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Arctic Cold II: The Remarkable ‘Lightness of Being’

Photo: The remarkable 'lightness of being' in Wales, Jan. 2018

THESE are the last days of the perishing Siberian cold that has ravaged the whole of Europe, but the merciless easterly wind stings you to the bone and would not allow to savour the idea that spring is on the doorstep. I‘m sitting at my computer and trying to concentrate on the text, but I can hardly type anything intelligent with my stiff fingers. It is as though my neurons have been covered in frost and are unable to transmit any information from the brain to the fingers.

This temporary standstill, however, brought about by the cataclysmic weather, gave me time to ponder over one thought which has been nudging me for some time: what was it exactly that made me feel so happy when I started my landscape photography course a year ago and began scouting the environs within my reach: just me, my camera, a tripod, sometimes Foxy - my great companion, sometimes a bicycle when weather conditions permitted (I don’t drive). Or when I set off to Wales for a few weeks in January with just a 9 kg rucksack on my back, containing two cameras, a light tripod, a couple of lenses and very basic necessities. And no reasoning from my friend could persuade me to carry another little bag, which the cheap flight airline would have allowed to take on board free of charge. And I was so glad I did not give in.

I utterly enjoyed this remarkable ‘lightness of being‘ (according to Milan Kundera, only on my own terms), both physical and spiritual: you roam the land, no matter where – at home or in the Welsh mountains, just you – your physical self and your thoughts, moving wherever your eyes take you, wherever your mind urges you. Fatigue makes you pause for a while, and for a reason – for you to take out a flask, pour yourself a cup of tea and stop the time while you sip the hot liquid.

In the end I understood where the secret of this pure contentment lied – I discovered my self. Strangely enough, this realization made me feel as if invincible against sadness, despair, loneliness, unhappiness. Not that I experienced any of these after I moved to live on the farm, but it felt reassuring and gave me strength.

Well, while I‘ve been pondering over my self (it took me three days to arrive at the conclusion), the grip of Siberia on my farm seems to be loosening. It‘s noticeably warmer in the room and my fingers type much faster (the neurons must have thawed too). And I‘m definitely not going to rush the spring to bring out all those gorgeous spring flowers. Instead I shall try to live every moment to the full and not to lose sight of my self.

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