Wednesday, 25 August 2010

AUGUST MOON - HARBINGER OF AUTUMN


As usual, the sound of the first boat trafficking Hammarby Sound woke me up from an uneasy sleep at 5.45 this morning. No use prolonging my turning around in bed; instead, I saluted a rare sunrise morning after several days of rain and dusk. When treading out to the balcony, I turned away from the usual sight, photographed so many times already, to let my back benefit from the sun for a while. But how delighted i was at seeing the low sun bathing the Skanstull bridges and lock with its golden shine. Amazingly, the reflections of glass facades in the water shone much clearer than the facades themselves. An effect of the sun's angle on the horizon, no doubt. 

Above it all throned a full moon, the August moon so adored by the Swedes! It signals the start of the crayfish party season, with much drinking and frolicking, a remainder from heathen times and their ancient sacrifices to thank the goods for a good harvest and prolong the memories of a mellow summer. 

Since we are looking at Hammarby Sound from a new angle this time, let me finish by showing you another view. This picture was taken yesterday around 14.30, at a rare intermission in the steady raining of that day.


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

RETURN OF THE BLUE HOUR


Early this morning, I languished in a troublesome dream. Dragons were pursuing me with terrible screeches, flapping their wings and flashing their teeth. Gradually I turned awake, glad for the return of rational perceptions. But the screeching went on unabated! I rushed to the living room windows and had a quick look outside. It was still rather dark, at 4.30 in the morning. But I still was able to discern a flock of sizable sea gulls gushing around our building and disturbing the neighbourhood with their loud grating voices, as if complaining about lack of food in the “canyons” of our apartment block that they surely perceive as a cliff on the seaside. Soon the flock went on to awaken other residents further off and I stepped out to the balcony to savour the early morning views.

Standing at the balcony rails I was surprised at the relative darkness of the hour. But I should not be! It is almost two months after midsummer now and the white nights are gone. Instead we can again benefit from the beautiful blue haze that is welcoming us early risers as compensation for getting up too early. Best to savour this atmosphere whilst there is still summer, with its promise of a healthy sunrise just a short while later. In a couple of months, the blueness will prevail well into the morning and stay with us even when venturing outside to our daily working venues.

Those of us already longing for the return of the white nights may wish to look at the picture below. It shows the same view a month ago, AND AS EARLY AS 3 AM. What a difference a month makes!


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

ON THE FRONT
















Yesterday was one of those days; rain falling from morning to evening, sometimes mitigated down to drizzle, but never relenting and continuing well into the night. This of course invited a preponed sleep-in, with the sound of steady dripping drowning other evening sounds and creating a somnolent atmosphere. But, around 5.15 AM, I was suddenly awake, wondering where the steady dripping had gone to. The rain had stopped and a serene quiet reigned over Hammarby Sound (Hammarby Sjö). Still half asleep, I sneaked out to the balcony for a check of weather prospects for the newly born day. Well, there was not much I could see. The warmth of the early sun rise had created, in the humidity after the rain, a lofty blanket of fog that enveloped the Sound with its airy cotton, allowing just glimpses of boats and quay in the near distance.

We are now experiencing the normal Swedish High Summer, with rainy days occasionally interspersed by sunny interludes. The continent is heating up, especially in its Eastern ranges far into Russia. Out there in the Northern Atlantic, the water is also getting warm, with corresponding influences on the air above. The front between these two masses of warming air is building Lows that typically migrate over Scandinavia, with Sweden being the final recipient. The result is cloudy days and rain, lasting until the clouds have fully disbursed their watery burden; whereupon there is a brief respite, with a few sunny days, until there are new clouds filled with moisture to disburse. This battle front of air masses striving for supremacy is governing the Swedish summer well into August. First when temperatures are starting to abate on the continent, is there hope for a new sunny period, albeit shorter and later in the season.