Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2005/05/17

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Subject: [Leica] a sad postcard
From: datamaster at (Gary Todoroff)
Date: Tue May 17 10:13:52 2005

Very descriptive words, Ruben, to describe a place that is similar to many
memories I have of Sweden. In the 1960's I stayed with a family in the
little town of Horred near Varberg on the southwest coast. They had a summer
cottage much like the "torp" you describe, near a lake and in the woods.
What part of Sweden are you in? I remember then in Sweden as soon as you
left the main highway, all the country roads leading to cottages were
gravel - no wonder Volvo's had to be built so solid then.

I also stayed a week in a fairyland type of cottage in Dalerna. Outside,
older folks were cutting the fields by hand and stacking the hay on big
drying racks made of long poles that were stored in barns. Still very "old
Europe" in some places back then. I seemed to remember a Swedish word for
the little cottages that sounded something like foor-byod. Is that a word?

Hans Pahlen gave me a tour around the Varberg area three or four years ago -
was great to see some of the old places again.  He was a regular LUGger back
then. Do you know him? Anyone heard from him lately?

I had read about the storms in Sweden, but didn't realize how devastating
they were. Our home is surrounded by about 30 redwood trees with some water
runoff that will turn into a white-water creek tonight with the big storm
due in a few hours. So far the only trees not standing were the ones that
had to be removed when some destroyed the driveway and another grew within
an inch of the house.

Too bad you can't plant some redwood trees there - they grow like weeds here
and just as fast! I hope your forest heals soon. Thanks again for the
beautiful and heartfelt "word photo".

(Tree Lugger)

Gary Todoroff 707 445-8425
Datamaster Designs
1824 County Ln
Eureka, CA  95501

-----Original Message-----
Behalf Of Ruben
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2005 1:40 PM
To: Leica Users Group
Subject: [Leica] a sad postcard

This weekend was very sad to me, my wife and to my children. We went to our
little house in the forest in Sweden to check out the damages of the great
winter storm the devastated large areas of southern Sweden in January.

It would be too much to go into details of how my house (a "torp" *) is
placed in the landscape except that it is behind a very small hill before a
rather long hill/slope of about a mile down to a large Lake.

Until the storm a large and very old forest surrounded my property, with
beautiful stone fences covered with moss and lichens and trees so big that
my little family hardly could reach around them.

It was the kind of forest were you could discover new secret places and were
you could sit a summers afternoon in the middle of the forest enjoying the
birds, insects and the wonderful scents of flowers, trees and mushrooms,
while the rays sun would find its way thru the leaves and paint the fairy
like grass and moss with scattered light.

I have known this place as my second home for all most 40 years and both my
girls has spend most of the summers since they were born, the oldest even
took her first steps/walk on the bumpy grounds out side the house.

For the first time in my life I found it hard to use my camera - even though
my house and most of my property had made it thru the storm every were I
looked trees were either turned over with root and every thing or the most
proud and stubborn trees were simply snapped over like matches. It was so
bad we could not find the little road that led up to our house, there are
now landmarks left - no secret and fairytale like places left - no beauty
only a wasteland!

It took much strength to comfort my youngest - she cried - her "smultron
st?lle"** was gone, her little hill further in the forest were she used to
take her dolls and play was gone and even the place were she saw her first
Moose looked like someone had turned everything up side down.

It will take 20 years to get the places to look just nice again and it will
not look like old forest in my lifetime - but I hope my children will be
able to show my their children some of the Sweden I have so dearly - Had it
not been for the many birds, some deers and a couple of other "wild" animals
curiously looking at us from a safe distance I would not have been able to
hold back the tears but their presence gave me comfort that Nature might
sometimes be tough on us but life will go on.

For me the loss of 40-50 larges trees on my property means only that I will
be chopping fire wood for a very long time, but for some of my neighbours -
the nearest is about 5 miles away - it is really bad as the have lost 1000
of sq. metres forest that will get little paid if they can find help to get
it "cleaned" up before next winter.

This is a sad postcard with no pictures attached but with an advice to
embrace and enjoy places dear to your heart while they are still there -
best Ruben

* Torp is a very small house were the poorest people lived - people who did
not have enough land to live from it but worked for the large farmers. In
1965 a 97 year old woman died after living in the Torp all her life. She had
one cow and she did some sewing and stuff for other people - she never
married. Behind the wall paper we found newspaper-wall paper from 1880. In
my area it is the last Torp left  - two rooms and a very large
fireplace/stove - very primitive and very lovely.

** Smultron St?lle = your own place in the forest were the wild small
strawberries grow - a ver Swedish thing

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