Scribbled on the mantelpiece in the art-studio, in the cabin which became our home for a year (2018-2019), are the words VAR TROGEN, BRYT RUTINEN. A literal translation from Swedish would read something like BE FAITHFUL, BREAK THE ROUTINE. Scrawled in charcoal long ago by Isak’s grandfather, this aphorism called out to us, a reminder that being faithful to our lived experience may at times require that we break our routines. What that means will differ entirely from person to person. For us it meant to heed the call of the mountain as it beckoned: to the tree line.
We live in strange times. It often feels like a time of unravelling – of the climate, of ecologies, and of political stories we thought we knew. Perhaps it is also a time of new beginnings, but in a different, more subtle and dispersed way. In the midst of all this, we spent a year in the mountains of Härjedalen.
As we came into this new but familiar terrain, we were curious about many things. What would happen if our to-do lists contained more wood-chopping and less emailing? What shifts would occur if we were outside every day, at the mercy of the mountain’s weather, seasons and moods? We feel fortunate to have had this opportunity; to get to know this place, its seasons, whims, creatures and people, and gathered friends and friends-to-be in this land of birch and heather.
We have now moved south again, to the fertile lands of Uppland, but often return to the tree line for extended periods – in summer, autumn, winter and spring.
Ingrid and Isak