Friday, August 16, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
On an overcast Sunday with a crisp cold breeze gently blowing off of the nearby water, stirring up a kind of magic, I walk under the branches of the newly flowered Cherry Blossoms of Kungstragarden. In the Kings garden near the palace and the city center there grows a present from Japan to the king. These cherry blossoms add even more beauty and an early burst of color to spring. These trees, being a gift and extremely beautiful, are celebrated every spring. The celebration today has certain sense of magic. The overcast skies create a world of shadows with these bright pink blossoms falling and floating in the breeze, dancing slowly until they rest upon the water of the fountain. The darkness of the day and the slight sprinkling of rain bring the pink into focus even sharper. As I walk through the dancing blossoms and feel the cool breeze and cold rain upon my face I am sound tracked by wonderful opera singers standing at large fountain in the center of the four rows of trees. The trees are planted to create a tunnel underneath which large crowds have gathered for pictures and picnics, now covered in the shedding blossoms. It really feels magical, a scene from a beautiful movie, watching the flowers fall and then rise again from the ground in the breeze, seeming to pause in midair. Walking, I feel like I am moving in slow motion in another time and place, the music rings throughout the air drowning the sound of the city. It is the sounds of singers, people laughing and the water from the fountain that are in the air. The Cherry Blossoms look incredible floating upon the pooled water in the rectangular fountain creating land where water once was. People dressed in traditional Japanese garb walk through the crowds stopping for pictures and helping to establish that I am no longer in Stockholm but somewhere in the in between. Somewhere in a scene from the magic of my imagination walking and wading my way through the wall of flowers suspended in the air. The sun could be shining and could be warmer and some would say that this would be a better way to enjoy the Cherry Blossom festival, and I would have agreed until this day. The crisp autumn day created a magic I couldn’t have imagined and made this day memorable for me.
“That’s it I quit, I’m Moving on”, to “Hard to Handle” not “Right as Rain” this “Pain in My Heart” I can’t “Let it Go”. “If I should Fall Behind”, if the “Whiskey’s Gone” “Bring it on Home to Me”, with “Cigarettes and Coffee” and show me “Living Proof”. For “Human Touch” there is “No Surrender” I would “Drive All Night” for “My Girl” because I am a “Good Man” and “That’s Life”. “The Best is Yet to Come” I was “Born to Run” to be “Rolling in the Deep”. “Set fire to the Rain” because “She’s the One”, I was “Blinded by the Light” “Because the Night” takes me back to the “American Land” “To Make you Feel My Love.”
A small poem using the song titles from the playlist of one day here in Stockholm. The artists are Bruce Springsteen, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Adele, Zac Brown Band, Josh Ritter, Michael Buble and Sam Cooke. Give it a try, it is kind of fun.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
So today is April 30th. Back home this is just another day. Here in Sweden it is a day, or night, of celebration. The eve of May is very exciting; Swedes and many other Europeans cultures celebrate the coming of spring with large bonfires, singing and dancing. I had not heard of this, and didn't realize how special it was. I nearly missed out completely, but I did manage to make it a bonfire here in Djursholm. In a small harbor on the Baltic Sea there was a small group surrounding the last of a once great bonfire that glows hot orange. The moonlight is reflecting on the glass still waters of the sea and a cool breeze blows the warmth of the fire to my face as I approach the group. Cold crisp air and the smell of a bonfire is intoxicating to me, it always has been. That feeling and smell now brings back so many memories of nights spent in the wilderness of the Southwest. The memories of all those nights I rested after a long day of building trail, muscles tired and achy, and stared up into the heavens at the vastness of space and dreamt of travel. Here I am now, in the midst of my adventure, my travel, at the edge of the Baltic Sea feeling the last few fleeting hours of the long Swedish winter upon my face and watching the fire and smoke dance in the shadows of the night. I stand, alone, not knowing anyone and observe. I hear a small group starting to sing a song I cannot understand, but it is a happy song. I stand beside a group of young guys speaking in Swedish and am now able to understand the jest of their conversation about "The Godfather”. Their Swedish is interspersed with English quotes from the movie, each trying their best Brando. To my right is a family of three roasting wieners on sticks and enjoying the night. A beautiful golden retriever bounces behind me, also excited by the night. I stand, taking it all in. The sea, the scene, and just how far I have come from what I know. I look up at the house in front of me as I walk away from the fire and see a Swedish flag blowing in the night. It is a shadow, colors indistinguishable, that dances with the smoke billowing past. Everything seems to be welcoming spring and the sunlight that has for months now been a loved one gone too long and the fireworks begin in the distance as a 21 cannon salute fires off from the Palace in Stockholm for the Kings 65th birthday. The Earth trembles from the sound of the cannons and the explosions of the fireworks. Valborg and the Kings celebration fill this eve of May with excitement and life. I breath in the smell of the fire in the night, take in the sound of the cannons and enjoy the coming of Spring.
Monday, April 11, 2011
With the ever warming days, Swede’s shed the restrictions of winter, ice and jackets and trade them in for white converse sneakers, and small H&M shopping bags filled with the first newly bought treasures of the season. To understand the aesthetic s of Stockholm you must set your minds to white and tight! White converse all-stars flood the streets marching like a million Swedish rabbits feet. These shoes can be found in the windows of many shops throughout the city and on the feet of the majority of Stockholmians of all ages and both sexes. The shoes rest below very tight jeans. Skin tight jeans and white sneakers are all the rage. This is all accented by the correct stereotype of Swedish blonde hair. The electric blonde may be dyed but it still is true that the streets of Stockholm are packed with tall blonde beautiful people. Fashion is king in Sweden and it isn’t just for women or a select few with taste. Swedes take pride in health and a clean well-manicured appearance. This makes for a picture of beauty from both men and women. The surrounding beauty of the old city and modest streamlined Swedish design help to create this façade of beauty.
The sound of seagulls overhead and the sea below create a nice soundtrack to the setting of the sun just behind the palace. This city resting on the islands of the archipelago burns with
the majestic glow of the setting sun coming to life in the fire. The shadows dance on the rooftops of cathedrals and the lights of the city begin their illuminating glow on the water and sidewalks of the night. The sounds of the evening begin to rise high as the sun sinks lower. The smell of the sea rises from the water and with it brings the familiar feeling of the birth of a new beginning, a new season. Stockholm is a small city but is large with captivating beauty and thirst for life. The magical spell that Stockholm’s beauty casts will resonate.