det visste jag inte

Pine forests and birch forests stand on opposing sides of the road. The birch are thin-trunked and chalk white: their leaves nearing golden, they assume a slender elegance of a storybook quality. The pines are darker. Not towering like the sequoias, they still do their best, casting cool shadows and concealing small red cottages and secret lakes. The forest floor is a patchwork blanket of white and green: The vitsippor have blommed at last. At the forest’s edge the landscape opens up into sweeping agricultural land, painted in a shade of green that doesn’t exist in parched California, punctuated by small villages with more Icelandic horses than people. As we approach the shores of expansive Vombsjön, the wealth of birdsong all around us becomes even more intense.

I never knew that the sun could be so mild, or that the light could look this way. I have said many times that the light, the air in here is just different. It is not as heavy. You don’t feel like you have to cut your way through it. It is just bit cooler, softer, both in temperature and in hue. It is harder to paint colors or in words, but it is easier to breathe.

I don’t care what the rest of Sweden says. Skåne is beautiful.

Rolling down the backside of a gentle hill I think to myself: This is why I ride.

And then I think again: No, this is why I live.

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