On Sunday, the rains were heavy — I don’t think I’ve ever seen the archipelago as heavy with rain, so grey, so burdened with water — , but as the week progressed, weather improved, until yesterday when summer made a welcome return, or should I say appearance (there hasn’t been much summer to speak of in Stockholm this year). It’s a weird thing to come back to the city; people everywhere, traffic, noises… tap water. Not having to drag buckets of it from the water pump; a heavy and delightfully primitive way to organise things. But to return to people — how it feels so natural to be where there aren’t any people around. To be in silence, except from the sounds of nature.

You watch so-called civilisation pass by; the ships coming in and leaving Stockholm. They create waves, but otherwise they can’t touch you. They may be full of passengers, but they aren’t people. They are anonymous, contained in enormous monsters of steel, kept safely at distance. Sometimes you can hear their loudspeakers, if they’re really loud and you’re in the right spots, where the ships pass the island at the closest distance; then you’re reminded of something that resembles to the city. At night, in the dark, they glow like christmas trees. I prefer the cargo ships. They’re silent except for their busy engines, they’re unpretentious despite being essential, they’re mostly dark in the darkness of night — they don’t demand attention, they don’t want it.

On Wednesday night, the moon was almost full; the sky a bit misty, helping the moon to glow like a sun but much more gently. The fjärd and the beaches were lit up, providing a remedy for the need for torches during these black August nights. The day, as I mentioned, had been sunny and warm. The night was, too. And then, as were not the light and soft mist enough, a thick fog rolled in over the vast surfaces of water, obscuring the already dark — lit only indirectly by the moon — islands on the other side. Soon you could no longer see the moon; nor could you see the beacons and navigation marks; even the nearest lighthouse — a tiny one — disappeared into the fog, only a very faint dot of light from it still reaching the shore and myself.

I think, you know (you probably got this about me already), that absence of people cleanses the mind, it washes out the clutter. You go outdoors, and the world is empty of people. Occasionally, of course, you meet someone, even in the countryside, even in virtually deserted areas of summer cottages. There are people, a few of them, some with dogs. Perhaps you chat for a few minutes. That’s alright, overall. Unlike in the city, there are no hordes of people, no thousands and thousands (and thousands more) of people filling your mental space with — vast amounts of nothing. Thousands and yet thousands of people with whom you have no connection whatsoever anyway. Blank faces that mean nothing.

Some more autumn photos; different days, but most of them in the evening. There’s no doubt autumn has arrived, is it?


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