When I had shot enough pictures of historic buildings, statues, cities and the like on our cruise to Scandinavia recently, I focused in on taking photographs that conveyed the mood or feeling of a place, or represented a unique form or pattern, something perhaps a bit more abstract or symbolic, yet rooted in simplicity.
Two major themes emerged from this activity. One, the enormous number of people who ride bicycles instead of driving cars and the number of windows I gazed at, as we traversed the city streets. Perhaps because the winters are long and dark in the Scandinavian countries, they welcome the light for as long as they have it. Midsummer is a time for celebration in these nations. We were told that the week before we arrived it was cold, and this week was their summer, arriving late but most welcome for as long as it lasts. I noticed that in most every window in the vast number of apartment buildings we passed,there was a plant, either sitting on a windowsill, or hanging from the ceiling nearby. Geraniums seemed to be a popular choice.
I’ve always liked windows. You can look out at the world through a window from your safe and cozy home, or look inside from the world into a sanctuary beyond. When I was young, I remember riding in my father’s car at night, and looking at the windows in the houses we passed, spilling warm yellow light into the darkness. I would wonder what the people living there were doing. Were they gathered around the dinner table, or, perhaps, watching TV in the living room? Or in the city, where here and there in an office building, the light streams out of a window, someone working late or in no hurry to leave.Some people have large windows, open to the world, while others like to draw the drapes or close the blinds, creating a cozy haven from the outside. Either way, inside or out, windows frame our vie w of the world.
Riding the bicycles serve several purposes. First, they are a lot cheaper to use than cars. With a value added tax of 25% in most of the Scandinavian countries, cars are prohibitively expensive, It also helps to lessen the traffic jams. In some cities there is a fee for driving a car into the city. It also helps to lessen their carbon footprint. These nations are dedicated to protecting their environment. Their cities are filled with green areas, parks and trees. Wind turbines are a common sight both on land and sea