Let’s Go Inside 

Words & Photography: Domonique Wiseman

I’ve always been curious about the deeper mysteries of life. I was fortunate to be born into a family that encouraged this quality and brought new ideas and differing perspectives into the home through travel, music, conversation and literature. Growing up, my parents had a bookshelf that spanned the back wall of our lounge room. My child memory of the bookshelf renders it huge, a towering configuration packed with books on all manner of subjects. I have vivid recollections of one in particular that explored all the last mysteries of the world. Filled with images of ancient cities, stone structures, planetary grid maps and tribal masks, it rested on the bottom shelf. Sitting on the floor with the book in my lap, I was unable to make sense of the words yet, but those images captivated me for hours nonetheless. What I came to know as the familiar profiles of Easter Island bewildered me and the pyramids of Egypt were enthralling. One of the first books I asked my parents to teach me to read was this one and it now sits on my own bookshelf some 38 years on.

In my late teens this lean towards the mysterious themes incorporated an all pervading curiosity about the mystery of my inner life and that of others. What sparked this I honestly can’t recall. Perhaps it was simply a young girl keen to make sense of her place in the world, possibly there was a desire to foster deeper connection and meaning in my young adult relationships and worldly experiences, or maybe it was a response to an innate knowing of something else going on here. Whatever the impetus, I became acutely aware of the complexity of the human condition and my own inner life. The drive to understand this prompted me to graduate university with a degree in psychology and to find my own spiritual path early in life. Much of my adult life continues to be peppered with periods of informal study in philosophy, religion, neuroscience, energy healing and personal inquiry.

I believe that each of us is imbued with something so profoundly mysterious and yet paradoxically, simple and familiar. I also believe that the exploration of this great Mystery of self is one of the most selfless things we can do.

To look inside with gentle curiosity is by no means an “easy” path however what I have come to know is that by courageously going inside to compassionately meet our deepest desires, our greatest fears and our most ancient calcified conditioned parts, we are in a prime position to take responsibility for our own peace. By knowing ourselves ever more intimately in every moment we become poised to be in authentic service to the world and others and enables us to gift our communities with inspired forms and ideas.

The avenues that can lead us inside to ourselves are as numerous as the nuanced individuality of each of us. There really is no formulaic approach to life. Dance, prayer, conscious relationship, meditation, fasting, mantra, qigong, artistic endeavors, natural immersion, inner child dialoguing, CBT, gestalt work, play, travel, grief, journaling, inquiry, extreme sports, but a few examples of the myriad of ways and means people have used to go inside to acquaint themselves with the Mystery.

A combination of some of the above, simplistic daily rituals, profound life long practices and yearly experiences that I continue to carry out and expand have supported me in deepening my understanding and appreciation of my inner scape. In recent years I have adopted the practice of literally “going inside” when I feel the familiar call. I go to a wooden clad cottage in the hinterland behind where I live in Australia. Mostly in winter, when the essence of the season encourages hibernation, contemplation and rest. When the light casts familiar shadows in the corners of the rooms and the silence can at times be a little unnerving. Here in the confines of the quaint a-frame daily distractions are few and as the white noise falls away I can hear the rumblings of what needs my attention. I met my greatest teacher here in this cabin, my dearest friend and my fiercest critic.

To know yourself intellectually is one thing, to know yourself experientially is another. There comes a time when we must take our newfound awareness into the world and try it out in real time relational experience. It takes practice, patience and compassion to try out new ways in the world, to inevitability mess it all up, slip back into forgetting then try again.

I believe the Mystery of self is by its very design ever evolving, a dynamic Mystery never to be “solved”, not on this plane anyway. But I am yet to find a more powerful, meaningful and generous purpose in life than the ongoing exploration of who we are.

© all pictures Domonique Wiseman

Excerpt of our Volume 1 Print edition soon available here.

 

 

 

 

 

vaycay or staycay…

Words & Photography by Elisabeth Sofie Hovde

Vaycay or staycay, no matter if you travel far away or if you visit the same place for the 28th time, don’t forget to breathe. I search for that moment, where I can look at my family and just breathe. Like an out of body experience, I just want to enjoy us. After a shared meal, some are playing, some are closing their eyes to take a sigh, you know, that sigh that comes after a good meal with loved ones. It’s the moment where the dishes are forgotten, the stress disappears and the world just comes to a complete still. Even if it only lasts for a minute or two, you get it, and it sets the tone for the rest of the day.

My mother in law once said the “Vacation is not about doing nothing, it’s about doing something else than all the other days”. This inspires me to go to the beach, take a road trip or go down to the sea to have a barbeque, although I would most of all just lay around, read a magazine or scroll down Pinterest and Instagram. It’s about creating memories and a point of reference for my kids, so that when it’s their turn to organize vacations with their kids, they want to find that place and surroundings that give them the possibility to find their sigh.

Summer foods for me, are all about salads, ice cream and cooking food on an open fire. We eat more often and smaller meals than the other seasons. Not because of the heat, because I live in the middle part of Norway, and some nights we actually need to get the fireplace going, if the doors and windows have been opened all day, it can get a little chilly and it’s satisfying to snuggle up with the fireplace crackling. It mostly gets to hot after a while and then the doors are opened again, letting that crisp nordic summer night air back in. It’s a good opportunity to gather everyone throughout the day as well, sharing small meals and just talk.

We fish a lot during the summer months, and we get thrilled when the mackerel bites the hook. It’s strong so there is never any doubt there is a fish on the line. Sometimes, at our secret fishing place, when a shoal of fish swims by, my husband runs between the kids and me, helping us to get the fish of the hook and kill it. He barely gets to enjoy fishing himself, but we are so glad he helps us with that part of the fishing experience.

We own a house by the sea on an island about two-three hours outside of the city we live in. Sometimes cows are grazing the fields around the house, sometimes deer. But there is always peace and quiet. We sit on the same steps that my great grandparents sat on, as seen in the first photo of the house, from about 1934. When you sit there, looking out at the sea, troubles and stress disappear, and we can solve all the problems in the world by sitting there talking. During winter I can’t wait until spring and summer arrives and I can sit on the steps knitting while our youngest play football or does cartwheels on the lawn in front of us. The smell of the country air in clothes dried by the wind and sea breeze, sunkissed cheeks and saltwater blond haired kids, that’s summer to me.

© all pictures Elisabeth Sofie Hovde

More about our contributor Elisabeth Sofie here.

this hot summer…

Words & Photography by Christina Strehlow-

Love this place, the fields, the landscape, the sea so close, the magic light … dreaming that this never ends..at all.

It was obvious that it would be Österlen, we would only find the right house, and when we did, it felt so right. The first summer we spent here was cold, not at all like this summer, and we were renovating the house a lot in a comfortable climate.


This summer was the best for a very long time, and I feel so grateful and glad that we can spend so much time here in Skåne, at Österlen, where we are so happy.
 So wonderful to inhale impressions, views, moments that arise and that you want to preserve, then it’s good to be able to take the camera to remember this instant forever, it never comes again… that’s how I think when I’m shooting these summer moments of our daily life in Österlen- Sometimes I want to shoot so many moments….time is limiting me, but I’m getting better at reacting fast and playing on daylight.


Our house is from the 19th century, and many fine details remained as old doors, low ceilings in some rooms, creating really the old style of former days. We mixed them up with new and modern details. One can say that the whole house is an inspiring place for me and my studio where I can plate everything from product images to my artwork. I really love the light here and the lyrical evenings when the soft light is creeping in and it looks so magically beautiful and inspiring.


The plains, the countryside, the fields, the sea, when you are close to all them, it’s not hard to get inspired and I work at least as much as I rest. I combine both, working and taking breaks. That’s how I want to live, I do not have any trouble to unwind occasionally, take the bike down to the water and take a dip or hang in the hammock and just read.


I love to create peaceful worlds through my imagery that feed my soul too, so when I take photos of my daughters, I hardly see it as a job, it is filling me with happiness and energy.


This place will always be my inspiration to create, to have my studio here, both inside the house and outside the door, is amazing. If I occasionally lose contact to my inspiration, I drink my coffee ( often 8 cups ), take a walk and look at the beautiful prospect and the inspiration is coming back to me.
Feel so privileged and grateful

©all pictures Christina Strehlow

More about our contributor Christina Strehlow here.

 

 

 

 

choices

Words & Photography Jeanette Lunde

Love changes everything.
It sounds like a cliche.
Still it´s the truth.

Love changes everything.

I travel.
Deep.
Inside.
This journey is taking me to places I never thought of.
Places I never dreamt of. Not because I did not know of them, but simply because I did not see them as an interesting destination to chose.

I was blinded.
Blinded by everything I once learned was good for me.
I know those who thought me did it all from kindness,
but they were blinded too.

So I change. I chose to change.
As a women, as a sister, as a mother, as a wife.
As a human having a body being a spirit.
I slowly change, moving forward by choosing love.

Its like being in the flow,
though some days are easier than others.
So much to let go of.
Pealing of layers, one by one.
Stumbling and finding myself going back to old patterns I thought I had said goodbye to.

But I have learned, that as long as I’m moving, I’m fine.
It´s when I stop I’m being brought in.

Oh,
And then those moments, the reward of inner peace.
The ultimate gift.
The purest light.

So how do I choose love?
For me it started with this urge for feeling fulfilled.
To feel joy for no reason.
To just be.
To have a deeper purpose in my daily doings.

I belive it was my soul calling me.
I believe we all are here for a greater reason,
and if we only live for what we can touch and see I belive we are lost.
I know I was lost.

But my soul kept on whispering.
I kept on taking these decisions that was outside the comfort zone.
I was willing to trust.
To trust the process of life.
The flow of the universe.
And I´m still working on that.
To trust and to let go.

Nature talks to me.
Sending small signals and messages of love. I have to focus, to be pure to see and understand.
They come in the most discreet ways.

Looking back I see how I took my choices of comfort. Where I put my energy, where I chose to worry, in the end hurt myself. Still I’m grateful for these lessons, it took me to where I am today.

Right now, sitting and writing this, I’m in Canada. Exploring this beautiful country with my family. Learning from the diversity this place has to offer. I feel my soul, heart and body are being nourished.

Being a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a college; I could go on.
It means that my choices affects everyone around me, maybe even you.
I believe we all are here to make this earth a better place, by choosing love.
In every moment, in this second.

I start with my thoughts.
The way I chose to think effects how I se the world.

So my mantra for today is;
Everything I do I do from love.

My purpose in life is so much greater than myself.
I truly belive that for everyone of us.

So I meditate.
I am vegan.
I forgive.
Every day I try to become a better version of myself.

My gift in return is less fear.
I feel powerful through compassion.
I radiate love.
I attract love.

© all pics Jeanette Lunde

More about our contributor Jeanette of our Volume 2 here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the sound of the lake

Words & Photography by Gunn Kristin Monsen
15th June 2018

Nothing clears my head as simplicity, beautiful flowers and the sound of the lake.

I have always been drawn to the lake. Growing up spending all my summers at my grandparents place where I could run to the lake and have a swim any time, has made it so natural. The feeling of heather scraping up my bare legs as I ran the few meters to our hidden place. The joy of the fresh water as I entered the lake to swim in the tiny bay with my friend and the amazing feeling of just existing in the moment. Luxury given by nature so generously and consumed and enjoyed totally natural as a child.

Living in Norway means for many Norwegians having the nature’s scenery as a backdrop to our daily life. The mountains, fjord woods, lakes and long coastline are our natural elements. We are so used to it and may forget sometimes the impact it has on our way of living and thinking.  For me a hectic life with no stopping points to catch my breath and the growing feeling of losing the ability to be in the moment, led me to search for the feeling again from my childhood. The beautiful feeling of time just passing as the mind take a break. My surroundings where the same as in my childhood, after settling with my family in the house where I had my summer paradise.  Still the nature had lost its effect on me. Being so consumed in the fast pace of my daily life I had no tools to recognize what was so close. My turning point was my first yoga class and starting to practice simple breathing techniques in my life. I discovered myself lying in bed, breathing and suddenly really hearing the sounds from the nature right outside my open bedroom window. The singing birds, the leaves rustling in the wind and the gentle sound of the lake so close to our house. It brought me back to my first winter in this house. My husband and I had just moved from the city to my childhood paradise after my grandparents. The winter was so cold, but still we kept the window in the bedroom slightly open for fresh air. My baby girl was in our bed getting breastfeed and then I heard it, the sound from the frozen lake, like a humming song. It was the ice moving and swaying and it all made a sound deep and wavy. So calming and relaxing. The most beautiful soundtrack to a precious moment. How could I have I had stopped listening to that?

Now the summer is here and we have our windows wide open as often we can. Letting the sound of nature surround us, and be the soundtrack to our life. The water sound different now with its merry sounds hitting the stones around the lake. We swim and take a trip in our old rowboat hunting for waterlilies. The most beautiful white flower to be picked at just the right moment before it closes its crowns in the evening. The stillness on the lake and the feeling of running you’re hand through the water as the boat slowly moves along. The seagulls watching us closely to protect their newly hatched babies. All things so peaceful. At the house we move outside to live. We eat in the garden, and forget to check our watches in the light and long summer nights. This summer we have been blessed with warms sunny days and we feel them in our bodies the days the rain are pouring down. We are a strange people here in the north, spending so many days of the year inside waiting for these sometime few, but precious summer days.

I must admit I still have a long way to go in letting myself really benefit from the amazing tool the nature around me is as a calming source. I love my job and could do it all my awakening hours, but to do it well I need time to reflect, getting inspired and letting the stress go. I need time to be creative and to let myself be lost in the process. When the mind is filled with distracting  thoughts this is really hard. So I slowly give myself more space and room to breathe, getting closer to nature again and letting the sound of the lake inspire me to a life with more presence and living in the moment. It’s not easy but I am blessed with the the most beautiful surroundings to help me on my way.

My dream now is to build a studio in my garden. I have this image of the beautiful light from the lake streaming trough big windows in my studio, soft with a touch of blue tones from the water. Even closer to nature and its magic that clears my head time and time again.

© all pictures Gunn Kristin Monsen

More about Gunn here.

 

 

 

a type of quiet we long after

Words & Photography by Mia Nguyen-

There’s a type of quiet I long after. It usually takes place in the early mornings and late evenings. This particular state of calm permeates every living space, making it easier to breathe and be still. The late and early darkness is often filled with tender murmurs of airplanes flying over, a subtle hum from the refrigerator. I’m neither a morning or night person, but these are the feelings that home exhibits after being away and on the road for stretches of time. It’s a calmness that creates a space for reflection.

Finding pockets of calm in daily living can feel precious and rare, especially when living in a noisy city. It’s the moment when the phone buzzes less and the flow of traffic comes to a dead stop. It’s the moment where you can close your eyes and just be left alone. In our busy day-to-day, this slowness in life is often forgotten about. Due to our fast-paced lifestyles we have adapted ourselves to we have to remind ourselves to slow down.

After a while, there’s always a need to escape to a place with quiet ambiance. Each season, I find myself having a sudden need to escape in an attempt to build new meaning for my creative work. Time starts to stretch and start to weigh like heavy glass blocks when the winter air remains stagnant and unproductive.

On a late November evening in 2017, I took a red-eye flight to Reykjavik from Boston. I had the unique opportunity to return to Iceland for the second time. It’s the first country where I received my first passport stamp and will forever cherish that memory. The purpose of my return was for a photography workshop focused on photographing arctic foxes on the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve of the Westfjords. The northwest region of Iceland is known for its intensity and extreme weather patterns. Life is rugged underneath the Arctic Circle and I prepared myself for the worst by packing clothes I could layer on top of each other for shooting photographs outside for long periods of time. I specifically chose to embark on this trip for its challenges and completely surrender myself to the environmental extremes. I wanted to push myself to the creative limits under harsh conditions. I wanted to go at it alone.

The word bravery is often associated with traveling alone. Bravery itself is a choice we make in order to remind ourselves of our own strength and courage. We are stronger than we think we are most of the time. If I allow the thoughts of fear of failure to seep in for too long, it’s game over. There’s real magic in diving deep into unexplored parts of ourselves and the world. Through this magic, we can find solace and understanding on what we are after and where we are going.

On day one, we packed up the Land Rovers with our equipment and headed to Súðavík, an 8-hour journey from Reykjavik. Just moments on the road, the trip had already surpassed my expectations. The views were nothing but awe-inspiring. Each mile and turn unfolded another natural wonder and a new weather pattern. Over the course of an hour we witnessed a rainstorm, a snowstorm, and vastness of sunlight. The tumultuous experience felt like a kaleidoscope dreamscape. In Iceland, we must surrender ourselves to the weather and adapt quickly to the sudden changes. It is crucial to go with the flow.

The small town of Ísafjörður was dusted in a generous amount of snow. The place resembled a real-life snow globe. As we departed from the marina, we were advised to switch our phones to airplane mode. It was nice to disconnect and say goodbye to the world for a brief moment. Our worlds in the modern age is grounded in staying constantly connected. The thought alone can be overwhelming. Switching off occasionally is essential for sanity’s sake. There’s so much of the world to experience presently.

Life generally slows down in the Westfjords. The landscape of Iceland is defined by its sparseness. The sun doesn’t rise until 10 a.m. or later in the winter. The waves from the water crash onto the rocks with full force. Everything is cloaked in deep blanket of darkness upon waking up and before 5 p.m. The combination of the fast and quiet winter breezes complement the expanse of the fjords.

The auroras swayed and danced gently underneath the Northern sky, making it easy to fall in love with every bit of what nature had to offer. Early mornings are bathed with hues of ethereal pink light. The land surrounding the cabin felt like an endless playground, a boundless space for creativity. It was hard to let go and make the realization that we had to leave and go back home.

Building a strong connection with the strangers that came together for this trip was unlike anything else I ever experienced. The experience would have been much more different if we had cell reception. Moments were serendipitous and carefree. People opened up and revealed their truths.

© all pictures Mia Nguyen

I felt like it was a new beginning with a new family created through the power of serendipity. The anticipations we have for our adventures are often times charted with expectations. The world of Iceland is cloaked in beauty in every waking direction. It exceeds all and any expectations that conjured up in the distance.

In the final moments of quiet while standing on the shore and awaiting our Zodiac boat, I stand there dumb in awe by the vast beauty. I’ve grown so in love with the views over the past four days that I didn’t want to leave. The pockets of calm during these hours echoes a kind sentiment: everything is going to be okay. I take these words with me and tell myself that everything will be okay and I am right where I needed to be.

From NORTHLETTERS MAGAZINE Vol.1 print edition, available soon.

More about contributor Mia Nguyen here.

A space to be ourselves

Words & Photography Katherine Heath-

Knowing who we really are is something many of us struggle with our entire lives. We form opinions on matters that we believe to be our own, but that in reality are a combination of facts and observations we’ve heard elsewhere. And, whilst it’s important to learn from others and take external information into account, it’s equally important to stay true to ourselves even if our thoughts go against popular opinion.

External influences, I believe, often play too big a part in our evaluation of ourselves and what we believe we stand for. Our thoughts are clouded by the thoughts of others and it proves challenging to draw a line between where ‘they’ end and ‘we’ begin. But, the more that we are aware of ourselves and the happier we are with ourselves the less likely we are to let the opinions of others shape who we are.

Our lives are fast-paced and in a world where we have instant access to a consistent flow of new information and varying opinions it’s important to take a step back, breathe and remind ourselves who we are when there’s no one else around.

For me, the opportunity to switch off and gather my own thoughts has always presented itself in nature.

I think the one time we are most ourselves, most in our own minds and most aware of what is truly ‘us’ is when we immerse ourselves in our natural world. The sea air, a miraculous tonic. The damp, unmistakeable smell of the earth after rain. The sheer power of the wind during a storm. The irreplaceable warmth of the sun. All things we have no control over and that instantly remind us how insignificant we are and yet how powerful we can be.

Our intelligence is lightyears ahead of our natural instinct but it’s our instinct that greets the natural world with open arms. Our senses heighten, our ability to think for ourselves sharpens and we fall deeply in sync with the world around us. All appears clearer when we take the time to find the pace that our minds naturally thrive at. Stepping into the outside world allows us the time to slow down our thoughts and the space to reflect on who we are and what we stand for.

In time, this practice grants us with an understanding of our purpose and therefore a deeper awareness of what we want to achieve in life.

Our human world is fast paced–technological advancements allow it to accelerate at speeds we are not necessarily ready for–yet our natural world evolves in perpetuum to a slow, perpetual beat.

We will always be, in some way, a product of our environment and those around us which is why it’s important that we choose to surround ourselves with the space to breathe, with those that help us to grow and with the freedom to slow down and ask ourselves who we really are.

© all pictures Katherine Heath

More about Katherine, contributor of our Volume 1 print edition here. Take care! Melanie Kettner

Inspired by hygge

Words & Photography Rowan Collins-

Funnily enough, our friendship started with porridge. In 2016, we met through an online group for the university we were both about to join, when Liv reached out to me with a recommendation for a porridge café in Copenhagen, where I was about to visit. We didn’t think much of it at the time, but a year and a half later, after one of the busiest and most exciting weekends of our lives hosting our first porridge pop-up, we would be in Liv’s bedroom crying with laughter, remembering that was how it all started.

We are lucky to live in Norwich, a small city in the East of England with a wonderful community of independent businesses and creatives. Inspired by this and our love of porridge, we had a dream of opening a porridge café. A cosy space where people could come and enjoy slow mornings with their loved ones, and eat some wholesome, seasonal food. We talked about our idea again and again, and last year decided to run it as a pop-up for one weekend, just to see it come to life. Here, Norridge was born. What we didn’t realise was that the pop-up would end up feeling like just the beginning, and that we would go home with heads of full of ideas as to how we could expand Norridge into something bigger.

During that first pop-up, we were touched by how supportive our city’s community is, and how important that support is to our business. We want to celebrate that special community and bring it closer together, and we hope that through more pop-ups, wellbeing events and creative workshops we can do just that, at the same time collaborating with and supporting other independent businesses and creatives.

Outside of community, one of the biggest parts of Norridge is hygge. It’s become a bit of a buzzword over the past couple of years, but it’s something everyone can relate to and probably experienced before the term made its way across the world from Denmark. To us, porridge is inherently hygge. It’s warm, creamy, sweet, and there’s a certain slowness in the making of porridge, particularly when it’s made on the hob, that makes just about any morning more hyggeligt. We are passionate advocates of making a little more time in the morning, if you can, to make a proper bowl of porridge and take the time to sit down and enjoy it, preferably with a blanket and some cushions near a window with natural light, or with a few candles lit during the darker months.

We are also hugely inspired by the slow living movement. We live in a world that is increasingly fast-paced and demanding of our attention, so now more than ever there is real value in slowing down and taking a break from our ever-busy schedules. Cooking is one of our favourite ways to do this, but we also love spending an hour or so in one of Norwich’s wonderful coffee shops or settling down at home with a beautiful magazine and a cup of hot tea. We hope that Norridge can be a space that will encourage people to slow down and take some time for themselves, and provide a rest from our ‘always on’ lifestyle.

Finally, seasonal and plant-based eating is a huge part of what we do. We’re both veggie lovers through and through, and we get excited by all the varieties each season has to offer. One of our favourite things is walking home with a tote full of fresh veg wrapped up in paper bags, ready to be made into something delicious. This is really important to what we do, and as Norridge grows we hope to continue working with local, in-season produce to encourage people to do the same at home.

© all pictures Rowan Collins

Starting a business has been a huge learning curve. Norridge has not only become a big part of our lives, but it has changed our lives and, in a way, changed us. We live and breathe our little business. We are constantly thinking about new recipes and new collaborations, and dreaming about opening a permanent café after university. It gives us the freedom to use all of our skills and interests and create our dream job. A job that is broad and hard to define, but encompasses everything we’re passionate about. We work as cooks, designers, photographers and marketers, we do both the admin and the hands-on work. We use every spare moment to work on the business, and even when we’re not working on it we’re thinking about it. It can be intense and it can involve long days and late nights, but it’s also immensely exciting and somehow rarely feels like work. This is still just the beginning of Norridge, and we can’t wait to see what’s yet to come.

More about this beautiful & mindful project here.

Essay from our Volume 1 print edition, available 2018.

 

 

The true nature of Copenhagen

Words and photography by Lise Ulrich

For most of the year, weather permitting, the streets of the small Danish capital are bustling with local life, students and curious tourists filling up hip eateries and cafes, strolling along canals and taking in the historic sights. And of course pedalling from a-z in throngs of ever busy bicycle traffic. Copenhageners enjoy a uniquely high quality of life in a city that has always been more ‘hyggelig’ than hectic, and yet a born country girl might find herself yearning for a bit of untouched nature beyond walks in well-groomed castle gardens. Lucky then, that this too, is Copenhagen.

I used to miss the sound of crickets in summer, and the emptiness of open fields on a winter day. I missed the way light filters through leaves in the forest, the sound of waves rolling in and looking out over the landscape with not a house or road in sight. I missed being alone with my thoughts surrounded by nothing but nature, savouring a few hours of uninterrupted mindfulness before another workweek started churning away.

I needn’t have.

Having grown up in the Danish countryside without a single neighbour and being used to long daily walks with the dog or riding my horse, I remember feeling slightly overwhelmed when visiting Copenhagen as a child. The city – however tiny and picturesque compared to most capitals – seemed loud and slightly claustrophobic back then, and the traffic congestion, train stations and crowded streets left my skin sticky (or so I imagined).

Later as a young adult I would move to London and completely immerse myself in big city life on a vastly larger scale, and thus when I finally returned to Denmark years later by way of a job offer in Copenhagen, it was like relocating to a village where shops closed early and people walked frustratingly slow on metro escalators.

Perhaps because Copenhagen suddenly appeared unequivocally miniscule and laid-back to me, the country girl inside started stirring from her London adventure-induced nap. The hills and forests of my old home were now but an hour’s drive away, but with no car, a busy new career and precious little time to spend whole days escaping by train to the country, I grew restless walking in well-trodden circles around Copenhagen’s four lakes and central gardens several times a week, however lovely they are, trying to find some inner peace through the sound of birds and the wind in treetops – all the while surrounded by countless dog walkers, runners, nervous looking first-date couples (you can spot them a mile away) and groups of friends chatting animatedly with take-away coffee (admittedly I was and am often one of them).

But as many a newcomer to the city learns, I had only to expand my vision beyond the iconic heartland to discover the second nature of Copenhagen.

© all pictures Lise Ulrich

Following a few tips from fellow nature-loving Copenhageners and a map (these were the last days of the paper map, mind you), I realized to my initial surprise that I did not even have to leave the city perimeter to find those green spaces and uninterrupted vistas I longed for. It was there on my doorstep, a bike ride or few metro stops away from the familiar cobblestone streets and spires and bike lanes.

So much had I longed to take up those weekly country walks, that my entire perception of living in Copenhagen changed drastically and to the better on the afternoon that I got off at the last metro stop on the green line, at Vestamager, and walked to Kalvebod Commons, a large nature reserve right on the edge of the city that stretches on for miles and miles of marshlands, grass fields and birch forests, only occupied by birds, deer, sheep and cows.

Excerpt from NORTHLETTERS MAGAZINE VOLUME 1. More in our Vol.1 this autumn and about Lise Ulrich here.

Take care, dear readers! Melanie Kettner

 

 

 

 

 

silentia

Words & Images Petros Koublis-

A landscape is an illimitable state. It’s not restricted within the visible area in front of our eyes, but it extends in an undefined distance, reaching for the limits of our interpretation over ourselves and the world around us. It is because every landscape can be eventually defined as the vast open field where our thoughts and feelings are meeting with the outside world. It’s both an imaginary field and an actual reality, a perpetual state and a momentary revelation.

From the view outside of our window, to the far end of the Universe, it is one continuous landscape without limits. It flows undisturbed, dissolving into infinite forms that take the shape of everything we have ever seen, dreamt or imagined. Our world is celestial, sharing the same origin with the space that embraces our skies.

Mountains and seas, the most familiar forms of our immediate experience still carry within them the magic of distant worlds, for this is one, inseparable landscape. Nature has given us its own symbols, its own little natural monuments that awake inside of us this primitive memory. Everywhere around the world, every culture carries these natural symbols in a more abstract or specific way, having shaped mythologies of cultural, religious or simply emotional narratives linked to their surrounding nature. Everything is part of us in an emotional level that goes beyond our present state, as it reaches back to a forgotten memory of our origin.

There are limits to our perception, therefore we are not able to fully perceive what is essentially mind-independent, free of form, shape and definition. We are bound to keep addressing the phenomenal version of reality, limited within the confines of our understanding. Through Mythology the human spirit could philosophically approach those remote areas of a system much bigger than what we are able to perceive. As if through myths, our spirit is able to overcome the boundaries of the mind and expose our intuition to a much greater reality. Mythology preserves the meditation on the unconceptualized form. In fact. mythology could be considered as the linguistic effort to describe the inconceivable. This is how mythology became the mother of poetry, just by effortlessly negotiating the memory of experience.

© Petros Koublis with kind permission

Excerpt from NORTHLETTERS MAGAZINE print edition VOL.1

More about our contributor Petros here.

Take care dear readers! Melanie Kettner