being the early bird

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
(Henry David Thoreau)

I might not be looking for worms, but I do like getting up early. That doesn’t mean I always manage to do it, though – some days, it’s easy to fall for the immediate temptation to stay in bed just a little bit longer… Especially on winter mornings, in a Moroccan house without central heating, the warm, cozy bed seems like the most sensible place to be.

On the days I gather all my strength and get out of bed early (the earlier, the better!) I never regret it, though. Thoreau’s wise words (according to The Internet) are, in my case, true, and lately I’ve made an effort to go out walking around the farm as soon as I get up. Apart from the blessing part, and the occasional worm, early morning walks also result in quite an increase in photographs made – because a hundred more photographs to go through every week is exactly what I need, of course…

(Those of you who don’t know why I’m talking about birds and worms – I’m referring to the English idiom The early bird catches the worm. The Swedish equivalent is Morgonstund har guld i mund – the direct translation of which is The morning hour has gold in (its) mouth. Yeah.)

Back to the point, which of course is photographs: I’d like to share some of the things I’ve seen and experienced on my blessed morning walks and hopefully either inspire you to do the same or give you an easy way to enjoy an early morning without getting out of bed. These photos are from the past couple of weeks – only one is from last year. And I didn’t even make any New Year’s resolutions!

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Sunrise is the right time to be up on the roof!

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the best of 2014

The title is misleading! It’s impossible to choose my best photos of 2014, as the collection would change everyday. I just wanted to warn you about that. I wouldn’t want to be dishonest… I decided to accept the challenge despite it being impossible, though, so below are 14 of my favourite photos from last year.

The year 2014 was very interesting for me, mostly personally (professionally it was quite boring). It was the year I lived in and was a resident of Morocco for the first time. I travelled a lot – to Jordan and Finland in January, to Essaouira (Morocco) in February, to London in March, to Córdoba (Spain) in April, to Sweden, Finland, and the Moroccan desert in June, to Finland in September, and to Cartagena (Spain) in October. So to say I lived in Morocco is perhaps not entirely accurate – a lot of the time I lived out of a suitcase.

It was also the year my camera equipment got stolen, the year I finished my 4th marathon, the year I organized 4 photo exhibitions, and the year I celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary. A pretty impressive year, I think!

But that’s enough babbling, let’s move on to those things that are said to be worth a thousand words – enjoy the ride!

In 2014, I got to experience the incredible power and serenity of both the sea and the desert…

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 Dunes of Erg Chegaga in south-eastern Morocco – more desert photos here.

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a moroccan winter

Do you know what the difference between winter in Finland and Morocco is? Well, here’s the answer: colour.

In good years, winter in Finland is white with a dash of blue – the ground, the lakes, the sea, the trees and the houses are covered in snow and ice, and the sky is a magical, clear blue (if you don’t believe me, have a look here and here). In bad years, winter is a uniform, dark grey. The colour palette is as discreet as the lives of plants and animals during the same time.

Winter in Morocco, on the other hand, is a marvellous mishmash of colour – deep and light green, red, orange, yellow, blue, there’s even the occasional rainbow! It’s almost as if Morocco stole all the colours from Finland for a while.

To be fair, I’ve spent many more winters in Finland than in Morocco, so take my truth with a pinch of salt. Or snow, if you have any.

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Our roof cover is especially beautiful this time of the year, and the colours unusually vibrant right after the rain.

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farm kittens

Let’s start December with some kittens, shall we? I guess I’m not giving you very much choice, but you can always leave if you hate cats. If not, get ready for kitten-fest! These cats share the farm that I also live on. I’ve posted about kittens (different ones, of course) from here before.

This is also my 100th post, apparently, so I’ll use it as an opportunity to celebrate the creatures who, after all, own the internet.

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Stella, who is turning out to be a master hunter!

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moroccan anniversary

Exactly a year ago today, I arrived in Morocco with my partner, our cat, and our stuff. It’s been and continues to be an adventure – experiencing a new culture, a new language, a new climate. I keep learning everyday, and sometimes it’s a bit tiring; but at the end of the day, I’m getting exactly what I came for.

We’re hoping to stay here for at least another year, and by that time, I hope I’ll feel a bit more comfortable with the language, and a bit more settled. For now, here are some of my favourite photos from my year in Morocco.

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A view from my roof.

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what is it with walls?

The other day, I noticed that I have quite the collection of wall pictures. As in, photographs of walls. Strange, huh? It even surprised me. I’ve never made a conscious effort to photograph walls. After all, what are walls? They’re often part of a structure, but can also make a structure in and of themselves; they can protect the people behind it or the people outside it; they come in a marvellous variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and materials. I guess they’re quite a presence in our everyday lives.

Walls can signify division, or unity. They can be used as an artist’s canvas, a dog’s bathroom, or a climber’s training ground. As all structures humans build, walls are an expression of people’s imagination (or lack thereof), of historical accidents, of our need to boast or survive, and of the different styles preferred throughout the ages. Maybe I do find walls interesting. Imagine that – I never knew.

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A stunningly beautiful wall in an old, small mill town in southern Finland, called Fiskars.

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mellow & vivid visby

You walk in through a large opening in the nearly 1000-year-old wall. There’s a square, but that’s the only other thing than the colourful, homely-looking houses that seem to completely fill the place. Between the houses there are small alleys, and sometimes a narrow street. At most one car could fit on those streets, which is fine, because there aren’t that many of them anyway. It’s possibly the best-preserved medieval city in Scandinavia, and it’s calm and quiet. Well, at least in early June – later in the summer, it’s run over by tourists from all over Sweden. This UNESCO World Heritage site is Visby, the only city on the large Swedish island, Gotland.

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