Summer Skies

I have a favourite pair of earrings that I have adored since the very moment I made them mine. They are of the the whitest silver and bejewelled with a green faceted stone that shimmers in every colour of the rainbow when hit by sunlight. Truly, they are an amazing pair of earrings adding the flair of elegance to even the most ordinary of days.

Today I went for a long walk to seek out my very favourite place; a miniature forest of nothing but beeches. Of all the trees in the world I regard beeches as my favourites, and at the peak of spring — when all the flowers are in full bloom — the small forest is a most delightful location to be; the trees towering silently above my head, their branches covered with the faintest of green sheens, the ground hidden by a cover of fallen and withered leaves.

It so happens that I upon returning home realised that my favourite earring had gone missing, and I realised that I must have dropped it while walking across the carpet of last year’s fallen leaves. It would have been impossible for me to notice a small earring falling among a thousand leaves, and so I knew the earring was lost forever, never to be found.

I had never considered the possibility of losing my very favourite piece of jewellery and of course I became very upset when it dawned upon me that my delightful earrings would not gild my days for eternity. They had until this day, but not any farther. Their time had come.

Nostalgically placing the lost earring’s now lonely twin back into my jewellery box this evening I understood that this was the final fate of my silver-green favourites; one lost forever, one remaining to remind me of times that now had passed. But they are pleasant times to remember and I should therefore not mourn my loss but instead think back upon all the delightful times we shared.

And, somewhere out in that beech forest my favourite earring now lies below the withered leaves. Windflowers grow there, breathing life into a carpet deposited by last year’s chilly autumn winds. High above tower the crowns of proud beeches, protecting what is below with their vast expansion.

The are worse final fates for a favourite in this world.

Have you ever lost a favourite or something you hold dear?

forgotten glasses

Potential is something that needs be realised in time in order for the world to thrive through the accomplishments of its inhabitants. Is the promise of certain improvement denied, ambition will falter and forgotten geniuses are all that remain.

Time is a relentless beast leaving nothing without scars as it passes by, casting its shadows upon what is below. As it circled me — before leaving me to be one more time, however promising to return — it shaved off a cloak of denial which I had draped myself in previously, and made me realise that what I currently study are studies studied a decade too late. To learn the characteristics of all the modern-day phyla in the animal kingdom now interests me little, despite the fact that I find zoology one of the most fascinating sciences.

Ten years ago, when I was ten, I would have treasured the opportunity as I then studied it all on my own, dreaming of the day when I had come of the age when university studies were to be allowed for me to indulge in. Had I been allowed to move at my own pace in my younger years, I would have made everyone proud – because my passion would have rendered me unable to disappoint. When I now study the course a decade too late, I have moved yet further forward, being unable to remain still and await the time of mine which never comes.

What would have meant everything to me oh so many years ago I now find rather mundane, my ambition having been allowed to go to waste because it was before its time. What does it matter is a ten-year old is allowed to go to university as long as they enjoy – and is good at – what they do? Talents differ and everyone should be allowed to realise their own potential when the time is right. Such people as my younger self should be supported and valued instead of being neglected and forgotten. Instead of creating geniuses one then ends up with people such as myself — geniuses forgotten.

Two days ago I attended a lecture on the topic of human evolution. I have been fascinated by humans and their nature for about five years now, and that is well enough time for someone to learn most of what there is to know, rendering lectures such as the one two days ago rather pointless. Though it was designed to invoke a sense of awe in its listeners it failed to affect me to any mentionable extent. It is not because I found the subject topic boring, but simply because I am past that stage; I am a listener no more, I am a doer; I wish to be the person holding the lecture for I feel that there are so many more things which also could have been said!

My childhood self — the person I now would need to be — wanted to work in, or own, a very special museum because that was where I believed scientists and ponderers perched, wandering through never-ending hallways where every zoological wonder in the world was stuffed and placed in cabinets to which only the most accomplished had access. I was truly mesmerised by the thought and its implications for my future life. I believed it to be paradise and my greatest desire was at that time to gain access to the winding hallways I sincerely believed ran throughout the entire museum; passageways I then was not allowed to enter. But one day when I had grown older and more accomplished I would. And I could not wait.

I have not visited that museum for over a year now, despite me passing it by every day. It is located just outside the university campus and I have to pass by outside its archives in order to reach my home. The last time I went there I became gravely disappointed, for despite I then knew that the paradise did not exist there in the form my imagination had suggested, I on that day realised that it was true; that I never would find happiness there. My reason for being there over a year ago was because I wanted to see their latest exhibit “The Human Journey” that had been praised in every review as the exhibition to visit was one interested in human evolution.

But when I ventured there I became disappointed – not in the exhibit – but in myself for having once more succumbed to the allure of the dream of a paradise for people such as me: the exhibit was not aimed at people such as myself; its target group were the others, the ones who did not mind if some things were wrong. Pressing my nose against the glass, as if I wished it to be a force field camouflaging a portal that would remove me from the confined space where I stood, I sighed and asked myself why the models of the pre-humans looked the way they did with fair skin — although with dark hair — despite living on the African savannah where such lack of pigmentation would have meant certain death.

But no-one was there to listen, for I yet have to accomplish enough to gain access to the winding hallways of zoological wonders that I know are out there in the world somewhere. All that was there was a fair-haired model of a pre-human that stared without blinking at me where I stood. I turned around and left, and I yet have to set foot in my childhood self’s paradise again.

What saddens me most — however — is that I know I am not the only forgotten genius in this world. Until it has been realised that not everyone is one and the same, the amount of people stunted in their intellectual development will be innumerable; and it is all at the world’s loss.

Tell me, do you ever feel like a forgotten genius at times?

The Noblest Flower

April 18, 2009

Hepatica Duo

In previous years I have always claimed the windflower to be my favourite flower due to its fairness and elegance. Its appearance on the forest’s leaf-covered floor is a true sign of spring, and as the flowers grow tall and and plentiful during the last weeks of April the atmosphere is adorned with a green scent I very much believe to be the smell of spring itself.

In the Anemone nemorosa six petals the colour of purity and innocence surround a centre composed of a cloud of golden suitors swirling around modest green maidens in a frozen dance of courtship. It is a scene which I can spend a long time studying, simply because there is such beauty in the petite; one’s reward for leaning in to take a closer look.

This spring I believe my fondness to have found another — equally worthy — flower by which to be enamoured; the Hepatica nobilis.

The Hepatica is as elegant as its distant cousin the Anemone, however a flower more modest and well-mannered. While the windflowers cover the entire forest floor to form a lush carpet upon which the sun shines, the liverwort takes care to preserve its reputation by growing in clusters farther apart, making a tête-à-tête with it an experience much more intimate and pleasurable. So whilst the anemone attempts to with their numbers prove something to the rest of the world, the Hepatica is certain of itself and grows only where calmness is more abundant.

As the liverwort knows itself well and conjures its elegance from such knowledge, it also dares to differ. Whilst the windflowers only dare to shine as brightly white as they always have — some finding even such an anonymous appearance too much and allow their petals to blush pink — the Hepatica understands how to be unique and not two of their plants have flowers the same colour; the petals in a single grove often shifting from the deepest of velvet blues to the brightest of scarlet pinks. Every once in a while — does one only care to see to the small — one comes across a Hepatica vastly different from all else, their petals light-blue, light-pink, or even sparkling white.

The Hepatica is the most noble of the spring flowers with its bright white and lustrous gold that adorn the centre of a midnight blue rosette. Upon closer inspection it is revealed that the pale and fair suitors are bowing to honour the golden maidens in the centre, as if their modesty was paid every respect in the world.

The foremost proof of the liverwort’s nobility is however its colour, as it is as blue in petal as royalty is in blood. And indeed, this has been recognised by botanists of ages past, for is there any other reason for why its medicinal name has been gilded with the sophisticated ring of nobilis?

It Is Hard To Be Kind

April 15, 2009

Harsh words are uttered only by those who find kind words and praise impossible to express.

Thoughts on Clothes

April 13, 2009

Green Clothes

To be sophisticated is to be well-dressed.

Having spent an evening on a brief shopping tour I shall now write a little upon the subject of clothing — inspired by the two sets of items I bought — and share with you some of my ideas about sophistication in dress, as part of being sophisticated is to be well-dressed; something I am sure many struggle with more often than they would like. As new knowledge is acquired on a daily basis, however, I hope I can assist aspiring sophisticatées with developing their own elegance by sharing advice acquired through whatever experience I possess.

Outerwear:

Outerwear is an important part of any outfit as it is what will shield one from the elements. In many cases it is also what first meets the eye, so great care should be observed when choosing such articles.

In winter a thick coat is preferred — at least in temperate and cold climates — and I have found cashmere coats to be an excellent choice. A conservative colour (a dark or a modest, earthy colour) should be chosen — which suits your own colours well. Previously having gone with the more traditional black I have lately been keeping an eye out for either a coat in light brown — but also (very daringly) an earthy green — as I find that black or navy coats on one hand gives one a comfortable air of anonymity, but that it on the other hand all too easily gets lost among the masses.

In outerwear, the key to being sophisticated is to know how to dress in order to be uniquely anonymous.

During spring and autumn — seasons whose temperatures range widely over the course of a single day — jackets fill their purpose well of sheltering one from the winds and keeping one warm while also being light enough not to cause any problems when the sun decides to warm the lands. A jacket is an important part of a sophisticated person’s wardrobe, and great care should therefore be employed when choosing one. The crucial aspect to consider here is whether or not you will feel comfortable wearing that jacket — that is how important a piece of clothing it is — and if the answer is “no”, then have no regrets leaving the jacket in the store, no matter how beautiful it is. It is its appearance on you; how it heightens your own beauty, that is what matters. The jacket pictured above, I fell in love with immediately, as I have sought such a jacket for years. Since the purchase, I have worn and adored it on a daily basis.

In outerwear, an important part of being sophisticated is to feel comfortable when dressed to be out and about.

Sweaters and Cardigans:

Sweaters and cardigans are an essential part of anyone’s wardrobe, and especially a sophisticated person’s, as they are the items of clothing which warm one during the days of the colder parts of the year, as well as what keeps one comfortable during even the chilliest of summer evenings.

A nice sweater should be made from a durable material as well as being sufficiently thick. (I find that wool works best in the mid-winter cold, and that cotton is perfect for all other situations.) Fit is very important when choosing a sweater, as it is what can make or break an outfit; and therefore also oneself. If one is comfortable with one’s body (which everyone should be!) then sweaters should reveal the curves of one’s figure — without being too tight — as a blouse or shirt should be possible to wear underneath. If one is less comfortable with their curves, a sweater can easily be used as a device of disguise. However, bear in mind that —

Sophistication is to be comfortable with one’s body.

To appear sophisticated when wearing a cardigan very much adheres to the same principles as do sweaters, only that cardigans often reveal more of the item of clothing which is worn underneath; a sweater effectively covers up everything but the collar whilst a cardigan only covers up the sleeves. Though a cardigan is possible to button up fully, I find that only the top or middle button need to be buttoned in order to make one appear as elegantly comfortable as is considered sophisticated.

Adorable Crocheted Hat

April 5, 2009

Crocheted Summer Hat

Adorable Crocheted Hat

A wonderful hat that will perfect any summer dress with its light and versatile appearance.
Having successfully finished one of these cute hats I cannot wait to crochet great a many more in different colours to keep the crown of my head elegantly covered through all of the upcoming summer days!

Materials:

– 2.5mm (UK size 12) crochet hook
– 1 ball of cotton yarn

Optional:

– 90cm (3feet) silk ribbon
– Decorative flower pin

Gauge:

Using a 2.5mm hook a 10 by 2 square of dc measures 4cm (1.5inch) by 1.5cm (5/8inch), and the first five rows have a circumference of 5cm (2 inches).

Size:

Using a 2.5mm hook the finished hats fits my 53.5cm (21″) circumference head perfectly.

Stiches Used:

– Chain (ch)
– Single crochet (sc)
– Half double crochet (hdc)
– Double crochet (dc)
– Treble crochet (tr)
– Slip stitch (slip st)

Special Technique:

Double-Ring method:

– Hold the yarn a few inches from end and wrap it twice around your fingers.
– Remove the rings from your fingers and grip the two rings firmly between your middle finger and thumb.
– Insert the hook through the centre of the rings and draw up a loop.
– Yarn over and draw through the loop on the hook.
– Work the stitches of the first round in the rings.
– Pull gently, but firmly, on the tail to tighten the ring.

Instructions:

Form a ring using the double-ring method (see above).

Row 1: Ch 1 (counts as sc), work four more sc in ring; join with slip st in beginning ch.

Row 2: Ch 2 (counts as dc), work 9 more dc in ring; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 3: Ch 2 (counts as dc), work 2 dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 4: Ch 2 (counts as dc), work 2 dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 5: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 6: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 7: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 2 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 8: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 3 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 9: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 10: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 4 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 11: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 12: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 5 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 13: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 6 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 14: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

(To make the hat smaller than what is indicated above, you may skip row 15. If you wish to make the hat larger than what is indicated above, you may add another round of dc after row 15.)

Row 15: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 7 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 16: Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 17: Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in each sc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 18: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each sc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 19: Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 20: Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in each sc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 21: Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in each sc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 22: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each sc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 23-34: Repeat row 19-22.

Row 35: Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 36: Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in each sc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 37: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same sc; * dc in next 8 sc; 2 dc in next sc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 38: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 39: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 9 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 40: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 41: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 10 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 42: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 43: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 11 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 44: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 45: Ch 2 (counts as dc), dc in same dc; * dc in next 12 dc; 2 dc in next dc; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 46: Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in each dc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 47: Ch 1 (counts as sc), sc in each sc around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Row 48: Ch 5 (counts as tr, ch 1) tr, ch 1 in next sc, tr in next sc; * dc in next 2 sc; hdc in next sc; sc in next 3 sc; hdc in next sc; dc in next 2 sc; tr, ch 1 in next sc; tr, ch 1 in next sc; tr; repeat from * around; join with slip st in top of beginning ch.

Weave in and cut off ends. Turn.

Decoration:
– Try the hat on.
– Take the silk ribbon and wrap it around your head, fastening it with a double knot.
– Take the hat off and trim the ribbon ends to an even length and in an inverted V-shape to keep them from splitting.
– Attach the decorative flower pin.

Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of an adorable crocheted hat!

Two Choices Became One

April 3, 2009

River Cam

Half a year ago I submitted a university application which I had spent many summer weeks writing and perfecting. I had the most glorious of plans; I was only going to apply to only one university; the highest ranked university on the continent where I happen to reside.

People warned me and told me that it would not be wise, that things never turn out the way in which one expects them to, that I should use all the five choices which I were given. But I refused. I knew I was going to be admitted to the university most people can only dream of ever attending; because I was the best.

Two months after my application had been submitted I visited the university to attend an interview. It did not go well – it was nothing like I had expected it to be. The mock interviews had cemented a stubborn belief in my own superiority over everyone else; to be interviewed by professors employed by the continent’s finest university would be a piece of cake!

I was wrong, so wrong.

I returned home worried, hoping I had read the situation the wrong way, that the professors’ face-palming gestures were because they were tired at the end of a long day – not because I was a Swede born yesterday. A month thereafter reality befell me as I learnt that my application had been unsuccessful.

And I thanked my lucky stars for having made sure people warned me, that such belief in oneself would be unwise; I thanked the people who had warned me for being foolish; I thanked myself for having used my five choices.

My first choice was unsuccessful and the fifth choice I withdrew (though I am certain I would have been successful). My third choice made me an offer and like-wisely did my fourth. My second choice of university I did not hear from until today: unfortunately, my application was unsuccessful.

A sting of regret passed through my body upon learning that I had been rejected once more, I am however surprised to realise that I now am only a little numb, seated here in front of my computer monitor, telling the world of my failure. When my first choice rejected my application, I cried and regretted my stubborn pride for days. These two feelings are different.

I had two choices (three really, but only two I considered) and now the two have gone down to one. The rejection hurt me – this I cannot deny – and yet I am in no pain. It is because I had two choices, two choices which have gone down to one.

To decide upon two matters similar, yet different, is a task impossible for someone as undecided as myself. Should I choose the finer of the two universities I wished to attend, though its course was longer and a little less in my taste? Or, should I choose the other university; less well-recommended, but with a shorter course which appealed to me more? The choice may seem a simple one to make, but for me it was not; I wanted them both.

When I learnt that the finer of the two rejected me, I felt tears burn behind the lids of my eyes. But I wiped them away, attempting to see the matter from its brightest side, and I succeeded. The tears were blinked back – for now my dilemma has been solved.

Half a year ago I submitted an application to five universities overseas. I thought four of my choices unnecessary; there was no way I would ever fail. And yet I did – which I never would have believed had I told myself before the fact. Yet, I cannot help but smile deep within, though I of course still am a little bit disappointed in myself.

I cannot help but smile because my choices have gone down to one; the choice I had to make is to be made no more. It was made for me, and everything turned out for the best. For, truth being said, though I applied to the most sophisticated university on the continent – the university of prime ministers and kings – I would not have been happy there. Where I am going now I believe I will be happy – though I would never have believed my own words did I tell my own self six months back.

Life is a marvellous experience, and it is during bitter-sweet days such as this that I realise that every disappointment has a gilded edge; it is only a matter of noticing it.

The First Day of Spring

April 1, 2009

Golden Tussilago

The first day of spring is a magnificent day; the day the world so eagerly awaits; the sole reason for why winter is painfully endured. It is the day when one realises winter is as far away as it can possibly be, all because spring finally has won the epic battle of the elements: spring – with its freshly melodious name – is the season victorious and a time of plenty is about to begin.

The first day of spring is a very special day, and fact is that it only occurs once every year. Commonly, it arrives most unexpectedly – one day being winter, the following spring – and does one blink, one risks to be blind to its brief moment of glory, destined to for an entire year regret now having paid attention to such an important shift of power. For, it is one thing to be there when a change comes about, and wholly another to be present whilst the rewards are reaped.

This year I was almost premature in welcoming spring and I was very close to celebrating the wrong day. So eager were I to greet my favourite season that I almost missed it. Yesterday was a windy day and though the breezes played with my hair, my ears were spared – bare, but not nibbled upon, exposed, but not turned red by the cold. The sun shone and the breezes were smooth upon my face; warmed by the sun which shone from a blue sky. I believed that to be a sign that the first day of spring had arrived, and I wished to tell the world.

I sat down with a pen in my hand – papers before me – eager to make a delighted note mentioning that the miracle of spring had come to grace the lands anew for the first time this year; that spring had come to stay. But I did not, for it did not feel right. Something, deep within told me that to do such a thing would be to do a thing rushed. And so I did not.

I am glad I did not speak before the time had come.

Today, when I walked upon brown fields scarred by the rage of winter’s snow and cast a long shadow due to the sun yet having to rise it highest in the skies, I realised that the first day of spring had arrived. Its arrival did not occur yesterday, nor would it tomorrow, for today was the first day of spring; today was the day I had awaited for so long.

Kneeling in the withered grass I removed the gloves I had used to shield my hands from the winds. Though the sun gilded my hair the winds were cool – not nibbling on my ears – numbing my fingers. That it was rosy appendages I used to pick the gold did however not matter; I found that the reddish hue enriched the yellow, making the small flower now in my hand glow yet more strongly; it was a shard of the sun and spring itself which had fallen from the skies and landed in the winter-brown grass; the first coltsfoot of the year was the whisper I had remained silent to hear: “The first day of spring has arrived.”

Like a young child I skittered home over the fields, the weights winter had placed upon my shoulders had been blown away by the faint breath that vocalised the whisper; the first day of spring had arrived and it had to celebrated. And so the coltsfoot, the smiling flower face in the shape of the sun, was gently placed in a small glass; the golden rim a symbol of the tribute I pay spring every year.

It is time to remove the cloaks which have shielded our faces and painted our eyes grey. It is time to breathe once more, time to smile and time to live, for spring is here and winter is at its farthest away:

The first day of spring has finally arrived!