...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Seasons change with the scenery

November 4, 2009

There are some things that never ceases to amaze / surprise / baffle despite all the years here, and one of them is the first snow of the season. Every year, even though we're already freezing in our clothes for weeks and complaining about how the radiators don't seem to compensate for the cold, there it comes, a messenger of colder days to come. "What? Snow! Already?"

Another thing is (and I really can't get over telling people this), how my body clock gets confused a few days after we move to winter time (which is actually "normal time"). After lunch, I do something for a few hours until it begins to be pitch dark out. I always think, "Better wrap this up in time for dinner!" or "Oh, I should prepare for bed soon!" and I always get a shock when the clock actually just reads 4 PM.

Today, when I looked out the window, it also surprised me how the trees, in a matter of a few weeks, already lost all their leaves. They were all thick and red when I was writing my blog posts on hiking; now it's a completely different landscape out there. I can see through the trees! I can even see through people's hedges!

(Yes, it's snowing in the second picture)

In the spring, I'll get surprised again when leaves and flowers start sprouting out of nowhere (but that's literally months and months from now!). Interesting though how the change of seasons – or rather, the change in scenery – makes the passage of time so tangible in a way. You can hear, feel and see passage of time, which otherwise remains invisible and abstract.


November 6, 2009

This weekend, I turn 26 – another marker for time other than the seasons, I guess you could say. There are some things I'll also need getting used to: From then on, I'll no longer become eligible for youth discounts in the national train system. Four years more and I'll hit my 30's! My passport, with those visa stickers from all these years, looks like one of those interactive programs where you can change people's hairstyles and eyebrows. I can also judge that I begin to look, slowly but distinctly, older! Well, it's another ring in the tree of life for me. And, as a quote from Marcus' grandfather goes, "growing older is better than the alternative."

Oh, I bought myself an early birthday present, which I admittedly partly bought mostly to battle boredom in the train, even if I've been meaning to buy it since I've heard about it: Haruki Murakami's memoir, where he talks about running. I'm glad I bought it. It was funny, and at the same time that I felt I could relate to some things he described (through training for races), I enjoyed reading about the out-of-my-league experiences of a more superior, more disciplined runner (and he started marathons at 33! It's not too late!). Besides, I generally love reading about stories of self-inflicted marathon-, ultramarathon- and triathlon pain in Runner's World and similar magazines. This one was written in a similar style: the tempo, the asphalt, the pain and the mind's constant effort to keep the body going are just so immediate in the way they describe their runs.

Well, Murakami also talked about some analogies between writing novels and running, but since I'm not really a writer, I'll leave the artists to judge how he describes the pains of the writing process. However, he did also touch on growing old. Like the seasons, training for the yearly marathons were his measure for time passing, but eventually, as time did pass, he found it ever harder to beat his older results no matter how hard he trained. Like the rest of us, he's also getting older (come to think of it, it's easy to immortalize sports heroes, but they get older too). I dunno, I think the reviews at the back cover didn't give justice to that ageing perspective in the book. In fact, I think that's the real drama in it that makes it this an impacting memoir: this flesh-and-blood althlete who has a talent and love for running (which he even met relatively late in life), despite his worsening race times and ageing body, continues to run because he finds it better than the alternative. It's something of a smaller tragedy, but in it there's also something very inspiring.


Blogger Nic's NEWs said...

love the 2 photos of the trees from the balcony. Isn't it amazing how fast everything changes?!

9:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never thought that it could be surprising to see the seasons change! For me, this is the first winter that feels "normal" given that there's snow here in Umeå now, and I missed a lot of snow in Linköping last year. :) The sudden darkness on the other hand does still shock me.

Four more years until you hit 30? LOL. You shouldn't try to project forward - you're still young :)

2:15 PM


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