Month: May 2023

The Man of Faith Steps In and Does Something

Close up of a sunflower

“I tell you, if one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie, and you said yourself in the past that it was a lie. That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity…

You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter, “You can’t do anything.” The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of “You can’t.”

Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas. But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something...”

The Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890) on taking action, from Ever Yours: The Essential Letters


To read more quotes, click here.



Because I Could Not Stop for Death

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Lake with water lilies

Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—  
And Immortality.

We slowly drove—He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility—

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess—in the Ring—
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain—
We passed the Setting Sun—

Or rather—He passed us—
The Dews drew quivering and chill—
For only Gossamer, my Gown—
My Tippet—only Tulle—

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground—
The Roof was scarcely visible—
The Cornice—in the Ground—

Since then—’tis Centuries—and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads 
Were toward Eternity—

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) was one of the most original American poets. She is considered one of the most important American poets of the 19th century, along with Walt Whitman.


To read more poems, click here.



Year of Wonder

Setting sun

Yesterday I bought a book called Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day by Day by Clemency Burton-Hill. Burton-Hell, a violinist and BBC Radio personality introduces readers to one short inspirational piece of classical music from various genres and periods every day, from Hildegard von Bingen to Bach, Philip Glass, and Duke Ellington.

I’ve learned to appreciate and enjoy classical music all by myself by simply listening and looking up pieces I’ve heard of (radio, movies, books, people recommendations). My music education is, well, scarce. The book seemed so accessible that I thought I’d give it a try and widen my repertoire, for instance, discover other composers than my beloved Bach, Mozart, and Marcello (Alessandro, not Benedetto). And the reward came minutes after opening the book in the form of Hildegard von Bingen, the twelfth-century theologian, composer, healer, artist, and Saint. I recognized her name, vaguely, as some early Christian saint or something. I had no idea of her music works or anything else for that matter. Most of her works were written about 1140-1160 – almost one unfathomable thousand years ago. I had O vis eternitatis (O power within Eternity) on repeat all evening and again this morning during my meditation.

There’s so much wonder out there, I thought. Much to explore and enjoy. I’ve added the book to my evening routine to read about and listen to one piece every evening. I’ve also created a playlist and plan to add the pieces that resonated most with me to it. Hildegard is at the top, of course.


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.



There Is a Solitude of Space

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night

There is a solitude of space
A solitude of sea
A solitude of death, but these
Society shall be
Compared with that profounder site
That polar privacy
A soul admitted to itself—
Finite infinity.

Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) was one of the most original American poets. She is considered one of the most important American poets of the 19th century, along with Walt Whitman.


To read more poems, click here.



Having an Enviable Career Is One Thing. Being a Happy Person Is Another.

Cherry Tree in Bloom

(…) having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another. Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

Bill Watterson (b. 1959 -) is an American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Watterson talked about the difference between ambition and happiness in his speech ‘Some thoughts on the real world by one who glimpsed it and fled’, Kenyon College – 1990


To read more quotes, click here.



Favorite Photos: April 2023

  1. Favorite Photos: January 2023
  2. Favorite Photos: February 2023
  3. Favorite Photos: March 2023
  4. Favorite Photos: April 2023
  5. Favorite Photos: May 2023
  6. Favorite Photos: June 2023
  7. Favorite Photos: July 2023
  8. Favorite Photos: August 2023
  9. Paris Is Always A Good Idea
  10. Favorite Photos: October 2023
  11. Favorite Photos: November 2023
  12. Favorite Photos: December 2023
  13. Favorite Photos: January 2024
  14. Favorite Photos: February 2024
  15. Favorite Photos: March 2024
  16. Favorite Photos: April 2024
  17. Favorite Photos: May 2024
Close up of a branch of cherry tree flowers

Spring of 2023 has been cold, extremely so. I would like to file a complaint, please! It didn’t prevent the cherry trees from exploding in pink fluffiness. Eventually.

I went to Kungsträdgården to photograph them, as I do every year, and they didn’t disappoint. It was cold and windy, and the sun made only a short appearance. I was in and out in under an hour, which must be a record for me.

A bumblebee on a purple flower
Bumblebee feeding on lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta) var. ’Blue Cloud’, Lidingö, Sweden, June 2022

A male bumblebee feeding on lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta) var. ’Blue Cloud.’ This is a photo from last year, obviously. I take a lot of photos during the summer when there’s light, and then I have a stock of images to process during the darker winter months. And I didn’t get to it until now, to tell you the truth. With all my travels, garden work, and the Book, I feel I’m behind with everything nowadays.

Bumblebees are so interesting. Did you know that they’re cosmopolitan? The 260 species in the Bombus genus can be found almost everywhere in the world, except Australia and most parts of Africa, and at higher latitudes and altitudes than other bees.
Some species even manage to live in cold climates, such as the high arctic Ellesmere Island, Canada’s northernmost island. They can do that because they can regulate their body temperature (heterothermy). Isn’t Mother Nature amazing?

An Australian pelican
Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), Emu Bay, Kangaroo Island (South Australia), January 2023

An Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), ready to mate, as denoted by the yellow patches on his chest. Another older photo, this one is “only” from January. I still have so many beautiful photos from my trip to Australia! I’m reliving the whole trip as I keep processing photos, so I’ll probably still work on some images next year ha, ha!

A western willow spreadwing sunning itself on a pine twig.
Western willow spreading (Chalcolestes viridis), Lidingö, Sweden, September 2022

A western willow spreadwing resting on a pine twig. Another older photo I processed only now in April.

These damselflies fly pretty late, from August to October, and can be found in still or slow-flowing water with overhanging trees such as willows, alders, or birches. Unlike other damselflies, they would lay their eggs in the bark of these trees, not in submerged vegetation.

An emerald damselfly resting on a reed
Emerald damselfly (Lestes sponsa), Lidingö, Sweden, September 2022

A male emerald damselfly (Lestes sponsa). It’s easy to tell because females lack the bright blue color of males. 

Emerald damselfly, don’t you love that name? They’re most common in July and August, so this is another older image that I didn’t get to process until now.


I hope you enjoyed these photos, there are more to come next month. Hopefully, some new ones!


Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.



He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
  6. Departing Spring
  7. The Skylark
  8. What a Strange Thing!
  9. Although The Wind …
  10. The Old Pond
  11. Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
  12. Hast thou 2 loaves of bread …
  13. Youth and Age
  14. A Postcard From the Volcano
  15. The Kraken
  16. He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
  17. There Is a Solitude of Space
  18. Because I Could Not Stop for Death
  19. Mad Song
  20. Answer July
  21. Success Is Counted Sweetest
  22. Hope Is the Thing with Feathers
  23. The Bluebird
  24. A Vision of the End
  25. The Crying of Water
  26. A Rose Has Thorns As Well As Honey
  27. Winter
  28. The Dark Cavalier
  29. There is no Life or Death
  30. Sheep in Winter
  31. To a Snowflake
  32. Sextain
  33. A Crocodile
  34. Sea Fever
  35. The Giant Cactus of Arizona
  36. The Coming of Night
  37. Going to the Picnic
  38. Moon Tonight
  39. A Southern Night
Night sky photo with aurora borealis
Photo by Spenser Sembrat on Unsplash

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats (1865–1939), Irish poet considered one of the greatest English-language poets of the 20th century. Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.


To read more poems, click here.



How to Use a Writing Journal

Notebook on a table used as a writing journal with a fireplace in the background
Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash

Writing is, indubitably, hard. No one can teach you, really. There are books and rules and what have you, and they can help to a certain extent. However, you have to do the work, day after day, and figure out what works for you eventually. One of the things that has helped me a lot is a writing journal.

What is a writing journal, you wonder. Nothing fancy, I assure you. Mine is simply an unassuming black notebook that I keep on my desk while writing. Every time I get an idea, get an insight, notice a problem that I need to address, or realize I need a synonym, I write it all down in my journal.

Why bother? After all, if you have an idea or learned something, it’ll be right there, in your head, where it came from. And it may be quicker to look up a synonym online, for instance.

Ha! You wish. After spending half my morning looking up better ways of saying anxious and debating the various merits of distressed, nervous, and afraid, I had a light bulb moment. This was a waste of my time. I could always do that later, while editing. Just let the writing flow, while it lasts.

As for learnings, I found that the process of writing it all down and reviewing it later made for better retention. I would simply remember it better and occasionally apply it, too. I am human, after all, and not very good at taking my own advice.

I usually review the previous day’s notes in the morning, before starting a new writing session, and would occasionally flip through pages every now and then.

Notebook on a table
Photo by Dim Hou on Unsplash

These are some of the things I wrote down in my writing journal. Not world-shattering, certainly, but that made so much difference to my process. Maybe my writing has improved, or maybe not, but one thing is certain: it’s much faster.

  • End your writing session when you know exactly where you’re going. It’s going to be easier to pick up the thread the next morning. Since you know what you wanted to say, you get a quick and easy start, and then you can just go on from there, gathering steam as you go.
  • Use a printed outline of the book and the chapter you’re working on to remind you of the book and chapter structure so you always know where you are and what the focus should be. Use it as a checklist when editing.
  • Don’t break for small things, e.g., “quickly checking” something or throwing a new load of laundry in the washing machine. They derail your focus and thread of thinking. Plan your known interruptions to coincide with a natural break in your writing flow. My washing machine has a 1 ½ hour cycle, so I attend to the laundry when I’m ready for a break. 
  • Don’t compare your first draft with the finished work of established writers. All first drafts are shitty, as Anne Lamott reminded us in “Bird by Bird“. You don’t see their first draft, only the long-polished final version. 
  • Use a Slush file for text snippets that don’t fit in your WIP but are worth saving. 
  • You run out of steam after a while; learn to notice when you’re spent. There’s no point in struggling more when you’ve reached that point. Just call it a day and be satisfied with that day’s work. 
  •  Don’t write and edit, or you’ll never finish. When you write, you write. Don’t pause. Make a note, and highlight what needs to be checked or changed to know where to go and what to do later. Later is the important word. Highlight words you’ve repeated on the same page in a certain color to go back later and look up synonyms or re-write the sentence when you edit (later). Same for words that don’t feel 100%. Look for the perfect word later.

Related Posts


If you liked this post, share it on your preferred social network or forward it to a friend.