Nip in the air

The season has rolled over and the glorious hedgerows of shocking pink roses that so struck me in Denmark have suddenly (it seems) become laden with abundant clusters of tomato sized rose hips ranging from pale yellow/green to deep autumnal pillar-box red.
The early mornings require an extra layer, but later, my lower legs (still in shorts for now) feel the heat rising from the ground almost like under-floor heating. The other kind of heat is from the ferocious ointment that helps to disguise the midge bites!!
The fields are being ploughed and the air is full of the smell of wet grain, grasses and moist earth. Yesterday I saw a couple in their grass, raking and scything, clad in clothes that would have looked the part maybe 70 years ago… Headscarves, aprons and dungarees..
Swedes really LOVE their nature. My sense is that they simply cannot help it, as it runs so deep. Baskets with wellies are a tell tale sign of a foraging expedition… And then later those same baskets are heaving with brightly coloured chanterlelles. The markets are gorgeous with all kinds of berries, which must take hours to gather and sift and then the tables are heaving with wonderful jams. Yum!
Yesterday afternoon I joined the washing up team and had such fun with 2 other women. one was passionate about the dishwasher and power hose ( the floor was awash!) and the other was the one who doesn’t stop until the last item and splot is put to rest. It seems my talent was to spot the places where things go. We did very well together!
Last night I sat and painted in the tranquility of the top room in the castle, which has become a meditation chapel. It is such a beautiful room, with one huge oval window through which the morning light streams and then in the deepening gloom of dusk, the gold leaf on the icons begins to radiate another kind of light… Candles and T lights emphasizing the shadows and the simplicity of a low table (formerly the base of a huge wardrobe) serve as the base for a bookstand and open pages of the bible. The icons are in the Coptic tradition, which makes them especially accessible and remind me of the exquisite icon painting week I spent in Anne-marie’s studio with Tatiana, a Rumanian iconographer, whose talent and sensitivity was such an inspiration.
I have to confess… I have gone out and bought an I-pad (it has just insisted that the i is a capital!).
This means I can blog more easily. For someone who professes to be a computer-phobe this is quite a step! BUT I am really enjoying writing and keeping in touch this way.
Breakfast beckons and then later it’ll be a performance of opus 109 just to complete the picture before I leave the sanctuary of Bkärka Säby and head off towards Stockholm tomorrow.

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2 Responses to Nip in the air

  1. sheila says:

    Wow all sounds heavenly. Just off to Quakers will think of you in the stillness xx

    • jennyquick says:

      Hi Sheila, think you win the prize for my most regular ‘commentator’!
      I’ve been shoe-horning everything back into the bags tonight… Sort of ready to leave now, but feeling tubbier and legs seem reluctant even to contemplate stairs let alone bike-miles!!!
      I have really enjoyed playing though, and as well as today’s Beethoven, played yesterday for a big party that was going on.. Accompanied a lovely woman who played flute… Never met, and after, we were so thrilled that we hugged and hugged and declared ” that was MUSIC”!!
      Spontaneity has been so much a part of this trip. Will I ever be the same again? Doubt it!!
      My time here has been assisted by a special young man called Martin. He has shown me every corner of the castle, delighted in telling me its fascinating and romantic history and generally bent over backwards to make my stay a complete pleasure. We have had some great theological conversations, too and his breadth and depth have been really inspiring.
      Mind you, everyone here is pretty inspiring, with their utter wholeheartedness and the central core of Koptic tradition that informs their daily rhythm. Prayers at 7am12 noon 4pm and 8 I think plus a liturgy in the evening and then guidelines for silence. In the summer the castle is a bed of activity for different courses and then things resume their more steady routine in the term. I have been made so welcome to any of the activities, as within the community there is a strong tradition of opening their doors to traveling pilgrims/cycling pianists!! I have not been required to be silent or abstain from cake…!
      Must get to bed and stop so that I can cope tomorrow! Hoping to make a dent in the next 200 or so k to the outskirts of Stockholm, where one of my pupils has a generous aunt whose invitation to show me round Stockholm I can’t possibly refuse. Then it’s a big leap of faith as I get ready for entry to Poland… Coo!
      Lots of love and thanks, by the way for your ongoing notes. Love ’em xxx

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