2 0 0 9!


© Photo: By Riihele. All rights reserved.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Have a super new year 2009 in every way!

Picture Perfect: Joined

© Photo: Riihele. All rights reserved

It was balmy minus 36*C
that morn that
i took this photograph!

The frozen, icy-white branches
seem to be
joined together
high up in the air
over the bend of the river…

Have a super week.

Coming or Going …

Our weather does not know whether it is coming or going presently; that is to say if the winter is finally at its end as in the photo underneath

Grass in the Glistening Snow

or if the spring has finally sprung on us and staying?!! Every other day it is winter and then the next day it is spring; and so it goes round and round week after week this year!

Branch of a Tree

© Photos Riihele. All rights reserved

PICTURE PERFECT: CONTRAST


This week’s theme on

PICTURE PERFECT
is

CONTRAST

I call this picture:

FIRE & ICE!

The FLAMING HOT FIRE of the orange rising sun in the photo looks like a fireball had burst on the scene, and the contrasting extreme cold and frost on the branches and on the ground look so chill-into-your-bones ICY C-O-L-D. Brrr….

Day Breaking over the River

It was an extremely cold day, as it was minus 36*C or thereabouts, when I took this shot of FIRE & ICE and a selection of other similar photos in Finland in February 2007. Some of the photos were taken in the morning of that day when the sun was rising, and the others slightly later in the afternoon as the sun was setting. There is a collection of these photos in this link.

Tis for now, Rii

© All photos Riihele. All rights reserved

GALLERIA: On a cold & frosty…

Here we go round the mulberry bush,
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush,
Here we go round the mulberry bush,

On a cold and frosty morning— AHEM — Afternoon…
Tis for now. Rii
TREE trunk with sunrays
Sidewalk, Stream and Sunrays framed SERENE but Frosty Tis Frosty, Folks The Last of sunrays for the daySun is not warming my frostbiteTREES & STREAMS
© Photos: Riihele. All rights reserved

PICTURE PERFECT: O N E

O SOLE MIO

Birch Leaf on Snow

– single leaf lying on snow.

This is my late entry on PICTURE PERFECT theme O N E.

It was just there on the ground, not arranged or anything.This is a photo taken by me last year in early November, when we had buckets and buckets of snow.This year we do not have that much snow – yet.

Tis for now, Riihele xx

© All photos Riihele. All rights reserved

Take care, Dear Friends and have a great weekend.

An Awful Lot of Weather!

Play on Shadows is this photo called.
Play on Shadows
My own personal favourite of this lot of photos.

We are having an awful lot of weather at the moment: today it has rained, snow-flurried, snowed and also, the sun gave a guest-star appearance on top of it all, even though it is still cold! I wrote an entry on the weather called, ‘Don’t Knock The Weather’ quoting Kin Hubbard that goes like this:

“Don’t knock the weather;
nine-tenth of the people
couldn’t start a conversation
if it didn’t change
once in a while.”

Trees in the Shadows of Sharp Sun Light
It was a very cold and crispy day when I took these shots.

So I will not knock this topic either today, as it is as good as any other subject. In Ireland the people use this expression: “There is an awful lot of weather.” BINGO!

Shadows and a Snow Flurry
A little forest on the ridge with sharp shadows and the snow flurry in the middle of the photo.

These photos are part of the set which I call: The Happy Ones – compared to the Moody & Misty River-sets. The day I was taking them, in early February 2007, was beautifully clear, sunny and not too cold a day, so that it was a great pleasure to be outside doing ARTY FITness Walking and clicking happily frame after frame. These past days the camera has got plenty of rest, for there is nothing, not-a-thing, to click-clickety about until the spring decides to not only to call on us, but to stay with us for good like this year…

Tis for now. Riihele xx.

© Photos: By Riihele. All rights reserved.

Liquid Dark Chocolate – Photos

These photos of mine on The River taken in February 2007,
reminded me of the liquid chocolate and hence,
the quotes and thingies in-between in this entry today.

Warm Colours at Winter

“Good Living
is an act of intelligence,
by which we choose things
which have an agreeable taste
rather than those which do not.”

Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826)

Bleak Sun Rising

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate.”

Katherine Hepburn

Chocolate Colours

“If you are not feeling well, if you have not slept, chocolate will revive you. But you have no chocolate! I think of that again and again! My dear, how will you ever manage?”

Marquise de Sévigné
(French writer and lady of fashion) February 11, 1677

Tis for now. Rii xx

PS.
No, I am not a chocoholic for I prefer liquorice to chocolate most of the time, that is.

© Photos: By Riihele. All rights reserved.

MISTY RIVER – Photos

These photos are part of a set taken by me on an extremely cold day; some of the photos are in the morning of that day when the sun was rising,and the others later in the afternoon as the sun was setting.

River with the Fallen Tree in Grays
Fallen Trees by The Misty River
Mysteriously other-worldly scene

Mist is rising off the River
Mist Rising Off The River
White snow makes this frame look brighter

The Morning has Broken
The Morning has Broken
The sky is getting brighter by the frame letting the pastel colours really to come to the fore!

Day Breaking over the River
Day Breaking over The Misty River
Looks like the sky is ablaze with fire!

Wider Shot of White On Black
Wider Shot of White on Black
I like the light branches contrasting against the dark river underneath. The river bends into a curve and the white furry branch rests over the dark stream.

Tis for now Riihele xx.

© Photos: By Riihele. All rights reserved.

Lapland, Tornio Valley and Childhood – Part2

MAP

The Tornio River unites Sweden and Finland – Övertorneå and the neighbouring Finnish town of Ylitornio lie on opposite sides of the river, which also makes the border. This mighty river provides countless opportunities for fishing and recreation. It presents the amazing spectacle of the spring ice break-up, that I mentioned in the Part 1.

Breathtaking scenery can be viewed from the peaks of mountains on either side of the border, from Luppioberget, on the Swedish side and from Aavasaksa, on the Finnish side. Aavasaksa is a very popular place for the tourists to come at the Midsummer time to view the spectacle of the Midnight Sun.

The landscape in the Tornio Valley features varied countryside of both mountainous and flat landscapes. Tornio and Haparanda are situated on the coastal plain by the Gulf of Bothnia. Further north, from Övertorneå and the northern part of Ylitornio Municipality, the mountains become more prominent. The Arctic Circle is at the latitude of 66.55° N. It goes right through the villages of Ylitornio, on the Finnish side of the river, and Övertorneå, on the Swedish side. This latitude also marks the southernmost parallel at which one can experience the Polar Day, another name is the Midnight Sun and Polar Night, which is also called – Kaamos in the Saami language.

The Polar Day culminates on June 21, when the sun remains above the horizon for 24 hours – and it is light all day. On Aavasaksa mountain – situated on the Finnish side of the river in Ylitornio – one can admire The Midnight Sun between the 15.6-7.7. The Polar Night begins on September 23, at the autumnal equinox, which culminates on December 21, when the sun does not rise above the horizon for 24 hours – and it is dark all day.

Talk about the TWILIGHT ZONE. During the Kaamos – the dark period – everything is in these fabulous shades of blues, pinks and lilacs. It is terribly picturesque altogether. I am quite certain, that you would have seen photographs of Lapland in these gorgeously soft pastel colours, even though it did not cross your mind at all, that they were taken during the Kaamos.

The inclination of the earth’s axis, at an angle of 23.4 degrees, due to the influence of the moon, the location of the Arctic Circle is also changing. Currently it is at the rate of 14.4 metres annually. The Arctic Circle is moving northwards. This process will continue for a further period, after which the process will be reversed and the Arctic Circle will start moving south.

In this border country, as anywhere in a situation alike, a special, local culture, both Swedish and Finnish has emerged. Yet it is somehow distinct from both. A majority of the residents speak Tornio Valley Finnish – Meänkieli – the native language and the bearer of the culture. Culture, that is distinctive in religion, in the local cuisine with its eastern influences. Here is the list of spices: saffron, sugar, lemon, ginger and orange-peel that were used. Also cumin was used in all the bread making in the 18th century as described by a Frenchman. Living in the border region has given the people of the valley a characteristic mentality and a genuine pride – a deep awareness of who they are, rather than the ‘nose-up- in the air’ -variety. The local population is meant to be even more fanatical about hot-hot sauna baths than the rest of the Finns.

Well, one must try, in any which way, to keep warm – somehow! The temperature difference between summer and winter is roughly 60ºC. In winter the temperature creeps down at times to -35ºC or even more. It’s cold, but the air is dry and with the right clothing you can still spend time outdoors. When summer comes, the nature awakens from the slumber, gets over its shock because of the long, long freeze and begins to work 24/7, as it will be light and bright daylight round the clock!! Temperatures of around +30ºC and sometimes even higher are not uncommon.

These temperatures are the norm nowadays. I don’t remember – EVER – in my childhood that the temperature in the summer would have reached much above the 15-20ºC mark! We swam no matter what the weather was like during those short, but, bright summer months. It really was a bit of ‘it’s now or never’ – because the summer was so very short, that, if one blinked, twas over!

The coldest temperature in Ylitornio that I have experienced in my entire life was all of -44ºC!! Do ponder that. Insane, I say.

In this valley, the life revolves around the Tornio River, as I stated already earlier on – this 520 kilometres long river of tranquil pools, foaming rapids and swirling waters that winds its way towards the sea. The people, who used be one nation under the Swedish rule for several centuries. It should be of no real surprise that there is such unity and conformability with the populations on both sides of the river here, as historically, culturally and geographically they were ONE NATION for a time period of six to seven hundred years. That is an awfully long time. It is not going be wiped of by any artificial ‘border’ – however hard the politics of the day may try.

Two peoples, and if the Saami is counted as they should be, that would make three people, four languages and a majestic river make Tornio Valley unique . The local population use several languages, Swedish, Finnish, Saami and Meänkieli. Meänkieli – Our Language – that is what the name means in English – is a language spoken in both Swedish and Finnish Tornio Valley. Meänkieli is a language derived from Finnish. Newspapers and books are written in Meänkieli. Even films have been made in this language. In 1999, a new Minorities Act in Sweden recognised Meänkieli as an indigenous minority language. In Finland it does not have such a recognized status.

Unfortunately, I think, because it is very different from the Finnish in many ways.

When we moved to the Southern Finland, the people there did not understand what we were saying for most of the time and so we had to learn the ordinary Finnish. The southerners thought that we were speaking in Saami. They also thought that we had lived in a Kota – the Saami dwelling special to them.

It must have been the only few weeks that I have ever been silent in my entire life while learning the ‘other’ language!! (Finnish Finnish)

This area belonged to Sweden for several centuries, as already mentioned above, until 1809, actually, when Sweden ceded Finnish Tornio Valley to Russia which I will go into more detail in the next posting in Part 3. That war of 1808-1809 is the last war that Sweden has fought. Finland has not been as spared from wars, but we do have a Big Bear of a neighbour on our eastern side. They do not.

Tis for now. Riihele xx