Your Guide To Nordic Nature

Enjoy the harvest

Even nowadays living in the north requires management of winter with little sunlight. After the long days of summer, the second phase in our recharging process begins in September – it is time to eat locally-produced fruits and vegetables. In the supermarket the seasons are invisible – everything is in season somewhere on the globe and available! To make your seasonal choices environmentally friendly they must follow the local/regional season. In times past the early fall meant harvesting from the spring and summer efforts in the fields and gardens, accompanied by processing for storage and commerce at the farmer’s markets. Encouragingly, the farmers markets are back in town – reminding us of how nature sets the rules for when good food is available.

Farmers markets in Sweden.

Säsongsbloggen by Hemköp (in Swedish)

Säsongsguiden (in Swedish)

Get inspired in Nordic Wellbeing own food court!

Romanesco at Bergianska garden, Stockholm.

 

Tags: , ,

Summer solstice – Midsummer celebrations

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 | Green Wonders, Your Guide To Nordic Nature | No Comments

Today – June 21st we have our longest day of the year. North of the polar circle the sun never sets – the midnight sun. This is because the Earth axial is tilted so that the northern hemisphere is closest to the sun. The opposite situation is occurring December 21st when we experience the longest night or even polar night. The bittersweet of Midsummer is that it is the time of the year when the days are starting to become shorter again.

The longest day of the year and especially the light warm night was thought of as the most magical of the year and was in pre-Christian times devoted to the gods of fertility. Still the Midsummer’s Eve that we celebrate this Friday is the most important holiday in Sweden. The summer is here and it is time to enjoy the gifts from nature. At a traditional Midsummer table you’ll find pickled herring, sourcream and chive, newly harvested potatoes (not the ones stored during winter) and locally produced strawberries. An important part is also the “snaps” and drinking songs. Besides food the Midsummer celebration includes creating and dancing around a Maypole. This maypole is featured as a cross with two rings hanging. It is covered by fresh branches from birch and lots of herbs collected in the morning. The maypole is raised and then there is traditional ringdances around it. Women and children also sometimes wear wreaths of herbs. Before going to bed all young girls should pick 7 (or 9 in some regions) flowers and cross 7 fences while remaining completely silent, and then put the flowers under their pillows to dream about their future husband. Happy Midsummer!

More about Midsummer at sweden.se

Midnight sun in Östersund. image by Sara Borgström

 

Tags: , ,

Let your senses become your nature guide

Many people enjoy being outdoors and experiencing nature. But to be honest, we are doing lots of other things when outdoors than just experiencing nature. For example, spending time with friends and family, talking on mobile phones, listening to music, exercizing, solving troubling work or private issues, trying to remember species’ names or identifying birds. Nature then becomes just background that we pay very little attention to.

Next time you are out there, let your senses guide you to new nature experiences. Give one sense at a time attention:

  • What sounds do you register close and far away, are they soft or sharp, frequent or rare?
  • How does nature feel, what about that tree trunk near by? How does the ground feel under your feet?
  • How does your nose experience nature? This time of year the shifts in temperature and the decomposition of leaves and grasses create palettes of scents.
  • The eyes are our most used sense and also the easiest to explore. One way to challenge your eyesight is to look for details, for example shades of green in a single tree.
  • There are plenty of edible berries, plants and mushrooms to be enjoyed, or why not focus truly on the taste of your picnic food during the break of your nature explorations.

This sensually-guided nature experience was inspired by Hans Landeström in his work on nature-guided therapy.

Enjoy the beauty, taste and smell of Pine needles. image courtesy Sara Borgström

Tags: , , , , , ,