After hours and hours of driving along the winding mountain roads, it reveals itself behind a magnificent wall of rock: Chefchaouen, the blue pearl of the north.
Chefchaouen, a city in the Rif mountains of northern Morocco.
Sometimes, I just start seeing things. Not made-up things, but things that are actually there and have always been there, but have escaped my attention in the constant avalanche of sensory information. On my recent trip to Germany and France, I started paying attention to numbers, and when I did, they turned up everywhere: in a particle accelerator, in a forest, on a house wall.
Numbers are symbols, carrying information. That’s not the only reason why I got so interested in them, though – it’s also about figuring out the use of it in that particular place, whether it’s been specifically designed to fit in with its environment, if it’s mass produced but still unique to its use, or if it’s truly unique and handwritten.
Does it matter which number it is? I don’t know. The fascination is not entirely clear to me, but part of it is certainly the act of removing the number from its environment and giving it attention.
Do you have a favourite number?
7. Place: HERA particle accelerator in Hamburg, Germany.
It’s spring here in the northern hemisphere, in case you hadn’t noticed. Spring in Morocco is a bit like summer in Finland – windy, warm, with the occasional rain. Summer here is beyond anything we get in Finland; likewise, winter in Finland is beyond anything we experience in Morocco.
I’ve never had a favourite season, or a least favourite one – there’s something marvellous about all of them. It’s satisfying to see large changes happening and trying to understand the links between seemingly distant phenomena: like enjoying the mist in late autumn, as the air gets very cold while the sea water retains its heat, or seeing the rivers and streams rush through snow-free landscapes as the mountains slowly release their white blankets.
I recently came back from a three-week trip to Germany and France. It was early spring, and it even snowed – the only snow fall I saw this year. I have to admit that I had missed it a bit. The rivers were being unusually active and exciting and I spent many hours photographing the way the water moved and hissed. What a perfect holiday: watching and listening to spring rivers rush by.
And afterwards, a fire place and a glass of wine.
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!
Sunrise is the right time to be up on the roof!
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…
Dunes of Erg Chegaga in south-eastern Morocco – more desert photos here.
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.
Our roof cover is especially beautiful this time of the year, and the colours unusually vibrant right after the rain.
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.
Stella, who is turning out to be a master hunter!