We walk slowly into the forest, everything around us is completely still. The ground is partially covered in frost that glitter in the soft sunlight. Frozen moss cracks under our feet as we walk. I take a deep breath and fill my lungs with fresh air. There’s a special smell in the forest on days like these, when everything is frozen and the sun heats everything up. It smells like frozen pine and a little piece of heaven.
A small bird passes us, flying from one tree to another. Erik looks down and points at a turf of lingonberries that looks like they’ve been frozen in a moment. Beautiful, vivid red against crystals of white. And there it is, unexpected yet so expected. It hits me so fast it’s like taking a punch. A rush of gratitude and happiness.
After weeks of rain and more rain, yesterday felt like a dream.
The sun was shining and the air was crisp, it was perfect weather for a day out in the woods. We drove to Hirvas, a couple of kilometres from Gällivare, and walked about 100 meters into the woods. Not far at all, but far enough. We walked around a little and looked at the frozen berries and searched for animals. Then we sat down for a proper Swedish “fika” with hot chocolate, coffee and cinnamon rolls.
Erik then spent about 45 minutes playing all sorts of games out there in the woods. Saying he needed to shovel away all the snow from his “computer” so that he could “go to work”. He also tried to jump between big stones and got all of us to jump as far as we could. I love that he’s got such lively imagination and can stay out playing for hours. And as I stood there, watching him play, I realized how much I needed this reminder of what is truly important.
It’s like the silence out here soothes my soul in an instant.
I sit down, look around, listen to nature and without further effort, there it is. Happiness. Calm. Presence. It’s funny how much time we waste searching for happiness and fulfilment. How much money we can spend on things that we think will make us happier and our life better. Working long hours to afford all those things, wasting our time thinking about them. Always chasing. When really, all we need is right here.
It doesn’t have to be harder than a short walk into the forest, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and a cinnamon roll, and then playing for a bit with nothing more than sticks and stones. That is happiness to me. And it doesn’t cost anything. Well, except for the hot chocolate and cinnamon rolls. But it’s a lot cheaper than a big house or a fancy car.
Every moment that I am not working, I feel like nature is calling for me. And each time I answer, I go out blindly, not knowing why I feel that I have to go. Once I’m out there, it hits me. I come here to realize that I already have everything I am looking for. There’s no need to search. I just have to enjoy the ride.
Out there, in the woods, I found happiness. Again. When I get really old, I’m pretty sure I will have forgotten what car we had, what brand of shoes I wore or how great it was to have a new phone. What I will remember is this day.
And this day will make me smile until the end of my days. And that’s all that really matters. ♡