The sun is slowly returning to the north. The light stays in the skies a til 430 or so... It is still cold! The ice covers and traps the rocky landscapes under frozen waterfalls. The canals are slowly thawing, cracking, refreezing. And on clear nights, the stars blaze with such beauty that it really does take my breath away (or that could be the sharp cold, but let's credit that to the beauty of the night instead :) ) And Luciabullar and Glogg have given way to Semlor...
My holiday home was just what I needed. I am refreshed and ready to take on the rest of this school year. Whenever I start to feel just a little down, I remember the looks on people's faces when I turned up unexpected, and I can't help but remember the love in that moment, and all is well. (Background: Pretty much no one knew I was coming home, not even Dad or my sister. Just Mom and one or two others!) Whether it was screaming, swearing, or just shocked smiles, I keep those moments so close to my heart now. They are the best reminders that I am loved. Am grinning now, just writing about them!
Coming back was hard. I miss my family and friends. I miss the rain and the music. But at some point, over Greenland, I realized how excited I was to be back in Sweden. The wonderful people I have met make all the difference! We have found little things to brighten our days, be it ice skating (or in my case, trying not to fall over), going for a walks, or sharing home cooked dinners, this winter looks to be something I will remember all my days.
So, now I have a little better than four months to go before the wind changes and I am swept off my feet to who knows where. I know I am loved. I know I am blessed. Because of that, wherever I land, I know things will be fine.
Tomorrow morning, in just a few hours really, I am getting up at Unholy AM, putting a wreath of greenery in my hair, putting on a white nightgown-like robe and going to sing with my choir for firefighters, students, and shoppers. This holiday celebrates the light shining in the darkness. In two weeks comes the winter solstice. The longest night of the year. And on the morning after, the light begins to chip away at the darkness.
Don't get me wrong, I love the night time. I really really love that the sun goes down at 3 pm here in Sweden. The beauty of the night is truly stunning. People burn candles and hang beautiful star lanterns, downtown is all overdone in bright light displays, and the stars themselves are so clear. There is something so magical about it all.
But at the same time, the return of the light is a powerful idea. How do you keep the light in your life? When everything around you is dark, what things keep that flame from flickering out? Our world can be a harsh place, and sometimes it is so hard to remember the good. But it is SO important to. The cliche about the smallest candle can still shine through the darkness, I believe it. Find that joy, find something good, and don't let go. Better yet, share it.
I am not a morning person. Anyone that knows me well (ok, knows me at all) can attest to that. I am sure that I will glare at the world as I stumble down the icy hill, under the early morning stars, to the tram, thermos of coffee clutched to my chest. However, I am truly glad to do it. I am going to be singing with some really wonderful ladies, celebrating the light in the darkness, and hopefully making people's day a little brighter.
Those little things are how I keep the light in my life. And I am so grateful for the chance to do it. Hitta ljus och hålla den!
There has been snow for over a week, and the temperature hasn't risen above freezing. I am living in a winter wonderland, and I am (amazingly, I know) not being sarcastic. The snow is still mostly white and sparkly, not that nasty slushy gray that we get at home after a few hours. Actually sparkly. I feel as though I am living in a Christmas card or something. Walking home last night, we passed a bush strung with Christmas lights covered in snow. The light shone out from inside the little tufts of snow. It was magical. Made me want tea, a fireplace and my recording of the Christmas Carol (as read by Patrick Stewart).
This morning, the canal was mostly frozen over and dusted with snow. I have seen ponds covered in ice, but to see the normally flowing canal now solid was something new. The weeping willow tendrils that normally dance along with the current are still, held captive by ice.
The stars peak out from behind the haze and clouds. First thing I think is, oh god it is COLD and it is getting colder because I can see those stars. The close second is: Wow!!!! This is SO beautiful. I am so lucky to be out in this world, seeing this.
Hopefully this whimsy doesn't dwindle.... I have a few more months of winter to go......
ett ögonblick: Riding the tram towards home this week, at the edge of downtown I passed by a beautiful graveyard. Lately at 6 o'clock, it is pitch black and I can only see only as far as the pools of light from the street lights. But that night, tiny flames dotted the darkness. People had left candles on the graves of their loved ones. They shone through the still night and reminded those passing by of those who are gone but not forgotten.