LAND 07 I sat on a bench in the immaculately maintained graveyard, the white church in front of me almost completely obscured by the heavy fog. Behind me two men were already at work, repointing the outer stone wall. I finished my painting, packed up, and walked off into the landscape, and for a long while, I could still hear their tools tapping away through the whiteness.
I walked on small roads and tracks between recently ploughed fields. The fog an oppressive blanket removing me from any sense of time and place.
Eventually I reached the edge of Paradisbakkerne – The Paradise Hills – a large area of plantations, mixed woodlands, and heathland that I will be meandering in and out of for the next three weeks. The whiteness hung in the trees and extinguished almost all sound.
I followed a path through the forest and into ‘Gåsemyrfredningen’, a large open heathland and a taste of how much of the island would have looked in the past, when the central part of Bornholm was a common area for grazing and heather collection – before it was closed off and planted with fir plantations. The fog created an ethereal dream-like landscape, with the twisted shapes of juniper trees fading into the mist, and the heavens melting imperceptibly into the still waters of the bog.
I walked onwards and followed a well-worn path back into the forest, past huge boulders, and alongside deep fern-clad dells. The Paradise Hills are scarred by a series of parallel rift valleys cut into the granite bedrock – some wide and rather smooth, others narrow with near vertical sides.
All day I wandered through the fog, past lakes, bogs, and through an ever-changing woodland – often wild and diverse, other times more orderly and homogenous. I arrived in the heathland again – visibility had improved a little by now, and I admired the purple-grey granite against the burgundy of the heath, the deep racing-green of the juniper, and the burnt ochre of the dead grass. I was glad to be away from the monotonous cultivated fieldscapes of the previous weeks.
Eventually I arrived at Midterpilt, and then Østerpilt – small triangular stone navigation markers built on exposed areas and used in days gone past to guide people across the moors, but now rather hidden in the woods. The fine mist left a delicate pattern on my painting. I walked on, through the forest and then back across the fields, and the day was over.
WEATHER REPORT – Thick fog, thinning to a fine mist in the afternoon. Temperature 3 degrees. Wind 4 – 6 m/s from the west. Hours of precipitation: 0 hours. Hours of sunshine: 0 hours.
STOPS with the BIVVY – 0
KILOMETRES WALKED – 14.34 km
DAY LASTED – 9h and 44 m
PEOPLE TALKED TO – 1, (…also said ‘hi’ to a few walkers)
BIRDS SEEN and HEARD – 22 species: two new (coal tit, crossbill, running total = 49 species)
LESSONS LEARNED – how to take apart my stool in the easiest way – a minor, boring detail, but I’ll be doing it hundreds of times through the year…
IN MY HEAD – Mostly I was thinking about the passing of my father-in-law, peacefully on Sunday. A kind, warm, humble, and tolerant family man who will be sorely missed by many. I thought a lot about life and death. I thought about the role of the church in Denmark today – as a site for ritual assembly, rather than for Christian worship.