I love winter; it gives value to the other seasons. The North is my passion with its constant change and fusion into panoramic hues. The fjords are a wonderful contrast of deciduous silver birch with their surrendering foliage and the resilient, lush spruce. I can only stand in blissful awe of Odin’s sylvan palette.
The sweltering, tropical heat with its predictable sunset curfew, plunging all into darkness is not for me, neither are the sudden, violent storms and a barometer that hardly seems to move at all.
Many of my Swedish friends have been disappointed by a somewhat temperamental summer, which is understandable, considering the prolonged darkness of the normal Scandinavian winter; but for me it has been like a typical northern British summer and some lovely coastal sailing on the Jungfrukusten (Maiden’s Coast).
I have sailed just over three hundred and fifty nautical miles this year, in challenging, gusty conditions with delightful sojourns in Hudiksvall and Söderhamn; a pleasing balance of solitude and conviviality with friends and complete strangers.
I could not have asked for more as the eleventh year of my Saga ends.
Winter will soon soon cast her cloak upon the land and Free shall lie on her cradle to slumber until the sun returns next year. Now a new challenge awaits me with a Swedish winter in the village; a small apartment above my friend Micke’s house.
The gods will play in the heavens as the winter spirits dance on the land and I shall witness with reverence, this timeless ecstasy, a blessing to behold.
I would be lying to tell you that this sailing life is easy or always blissful. Of course it isn’t. There have been times when my body flirted with its breaking point, blood running down my hands from flailing ropes under full sail, my back wrenched into agony. And yet, would I have replaced it all?
And the solitude? A singlehanded sailor has to be mentally tough, for there is no one else to blame in those moments of total chaos when life hangs in the balance. But the aloneness becomes integral and percolates through one’s being, liberating the need to seek happiness outside of the self.
There is true unity with the divine this way.