Contrasts

As I am in Vilnius until Wednesday, I would like to take this small moment to cast a shadow (work will most likely occupy the rest of my time). Thank you, Nightjar, for those lovely photos of flowers and sunshine (really – today I got back to the hotel, refreshed Affinity, and it was… wow) – in sharp contrast, this is what we have: a look at Vilnius in evening (NB: there is still light, a month ago it would be completely dark!).

©rq, all rights reserved.

Here is a song from Estonia, to complete the Baltic triptych:

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The End Is Nigh

The end of winter at least seems to be nigh, but since one can never know what March will bring, it’s best not to cheer too loudly yet. (Actually, I wouldn’t mind real winter for another couple of weeks, it’s the yoyo I hate. Pick one, Winter. You can’t have it both ways.) The one noticeable difference now is the light – it is no longer dark outside when I leave work (had a bit of a shock Friday). Yay!

But today we will take a short look back at the Winter That Was, because it is, after all, Ronja’s favourite season.

Drive-by photo because she will not sit still if there’s snow to be et.
©rq, all rights reserved.

Well, usually…

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Love Is Metaphysical Gravity

That, apparently, is a quote by R Buckminster Fuller. It is also the title of a series of photographs by Reuben Wu, taken in Spitzbergen, with a particular focus on the Svalbard Satellite Station. About the series:

Taken on Spitzbergen, in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Reuben Wu’s images detail the breathtaking appearance of our planet’s extremities. His photograph series Love Is Metaphysical Gravity is a visual feast of soft pink and blue colour tones, artic landscapes, dreamy auroras and the incomprehensible beauty of the unpolluted night’s sky.

[…]

While Love Is Metaphysical Gravity in part serves as a documentary of the remote islands and the radomes of the Svalbard Satellite Station, what it is perhaps most sensitive to is this: It may be one of the most uninhabited places on Earth, but Spitsbergen is no stranger to communication.

Picking out favourites out of that icy landscape is a challenge, but here’s a couple from Reuben’s website:

Love Is Metaphysical Gravity by Reuben Wu

Love Is Metaphysical Gravity by Reuben Wu. This one is by far my absolute favourite. Turns out it is possible to choose after all!

Love Is Metaphysical Gravity by Reuben Wu

For full effect and full-size pictures, visit his site, and there’s plenty more to explore, too. I sense a timesink of the best kind.

 

Jack’s Walk

Japanese Maple, ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s been raining here most of the day and with the temp hovering between -1º C and +1º C all that rain has been freezing and accumulating. Just stepping out of the house is dangerous. I slipped several times going down my front stairs and once I was at the bottom there was no-where I could go beyond a small patch of grass. Every surface is coated with about 1.5 cm of ice. Even poor low to the ground and 4-footed Jack fell twice going out to pee. The schools are closed, city buses have been canceled and I haven’t seen a single car drive past my house all day. The big, heavy trees are groaning and cracking under the weight and my birch tree has already lost a sizable limb. The forecast says it should all melt soon though, with temps expected to warm up overnight and reach a high of +12º C tomorrow. I hope they’re right.

Jack’s Walk

Fishing at the Creek, ©voyager, all rights reserved

What do you do when the creek is full and flowing and there’s not a speck of ice in sight? You go fishing, of course. That’s what Jack is doing in this photo in case it’s not immediately obvious. He’s still hoping to repeat his lucky catch of a few years ago. Meanwhile, I stand onshore explaining to curious onlookers why my dog is standing up to his chest in cold water, not moving a muscle and staring at something that no-one else sees.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

As expected, we’ve had several days of temps well above zero. Today it’s 9º C and almost all of our snow has melted away. The creek at the park is running high, everything is boggy and the season of mud has set in early. Oh. joy. The weather forecast is looking pretty strange, too. Today and tomorrow it’s expected to be about 10º C then on Wednesday we go down to -2º C with snow and then Thursday and Friday up to 12º C with rain. About a week ago I said it felt like the month of March had come early, but already this week it feels more like the month of April.

Jack’s Walk

The Thames River, ©voyager, all rights reserved

It’s a beautiful, sunny winter day and the temp has climbed to -14 C which feels downright balmy compared to the minus thirties of the past few days. We took a slow, longish walk down by the river and didn’t stray from the path today. I’m pretty sure I know about where the beavers are, but there’s so much snow that getting there would be difficult and dangerous. I’m not sure you could even see very much because of the deep snow cover. Instead, we sang a few of Jack’s favourite songs, did a bit of dancing and pounced and frolicked our way around the park.

Jack’s Walk

Bright and cold, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Well, it’s another cold day here. The actual temp is -17 C, but with the wind chill it’s -28 C. Jack and I don’t stay outside too long on days like this. I can dress for the cold, but Jack can’t. I do have a jaunty red coat for the boy, but the only protection he has for his feet is a vaseline-like “dog boot.” I’ve tried real dog boots on Jack and it was hilarious for about a minute, which is how long it took for Jack to remove them. Sigh. Oh well, a shorter walk on a super cold day isn’t a hardship and at least today the sun is shining about as bright as it ever gets in January. Tomorrow promises to be the same, but Saturday the forecast is for +3 C and Sunday it could go as high as +10 C and then stay that warm for a few days. It’s all very confusing and I hope this weather won’t affect the maple syrup crop this year. It would be a shame for the trees to wake-up early only to be knocked on the head with a quick and lasting freeze again.

Jack’s Walk

HappyJack in his element, ©voyager, all rights reserved

Jack and I went to the lake this morning and frolicked in some virgin snow.Well, Jack frolicked and I trudged, but we both had a good time nonetheless. We didn’t stay out very long, though. The temp this morning is -22 C with a wind chill of -31 c and the forecast says it’s going to stay this cold until Friday when temps are expected to climb to +6 C with rain. That’s a temperature difference of 28 C in the space of a day or two. That’s just crazy weather for around here. I hope the weather makes more sense where you are.

Jack’s Walk

©voyager, all rights reserved

We had about 10 cm of snow overnight and the day began brilliant white and fresh. The sun even shone for most of the morning making the snow twinkle like a scatter of tiny diamonds. Jack and I decided to visit our little forest because the path is well used by dog people and their dogs and we were hoping it would be tramped down enough to make walking easier, and it was!  We had a slow walk, side-by-side and tried to revel in the sunshine, but today this thin, weak January sunlight only makes me weary of winter.

Season of the Ice Sculpture

Just checking in, with some lovely photos from the old military fort on the west coast:

Foto: Māris Ankevics

Winter is in full swing here, with the right proper terrible weather we should be having this time of year. I’m thoroughly enjoying it (this is my season), although I’m enjoying the accompanying flu season far less.

Foto: Māris Ankevics

I hope everyone is staying warm and safe and healthy! I have a feeling we still have some… interesting… weather ahead of us.