stop moving.
In the abstract sense and the literally one as well.
Perhaps therein lies the secret to the art of staying forever young.
As the sun slowly moves ever so higher up in the sky, it yet again creates not just stunning sunsets, but equally breath-taking sunrises.
Dawn is by far my favorite part of the day. It holds a certain appeal of the gentle beauty in a newborn morning. A clean slate, fueling the idea that anything magical has the potential to yet happen.
February dawns are the most beautiful ones to be witnessed from my windows - they are not just stunning, but they are also rare. The sun is now rising in close proximity to the cardinal east and an early riser is rewarded by views that have no equal. The young sun sets the velvet violet-blue heavens on fire and creates a few minutes of absolute enchantment, as the stillness of a late night becomes a fiery winter dawn...
(Below a few images taken of a magnificent sunrise as it unraveled in my views one morning this past week.)
...what is inside your bathroom cabinets?
Some of you might remember my post where I inquired about your refrigerator. This time it is your bathroom I am curious about.
Well, let me tell you right from the start that even though my refrigerator seemed empty, my bathroom cabinets sure are not. They are well stocked. You name it, I have it.
Facial creams and lotions, body lotions - at least 5 different kinds, make-up (TONS and tons of it), nail polish, deodorants, perfumes, liquid soaps, shampoos, conditioners and several baskets and glass containers filled with many more objects within the area of personal hygiene, beauty and grooming.
The cabinets definitely house hundreds of items, which I seem to simply not be able to live without. I am a collector and high maintenance and that is a lethal combination when it comes to the content of my bathroom.
I have heard, that everyone who visits someone and at one point excuse themselves to use the restroom, will peek into their host's bathroom cabinets. I have no idea if that is true, as I have actually never done it myself. Still this is an opportunity for me to find out what you are hiding.
If you are willing to disclose this to me, that is.
I was born under the Tatra Mountains, to a Czech father and a Slovak mother. I grew up in Sweden and lived almost ten years in North Carolina.
More than a decade ago my line of work took me to Denmark, where I live today. My home, which I share with the man that holds my heart, lies in the northerly part of a Danish peninsula, in the proximity of endless, wide and pristine westbound sandy beaches, surrounded by the rough and untamed North Sea.
My writing is defined by reflections on my cosmopolitan past and my intriguing present. Ultimately I try to convey in words and images my personal thoughts and feelings about life itself, with all its magic, natural splendour and the beauty of simple pleasures.