The Rapture Of A Northern Maritime


There were no berries this year, on Ingmarsö. We traded them in, apparently, for sun. Day after day of sun. No rain means few berries, and the ones that do grow are small and dry. Even the moss on the rocks was crisp.

I arrived Monday morning, and was at the mainland harbor by midday. Clouds briefly overhead.

We took a boat to my stepfamily’s house Some time, not too long after we arrived, the sun began to set. I watched from the steps.

Eventually some darkness. Even in the long days of Swedish summer it gets dark eventually.

My youngest sister and her family arrived later that night. But we woke up early in the morning and went to swim in the fresh water pond behind the house.

A dry forest crunches underfoot.

Ponds, however, are ponds. My nephew fell in. The rest of us got out covered in pond vegetation. Commonly known as slime. It was a wild time. Other bacchanalia included frog-catching and fishing with worms off the dock.

The next day we took a boat out into the Baltic. One can say many things about this part of the world. None of them complex.

Granite rocks slope directly into brackish water. The sky is wide, the sea brightly lit. There are houses, here and there. Boats, here and there. More boats than houses. More trees than boats. More sky than anything. Well, except perhaps sea.

The Stockholm Archipelago is either a place simply defined, or a place of worship for the erstwhile soul. Imagine Gregorian chants, only blue, and windy. Some people like the tropics best. Others prefer the blasted purity of a Northern maritime.

The thing is, it’s just so beautiful. We walked to the harbor, where there were boats, as is common in harbors.

The next day we went to Sandhamn. On what can only be called a yacht. We flew the Swedish flag, of course.

We passed the Royal Yacht Harbor, where royals keep their, well, yachts.

We passed houses. A small one.

A red one.

We went to sleep. We got up. We took the smaller boats to a smaller island. Where children played and made the rocks into worlds. I remember what that was like, when I was small.

The sky was pretty blue.

You can survive the sea, maybe. You can survive the sky, maybe, But the next sight, and there will be one more and then another, will roll your eyes back into your head. I said several times that if this kept up I might faint. I should perhaps have worn a life preserver on the boat, to float, overcome, when I careened overboard.

With so little on the horizon, one’s middle opens a space in recognition. You swoon but you remain. All the voices and startles left over from running an ordinary life take their leave. Consciousness stays. Which means you meditate without trying. Or maybe the landscape itself recites, ” Sky, land, water, sky, land, water,” until you reach a clear mind.

One gains perspective, floating, head visible, on a large dark blue green barely salt sea.

It is a time when empty means beautiful. Not lonely. Not void. Not sorrow. It convinces you that man’s natural state is rising joy and elation.

On the last day, my stepbrother-in-law and one of my sisters and I took a hike a little off the beaten track. I found room for water-lilies. There’s more room for beauty than I would have guessed.

As though every breath is some kind of drug.


Images: By me, except the red house and Swedish flag, by my brother-in-law.
Note: My apologies for the breathlessness here but there’s really nothing else that I could say. We will return to regular immediately.

37 Comments

  • 07/22/10
    6:22 am

    Reply

    thelittlefluffycat said...

    oh, BLISS. Thank you for this! So very much!

  • 07/22/10
    6:22 am

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    SouthernProletariat said...

    It is absolutely breathtaking. Thank you for sharing.

  • 07/22/10
    6:34 am

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    Deja Pseu said...

    It convinces you that man's natural state is rising joy and elation.

    Well, your words and images here have certainly convinced me. Exquisite, just exquisite, and you've taken my breath away with this post. Thank you.

  • 07/22/10
    6:36 am

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    Paula said...

    there is probably no way where mankind can leave everything behind in an instand but taking off on a boat.
    I almost forgot. Thank you for opening the door to this almost forgotten souvenir of my life before Mr Paula.

    The sunset in Sweden looks very very romantic. *sigh*

    btw I have the feeling part of IKEA's success is due to the flag. Yellow/Blue is the perfect match. At least when it comes to flags and faces of a building. :-)

  • 07/22/10
    6:37 am

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    Marilyn said...

    This is lovely. We have family in Stockholm and have only skimmed the surface of the Archipelago – always happy to see, hear, breathe in more.

  • 07/22/10
    6:56 am

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    materfamilias said...

    I felt some of this every time we went for a walk in rural Portugal, and eventually had to put the camera away because Pater seemed to want to take more than two steps at a time without stopping for rapture. You've articulated so well the links between simple beauties and the eyes and the spirit and consciousness — such vacations, put in these terms, become necessities rather than indulgences, although they are indeed indulgences in beauty. thank you!

  • 07/22/10
    6:58 am

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    Stephanie said...

    blissful! makes you want to take a deep breath and soak in all that beauty.

  • 07/22/10
    7:03 am

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    hostess of the humble bungalow said...

    Pure poetry…and lovely evocative images.

  • 07/22/10
    7:30 am

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    Patsy said...

    Can we hear more about Sweden before we return to regular?

    It looks very Maine-like up there.

  • 07/22/10
    7:39 am

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    Belle de Ville said...

    A beautiful post about a beautiful place.
    Thank you.

  • 07/22/10
    9:07 am

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    metscan said...

    Simply great. This is the first time during my blogging time, I see pictures like these. These plants, these trees, this sea is near me too. The pictures and your writing is beautiful. Thank you Lisa!

  • 07/22/10
    10:27 am

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    Anna said...

    Absolutely gorgeous impressions, and beautiful writing. To me, the Baltic sea, the sky, and the roughness of the archipelago are precious even if I grew up here, but I think I have gained a decent tolerance to the overwhelming feeling of wild nature and still life. I think that through your words I now understand for the first time what my husband must have felt like when he visited Scandinavia the first time.

  • 07/22/10
    12:00 pm

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    Adventures Along The Way said...

    :)

    I guess I am one of those people who prefer the "blasted purity of a Northern maritime." When I used to live in Norway, I remember feeling a deep sense of peace and at-home-ness. The kind you can't find just anywhere. It is always so wonderful to get to spend time in these kind of places that soothe one's soul…

  • 07/22/10
    12:02 pm

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    the gardeners cottage said...

    hi lpc,

    just getting caught up on your last 2 posts. love all the gorgeous pictures (thankyouverymuch) and the beautiful words to match.

    ~janet

  • 07/22/10
    12:19 pm

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    Class factotum said...

    Those photos are gorgeous. How neat that you have this opportunity in your life! I need to get my mom remarried. Does your stepdad have any brothers?

    RE: steak, kids and kitchen floors. For obvious reasons, I cannot post this on my own blog.

    When I like the kids and the parents, I have no problems with feeding everyone steak. But when they are – ahem – not my favorite (why would it bother me that someone told my husband not to marry me because I "wasn't Catholic enough," even though if I were really strict Catholic, I would not have been marrying my husband in the first place), I am not as excited about exerting myself to be hospitable.

    Yet I will. Because that's how my mother taught me. I will not be ungracious in my own home. If I survived nine days with my outlaws here, I can take two suppers.

  • 07/22/10
    2:05 pm

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    frachellea said...

    Such delights, such loveliness. That view of the pond through the trees would just swell my heart with gladness. Of course, when actually presented with such vistas, I'm tend to lose any but my most basic vocabulary and babble "so gorgeous, so amazing" over and over. Thank you for these pictures!

  • 07/22/10
    2:42 pm

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    lauren said...

    your splendid photo of the forest makes me think of one of my favorite french terms: chemins du désir, or pathways of desire. thoroughfares which develop on their own because things at either end of them are simply necessary.

  • 07/22/10
    2:45 pm

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    LPC said...

    littlefluffy – you are welcome. Thank you in return.

    SouthernProletariat – Thank you. Love your moniker.

    Deja – You're welcome and thank you very much.

    Paula – I love that flag too.

    Marilyn – Yes, I feel like I will search out reports from the Archipelago from now on.

    Mater – Thank you. I loved your shots of Portugal.

  • 07/22/10
    2:47 pm

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    LPC said...

    Stephanie – That is what it feels like, I agree.

    Hostess – Thank you so much.

    Patsy – I understand this is what Maine is like. And I will see if I can dredge up a few last tidbits of Sweden.

    Belle – Thank you.

    metscan – I thought of you while I was there. The northern look.

    Anna – Aw. I'm glad, and I can imagine your husband seeing this for the first time.

  • 07/22/10
    2:50 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Adventures – Some places do make us feel like we have come home.

    Janet – Thank you:).

    Class – Thank you. Ha! I actually did introduce my mother to her husband. No kidding. There are brothers, but they are happily married themselves:).

    frachellea – At least you stay coherent in the face of this kind of beauty:).

    lauren – Ah. And I think about the fact that I was accompanied by my sister, her husband, a 10-year old boy, an 8-year old girl, and a 3 1/2 year old boy. All chattering. Thanks.

  • 07/22/10
    2:53 pm

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    agirl said...

    BEAUTIFUL. Rapture entirely deserved, and wholly appreciated.

  • 07/22/10
    5:40 pm

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    Loretta said...

    A perfect post on a muggy, sticky New York night.

  • 07/22/10
    6:13 pm

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    Faux Fuchsia said...

    How utterly serene and beautiful.

    I want to be there NOW

  • 07/22/10
    6:16 pm

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    thestudioluxe.com said...

    Beautiful photos and words. Thank you for sharing and making me sime sigh…

  • 07/22/10
    9:17 pm

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    Preppy 101 said...

    The Swedish tourism board should pay you grandly for this post. Beautiful writing as usual. I love to read your posts. xoxo

  • 07/23/10
    1:20 am

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    Marieanne said...

    Gorgeous, all of it.

  • 07/23/10
    3:52 am

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    Caroline said...

    Your words and images are stunning and evocative. Thank you.

  • 07/23/10
    8:40 am

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    La Belette Rouge said...

    I can tell you that I have NEVER appreciated a summer the way I did in Goteborg. A Swedish winter makes one REALLY appreciate the summer. And the Swedes really know how to do summer. Love this post.xo

  • 07/23/10
    1:05 pm

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    tintin said...

    I'm so relaxed.

  • 07/24/10
    10:45 am

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    glaciercountyhoney said...

    Gorgeous post, Lisa – thanks for sharing such lovely photos from your trip!

  • 07/24/10
    5:53 pm

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    The Preppy Princess said...

    This one is like the buffet encouraging you to take still more food… it is that scrumptious. The Royal Yacht Club description is priceless, the wee small house just the best, and the vision of slimy underwater vegetation perfect. Yummy, all of it Miss LPC, one of your best.

    I am going back to re-read it. Again.

  • 07/25/10
    4:36 am

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    EntertainingMom said...

    Stunning!!!!

  • 07/25/10
    10:59 am

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    LPC said...

    agirl – Thank you.

    Loretta – Yes, you guys have really had weather this summer.

    FF – I'd love to see you hit Stockholm:).

    Preppy101 – Thank you:)/

    Marieanne – Thank you very much.

    Caroline – Much appreciated.

  • 07/25/10
    11:00 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    La Belette – My stepfather was in Goteborg for years, so I've been there. In winter….Thank you.

    Tintin – Ha!

    Glaciercounty – You are more than welcome.

    TPP – You are so kind.

    EM – Thanks!

  • 07/26/10
    4:41 pm

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    Pam said...

    Beautiful!

  • 07/29/10
    3:57 am

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    Paul said...

    Some great photos you have there! What a beautiful place! Great blog — good luck!

  • 02/12/14
    1:56 pm

    Reply

    misswhistle said...

    reading this again in the depths of winter makes me long for the summer sun in northern europe. this is heavenly. xo

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