Thursday, July 28, 2011

Across the Galaxies

This is the third sequel to my narrative To Hold a Sunlight, which tells about the life story of my bosom friend. In this part, I write in a language best understood by "alien beings" like the two of us. 


In a parallel universe that lies within the bounds of my imagination, I have been roaming the space in quest of my dear fellow alien who I thought had been sucked by a black hole. She is nowhere to be found, not even in her own galaxy where I tried to scout around. I don't know how many eons more should I travel across the galaxies to find her. I won't give up. Even if it would take an eternity to locate her, I would do it.

Sometimes, I feel like I'm drowning in an ocean of cosmic loneliness as I wander alone in my spaceship, searching every corner of the intergalactic space. Is it worth all my undaunted efforts to find her and bring her back again to the comfort of the galaxy that we'd chosen as our home? Does she still exist? Or am I merely chasing after an insubstantial stardust that would only lead me to the farthest void of the universe? Has she found an entirely new galactic home where she is happier and more comfortable? Has she met any kindred spirits there and has completely forgotten about her loyal fellow alien who has never given up on her even though everyone else had abandoned her?

I've been missing my fellow space voyager, my alien buddy, for a long time now. I can't find anyone like her in this corner of the galaxy where I landed. All I'm dealing with here are creatures whose nature is that of an ice with impenetrable hardness. Okay, they're also good, but being with them suppresses my true self. I can't speak with them the way I did with her;  can't let out my inner child to play; can't act and talk in a comical way; can't exchange views on subjects we so loved to explore; can't  open up my heart to them; can't hang out at all with them. Well, there's one I met actually, but of the opposite gender. I believe he's also a kindred spirit, from the "race of Joseph". And he appears to have an alien blood too. But then, I can't spend time with him and do our alien stuffs because he doesn't live nearby, nor does he live permanently in one place. I call him a "space-trotter", who lives a life of sacrifice to see about the spiritual needs of other beings and gives of himself to them. So this sends me back to my solitary self, constantly wandering solitarily in the wilderness of space.




Now, I can't help wondering whether my alien buddy still cares about me.  Does she miss me too? Does she still remember how I used to be? Do all the beautiful and dramatic moments we have had still flash in her mind even once in a while? Does she still recall our dreams to spend eternity exploring the universe and discover more cosmic elements yet unknown to earthlings? How I wish I knew the answers. But I need to find her first. But where in cosmos could she be? I don't know where else to look for her. Wherever she is, I hope that somehow, she will hear about her old buddy scouring the universe in search of her. Perhaps she will do everything she can to get out of the black hole that has trapped her, or she would come out of whatever galaxy she has landed on, and meet me in one rugged stellar path somewhere in Messier 31, NGC 224.


Until then, I will keep sailing across the galaxies to find her, while praying for her safety wherever she is. If no one cares at all to rescue her, I'm here to do the best I can to snatch her from the invisible tentacles of infinite darkness that may threaten her very existence. And I keep hoping that we will see each other again soon, and will forever frolic among the stars as we journey through the galaxies.






Saturday, July 23, 2011

One Fine Summer Night


Actually, summer nights here are almost always fine.  The sun lingers high above the horizon, spreading out its soft golden glow until late at night, long enough to enjoy the evening's serenity, and then sinks down at around midnight but leaves behind a profusion of its sunlight that remains all night long until it slowly intensifies again in the morning. The blue sky is either devoid of clouds or painted with them in gloriously diverse  forms.

It is one of such nights, at past 8:00 p.m., when I went out to our little backyard patio, armed with pen and paper and ready to write a draft of a story that had been hatching in my head. Usually, when I want to write something, I'm sitting in front of the computer, busily pounding my fingers on the keyboard. But that night, I didn't want to sit in this dark corner of the room and let the glory of that summer night slip away. 

And so, I laid down my pen and paper on the table, sat comfortably on one of the stools and looked around for a few minutes before penning down my first word. Our little flower bed magnetized my eyes and I found myself admiring the plethora of colorful flowers that filled that barely 1/2 x 2 1/2-meter plot that we have cleared to plant these summer flowers. I was amazed to find them yield flowers in such unexpected opulence even after leaving them for about ten days without anyone watering them at all.







My hubby also came out barefoot, pulled out unwanted weeds and watered the flowers. It was actually he who arranged  this flower bed. 





For over a year since we moved here, we had been longing to have a little flower garden in our backyard, but since we were unsure whether we would stay in this unit or find another later, we put off the plan. But this summer, we decided to plant anyway, just to have something nice to feast our eyes on, something that would relax us when we come home after work. It's amazing how such a little flower bed can do wonders to one's psyche, just as it did to us that lovely night.

I completely forgot my writing project, but instead, I kept on taking macro shots of our little flowers.

























After reveling in such floral pulchritude, I turned my eyes to the sky. Another beauty loomed overhead!











The rowan tree standing nearby had its twigs swaying with the soft breeze that wafted in the air while basking in the light and warmth of the evening sun along with the clovers that dotted the grass surrounding the tree.








 



A group of frolicsome swallows were  flying around in circles and back and forth.  Their flight was so fast and erratic that I had difficulty capturing them. I tried so hard for several minutes until I gave up and ended with this blurry shot. Anyway, it gave me sheer pleasure just watching them playing blithely.






As the night advanced, I spotted this couple just a few steps from us, obviously allured by the loveliness of this night, to savor their togetherness outdoor. My hubby  approached them and had a short friendly conversations with them. They were from Colombia. They didn't mind him taking this picture of them.




That night wore on but the magic of it trailed behind. My writing project totally abandoned, I went back inside the house, still feeling high for these little blessings that abound everywhere, which only those who have the eyes to notice them and the heart to embrace and appreciate  them can truly get to the pinnacle of joy and satisfaction that such things bring.






Sunday, July 17, 2011

Out Fishing


Fishing is also one of the popular past times here. Since Sweden is a country with thousands of lakes and rivers, it's obviously a perfect place to satisfy the delight of a fisher's heart. Umeå alone offers a wide range of lakes and rivers for fishers to choose from.

From springtime to autumn is the ideal time for fishing. Since night time had started to be bright in spring, many people go out fishing in the night. Some are able to catch while others may be less fortunate because of the presence of several fishers. Still, they enjoy being out there, casting the fishing rod, being with nature and being together with friends with similar interest.


One evening in Skeppsvik, a bay where fishers love to go, including us, the sight of these ducks that seemed to enjoy the "sunny" evening caught my eyes, and I took several pictures of them.





My hubby fishing in the same bay at 9:00 p.m.





And here in another lake.





Another evening in Skeppsvik, where fishing enthusiasts keep coming even later in the night.





Here are two other lakes on the outskirts of the city.








All these keep reminding me of Jesus' words:

"And he said to them: “Come after me, and I will make YOU fishers of men.”  At once abandoning the nets, they followed him."
- Matthew 4:18,20

Happily, I'm one of those who accepted his invitation to follow him and become fishers of men.






Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dalarna: Where Storybooks Come to Life

The moment I set foot in Dalarna for the first time in June 21, a sweeping sense of wonder washed over me. I had  been told that it's a special province or county in the heart of Sweden, a popular tourist destination in summer.  I found out later in the camping site that not only the Swedish people flock there but also tourists and adventurers from other countries.




It had been part of our travel itinerary to have a two-night stop-over in my hubby's province of birth before moving on to Oslo to attend a three-day convention. We started off in the morning of 21st and got there in the afternoon. We headed straight to the legendary Lake Siljan and into the largest island therein, Sollerön, where we set up our tent right by the lakeshore.




We boiled water for our coffee with this mini-portable kitchen that we brought before looking around the area in the early evening.




We traveled mostly around Lake Siljan for two days. The lake is located at the heart of Dalarna, and is fringed with beautiful towns and villages where the signature red-colored cottages and timber buildings have been preserved and have become part of the breath-taking landscapes that dazzle many tourists.








 



The camping site in the island of Sollerö (the largest one in the Siljan Lake) draws hundreds of people with their homecars, trailers and tents. The vast camping area was almost filled with such mobile lodging quarters and cabins.












What attracts most of these tourist to this camping ground is it perfect location - right along the lake with a splendid view of the blue/green hills, some little islands scattered about and the sunset.  The ambience is nothing but serene, refreshing and relaxing despite the presence of many tourists and children playing in the little playground. 











Sleeping in a tent beside the lake was pleasurably sweet. Watching the lake scenery in the morning while sipping our coffee, and in the afternoon as the glow of the sun begins to paint the surface of the water and the distant mountains gave us a dose of panacea.


















We spent our days circling the whole Siljan Lake and stopping by the three main towns that grace the coastlines: Mora, Leksand and Rättvik, all well-known for their many folkloristic attractions and spectacular Midsummer celebrations.





Personally, I find every corner an oasis of beauty, with all the gorgeous landscapes, deep green forests, profusion of colorful wildflowers, charming red cottages bedecked with colorful flowers and stunning gardens, the blue waters of the lake and the distant hills, the little islands scattered throughout the lake, etc. Here are some of the many attractions that I have captured as we roamed about these places. (Note: Sometimes, pictures fail to do justice to the real beauty and aura of a place.)




































Dalarna has so much to show, though I haven't seen all of them yet, but I can say that everything I've seen, the landscapes, houses, gardens and forests, are like the scenes in children's storybooks that I've found endearing.


















It's one place where wonderful surprises never end, where beauty lies in every corner, where storybooks come to life. It's a place that one longs to visit again and again and again....