Bright lights, small city.

Living in Swedish lapland just a few miles south of the arctic circle i a life of contrasts. The thing we talk about, besides the weather, is light. This time of year it´s absence. During summer it´s presence. During midsummer the sun is up almost 24/7 but around christmas, it´s the other way around. Even tough our winter is the dark time of year.
We´re still surrounded by light. Just the aurora borealis makes it worth living here, and this winter is a good one for that amazing phenomena.
The hardest time is before the snow arrives. The darkness is compact and swallows everything. But since we´re humans and are born creative we light up the world in our own way.
The last three years our town burns in light installations around the weekend of Halloween. Public buildings, parks, boardwalks is filled with amazing art work.
The main attraction usually is the big light show on one of our public buildings. This year it was city halls turn.
Here are some short clips on parts of the show. I personally liked last years show better. The clip at the end is from 2012 that was held at our highschools langue building. (were i took English.)
Sorry for a bit crappy quality, shot it with my iphone.

The lamp guy in the middle was quite popular. He and his friends mingled around in the crowd all night.
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Ants/people, are we so different after all?
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This is one of the park fountains, it was filled with lanterns made of kids from kindergarden.
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Luleå is a steel town. It´s build by the coast around our steelworks and the ore trains that runs from the mines mountains down to the coast. Here an installation on melting steel.
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Dressed trees in the park.
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On one of the towns squares, a giant air filled flower-hill i now dominating.
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These are just a few samples. But i´s quite a boost for us up here in the dark. At least until the snow arrives. It´s still dark, but as the whole world is covered in white, it kind of equals out…

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What goes around, comes around…

“When i grow up i will never make my kids go to bed when they don´t want to!”

My six year old whines to me as i tell her it´s past bed time. I can still remember those things myself. When your parents set up rules or make you do stuff you don’t want to. I grew up just where the river of Luleå hits the Bay of Bothnia. My father always went fishing by net up stream and all winter the icebox was filled with fresh white fish and trout. Today a luxury, but then, for a kid aged ten a nightmare. I swore i would never make my kids eat fish. Did i keep that oath?
Of course not! It´s funny how life turn out and what makes us who we are. We work our asses of trying to raise our kids right. We read books about parenting. There are TV-shows and thousands of websites on the subject. Yet our kids will turn out pretty much just like us, their parents. I don´t see myself as some kind of expert on the subject. But as a son, and a father these things start to spin in my mind.

Let me walk you through the few steps of becoming the thing you promised you´d never be. First, grow up! Sooner or later you will become an adult. You will start to hang out with the grownups on grownup terms and adult actions is expected from you. Second, become a parent yourself. This is where it starts to get interesting. All of a sudden you’ll start to hear your parents words. But they’re coming from your own mouth. “Fish is healthy and make you smart” “Put your jacket on the hanger” “NO shoes inside!” The transformation is nearly complete. The third is the worst, but inevitable. One day you will loose them. When growing up the thought of your parents dying is just unthinkable. Yet they will and you will manage. Nine years ago i lost my father to cancer. He was my best friend, business associate and role model. Losing my backup, the one i always could go to if i had some trouble made me realize it´s up to me now. I´m at the top of the scale. I need to step up and take responsibility.

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My biggest sorrow is that dad never got to meet my kids or their mother. I met her six months after his passing. Still it feels like they do, every day through me. It´s a comfort those days when you feel like you are failing as a parent, and honestly, that’s pretty often. The kids will turn out alright.
I know i did…
Today dad would have turned 82 if cancer didn´t robbed him from us.
However, mum is still around. Strong as an ox at age 79. She´ll probably outlive us all.
In her eyes i´ll always a little baby boy no matter how grown up and mature i feel. Of course she also have made a big impression on me.
But that is a different story.

The great escape, out the back door.

Please allow me to introduce my self, I’m not a man of wealth but hopefully of taste.
My name is Olov, i live in Luleå a small town by the bay of bothnia in Swedish Lapland. I´m 42 years old, father of two and a hard core bike addict. This is my first post at “In to the Orchard” and i feel honored to be a part this awesome blog.
Writing is quite new to me. I´ve started just a few years ago as a columnist at a local paper and it still scares the hell out of me. But since i got kids i try to live by their device. I mean we tell our kids to try out new things, to challenge them and to learn by trail and error. But why stop just because we grow up? Why not continue? Why set boundaries because we think we are finished. Like we somehow stop evolving after a certain age. I refuse to see life like that. I need to try! We need to stop seeing the obstacles that distract us from pushing our boundaries. What ever they might be. Sometimes the adventure is just around the corner. The world is getting smaller as communication and information travels faster. It´s easy to dream away to foreign and exotic countries and think: Thats where the adventure awaits! If i only get there i will experience the time of my life! I´m not saying you wont find your adventure over there but…

…once again we restrict ourselves. Perhaps the greatest adventure awaits just outside my backdoor. The short bike ride on the local trail to the small hill behind our house could be the experience of a life time. Not only for my six-year old, but for me. Or, it might not. But i´m not willing to miss that chance just because i didn´t expect it. Are you?