The Fire Tree

grey_cloudsNovember is traditionally a very grey month here in Sweden. The buses are full of morose Swedes, who look depressed and even downright suicidal. People defend themselves with newspapers or burrow themselves into their scarves, no longer capable of delivering a little smile or nod of the head. Frowns and wrinkles abound.

The winter Swede is here to stay until the spring arrives in an explosion of colour and blossom.

The winter Swede is affected by the dwindling hours of sunlight, and becomes fairly anti-social. The streets become deserted, the swings remain silent. Everyone seems to go into hibernation in their cozy little houses where they keep the feelings of sadness at bay with masses of candles and saffron buns. (The summer Swede is the complete opposite.)

The winter Swede complains about the greyness, the rain, and the lack of colour. Which is strange really.


Because there – where you least expect it – is a riot of colour. This tree blazes on the street above ours in glorious orange, burning as bright as a crackling fire.

And in the dripping woods, the moss, the heather and the blueberry bushes are still green.

And surely it is worth keeping a slight smile on your face, because who knows? There, just around the corner, the golden embrace of a tree might be waiting to greet you.


(First picture courtesy of Janne M.)

(Other pictures taken with my mobile phone.)

23 thoughts on “The Fire Tree

  1. The top photo looks so poetic with its greys, blues and whites. Not grim at all, though I have been up in Sweden in November and it is grim. That says a lot about your photography talents.


  2. great reminder… we just have to be purposeful in our outings..and LOOK FOR the good and the beautiful. It is there–we just lose sight of it because of the darkness and the cold….


  3. Hej hallå, det var jag som postade förra inlägget och det skulle absolut inte stå under namnet “hemlig bokvän”, men det låg kvar från en annan post. 🙂


  4. November here in Canada isn’t too bad, and in the winter people love their hockey and other winter sports….the first snows are exciting, I think …but by February, well, don’t even talk to me in February, I’m liable to just grunt, growl, and scowl at you. Enjoyed this post, and what an unusual tree!


  5. Oh waht a beautiful outlook on such a chilly time. I do not like to be cold. I get grumpy too. he he, Thanks for stoppin by, I enjoy your company. That is a beautiful tree. Stay warm my far away friend,(( hugs))


  6. What beautifully poetic words to accompany these photos. 🙂

    “This tree blazes on the street above ours in glorious orange, burning as bright as a crackling fire.” Simply lovely.


  7. Meg: it rains a lot in November… might dip down to minus 20 C in Stockholm for a few days in February, which is usually the coldest month.

    Jen: It’s some kind of fir tree as it has needles… but it doesn’t stay green all year round. I noticed that it is now shedding and turning gradually brown.

    Trainwreck: Blush! Hugs back to you! I just love your posts!


  8. Looks to be a Tamarack tree, green summer, yellow in winter. We have those in our area. They do add some color to these gray months. Lady Fi, we’re experiencing the exact grayness you mention. I’m ready for summer already;)


  9. Blech…

    You are a suberb photographer, but I truly hate this time of the year. I don’t see the beauty in the shifting colors, I don’t appreciate a crispy morning. I simply hate it, wish I could do the bear thing and re-appear in April (it’s either that or shitloads of money and a condo in Florida so I can stay there six months per year).

    However, I wouldn’t trade the Swedish summer, the amazing archipelago (well at least the westcoast :-p) for anything in the world.

    But hey – that’s just me…

    And yeah, living in Gothenburg means rain rain and then some more rain…oh, and the darkness too. Rarely below zero…or 35 if we’re talking fahrenheit.

    Life sucks this time of year…but I promise, I’ll let you know before I turn into a suicidal winter freak… ;o)


  10. Oh boy, that reminds me so much of the winter I spent in Sweden….it looks the same as the place I was in…Jarna…it’s on the way to Gothenburg, because i recall seeing the signs to Gothenburg on the freeway. My husband is Danish but lived in Sweden for many years. I can’t help it, I must call it Gothamburg…much more interesting….


  11. Glad you’re there to report on these crazy swedes! I understand the need to “hunker down” in the cold – too much energy spent on a nod might have you three steps short of your door. 🙂

    The colors are gorgeous though. Is there enough daylight to observe colors?!


  12. I believe that tree to be a Larch or a Tamarack, they turn the most beautiful golden color and then lose all their needles or “leaves” is technically a decideous conifer. Looks deader than a door nail all winter..and it is never used as a Christmas Tree HA! But come spring it buds out and gets brand new needles or “leaves”. It is one of my favorite trees! Grey is the color of the day here too..and grey are the attitudes also..:)


  13. I love all things Swedish, especially Swedish sense of style and design! But I have to confess that I might be morose, too, with so little light. I have a mild form of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. I need, need sunshine!!!

    But I think you have an excellent attitude:)


  14. Thank you Far Side, my computer resulution is set to approaching middle age, requiring by-focals in total denial setting. Everything except for the type looks slightly blurry.

    We had a beautiful larch in the front garden on the nursery. They have the most amazing needle structure. This is a gorgeous tree.



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