Monday, 31 August 2020


Hammarby Lake on 5 July at 7.45 am

In these Corona times, with the plague approaching its fulfilment, I have to admit that dreariness is setting in more and more. Day after day goes by without any change in diurnal routine. Fortunately, I possess a large library with some thousands of books, so I can at least console myself with re-reading stories from so far back that I can't even remember having read them in the first place. 

Yesterday, a charming little book sneaked itself into my hands, enticing me to discover its delights. Its intriguing name was The Anything Box. As soon as I started to read it, I was completely captured, putting it aside first in late evening, after having digested all its stories.

1 July at 3 am

The book's tales full of wonder, and my delight at pursuing them, got me thinking. What is it in your life that gives you the most pleasure? For me, it appears, it must be a kind of rather elusive happenings, which I best may describe as Magic in the Unexpected

The "unexpected" part of it is easy to grasp. Something must happen that you, well, do not expect, and which at the same time gives you unique insights in the world around you. The "magic" part of the concept is more difficult, since it has more to do with your state of mind than with the outside world.  

26 June at 3.45 am

What's most important is that you have an open mind, ready to take in whatever comes to you in form of new experiences. But this is not enough. You must also have nurtured very carefully a certain sense of wonder that comes naturally to you as a child, but tends to get lost as you mature. 

I plead guilty to having lost this childlike sense of wonder first at an advance age. Even upon retirement, I still possessed it. Better still, it got greatly rejuvenated, with my working travails gone and a vast amount of time and leisure at my disposal to make the best of it. 

22 July at 4.20 am

Thus it came to be that I made a long journey, in miles and time both, and came back from it with a treasure chest full of wonders. These months of travel filled med with such joy and well-being that even its afterglow left me a happy and creative pensioner for years to come. It even induced me to let others in on it by preserving my joyful experiences in a quite heavy tome, which goes by the name of Fiat Lux!

During those my travels to California I could conceptualise for the first time what hitherto had been only an intuitive insight: the Magic in the Unexpected

13 July at 4.20 am

Having now brought to the surface what has earlier been only vaguely grasped, I can go back in memory and seek to identify the moments in life that provided me with the greatest pleasure. And, sure enough, they all had some elements of the unexpected in them. To name a few:

When, as a doddler, throwing sand in a bucket full of water, only to discover that fluid turned to mud; when I first met my wife, laughing at me and immediately drawing me in like a beautiful flower full of nectar attracting a bee; when seeing the azure blueness of the sea for the first time from a hill close to the Neretva Estuary; when standing at the abyss and watching the last rays of the sun reaching down into the (Grand) canyon ....

13 August at 5.45 am

Alas, these are only memories now. More than ten years into my retirement, and on my way to becoming an octogenarian, the intensity of feelings has burned out. What little remains, is a certain warm afterglow, reminding me of magic once experienced and felt; but at the same time bringing me the bitter awareness of never again being able to directly experience the sense of wonder when meeting magic in the unexpected.

What comes instead as you grew closer and closer to that emeritus state, which finally causes you to fade away into oblivion?

9 July at 5 am

The answer to this question came to me quite unexpectedly. And it came precisely out of this Corona dreariness I mentioned initially in this post. As day after eventless day is unfolding without fail, this tends to affect also the quality of sleeping. Nowadays, I have to get out of bed at least once a night, whereas, in earlier times, a full night of sound sleep tended to be the rule. 

You may be surprised to learn that I often used, this Summer, those unwelcome interruptions to trip out to my balcony, bare food and with camera in hand, half asleep, with eyes half shut and not even my glasses on. Without further ado, I then clicked off a number of shots, hardly even looking. In the morning, when fully awake after breakfast, I just transferred the new load of pictures to my computer without any ambition to ever bothering with them again.

14 July at 5.15 am

But dreariness again came into the picture. With little else to do, I have lately started to look at the outcome of this hapless clicking away and was astounded to find some hidden treasures in all the drab views I had happened to take in. So I have spent the last two weeks with making those precious few examples presentable to you. And here they are, shining like pearls in the overall haystack of early morning views! 

Contemplating them right now, as you also will be doing shortly, it occurs to me that even we oldtimers are empowered to experience joy and satisfaction. The difference is that our feelings do not come from unexpected experiences. After all, sunrise is the most common event possible and cannot surprise any septua- or octogenarian. Our feelings are more like that of a gourmet´s or vinologist's. With our mind sharpened through decades of experience, we can appreciate the fine details of events, and even polish them in our mind to a rarified gleam. I hope you agree with me on this, after having glanced at these early morning sceneries. 

If not, let me bail you out with an engaging tune, which could add a spicing to what otherwise may appear to you as just an everyday dish.


Eva Meyersson Milgrom said...

b-pictures as always
thanks you

Alan McCornick said...

absolutely love those photos from your kitchen window, Emil!

Svante said...

Hej Emil! Fina bilder! Ha det gott!

Per Wijkman said...

While your photos capture the haunting loneliness of Nordic nights, your text inspires us octogenarians to perservere nevertheless!

Lesley said...

Magical photos, Emil.
Like a gateway from an beautiful aquatic world into my land-locked house.
Thank you,

Hans Christian Cars said...

Tack Emil för den nya presentationen av Dina tankar och bilder. Denna gång med ackompanjemang av en vacker visa som förde mina egna tankar till min mor.

Ända sedan jag föddes brukade vi fira våra somrar i en liten ort i Blekinge där min farbror redan slagit ner sina sommarbopålar. Något år senare köpte mina föräldrar en utrangerad järnvägsvagn från Blekinge läns kustbanor som tjänat som sjukvagn. Den var alltså försedd med sängar i stället för sittplatser. Med stor möda baxades den upp på sex stenfundament för att tjäna oss under många år som sommarstuga.

Efterhand byggdes den ut med ett kök, ännu ett sovrum och en öppen veranda. Från min säng i vagnen kunde jag höra hur min mor under vackra sommarmorgnar från sin uteplats längs verandan brukade sjunga just denna sång: Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a wonderful day... Det var ett trivsamt sätt att välkomna en ny dag och för mig en harmonisk melodi att vakna till.

Varma hälsningar från mitt nuvarande sommarställe - en annan oas med andra minnen från vännen Hans Christian

Anonymous said...

Med framgång trampar Du som fotograf i Claude Monet´s fotspår – söker fånga ljusets växlingar och dess påverkan på föremålets luft och färg!
Bra gjort!

Dag said...

You're truly an early bird! Many thanks for photos and text!

Eva said...

Dear Emil,
Thanks for your always so lovely pictures from your kitchen window! Your thoughts of discovering things in life that are so precious are phenomenons that should be considered more these days when there is so little to discover! Every minute is valuable although one should not think so. For the last 10 months I have been studying the development of my new grandchild, a little boy, who now is about to learn such a tremendous amount of new things. It is really lovely to notice his progress, every little detail is new to him, and it is so wonderful to observe when he understands how to handle things around him.
Best regards

Lena Hagman said...

Tack för alla vackra bilder på din blog från din balkong! De fortsätter att fascinera och var och en visar unika ögonblick. Fick just en idé, du skulle kunna skicka in bilder på molnformationer till SVT (tror jag är adressen). Jag hoppas de skulle visa någon av dina fantastiska bilder för alla som tittar på ”Landet runt”.

Trevlig helg!

Chie said...

Hi Emil,
Thank you for your beautiful, truthful words and photos. Looking out of your own window, you indeed proved that the state of mind could make the same view magical each day. During this pandemic I acquired more joyful mind despite the worries in the air (literally). But I am far more attuned to the minute changes of my surroundings and my inner moods.

Thank you again and keep enjoing your life!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful photos Emil! I never tire of seeing the many and varied views from your kitchen window. I'm so pleased you decided to share them with us!
Take care,

BeachyGal said...

Oh Ho!
Just NOW seeing this blog as I was clearing some space in my very oversubscribed in-basket.

I think you are past the melancholia of covid isolation now. At least I fervently hope so. We here in Berkeley are crowding the restaurants - AND the freeways, with great enthusiasm (not so the latter thing but we do that to arrive at the former).

I just let Abi know that the Turkey trip is post-poned yet again until 2022. Sheesh. I hope I am still alive by then.

Let us know that you are back in good form now that Spring is upon us.

Fondly, Censor

Emil Ems said...

Dear Censor,

How nice to find you, quite unexpectedly, on this blog that I actually count as the most satisfactory among my Corona blogs. I am glad that you discovered it, even if somewhat belatedly.

Interesting to hear about the quick take-up of ordinary social activities in Berkeley. If we but could emulate this in Stockholm. Here, in late April 2021, the Corona situation is as bad as ever, with the number of newly infected even higher than during the first and second waves. Vaccination is progressing at a snail’s pace, compared to the US. Fortunately, I got my first shiot (AstraZeneca) on 5 April. But, the second will be received first 9 WEEKS LATER. So, social life will resurface first in beginning of June for me, as well as for most other Swedes.

Yours sincerely