COPYRIGHT EDITH SPIRA

A LETTER TO A FRIEND

Looking out of window.

Looking out of my window I see the branches of the plum tree, the hedge that surrounds the garden and behind the pinetrees and the long row of popolars, slightly on the side, the modernistic brick building of the sportshall. Once, at a party, talking in the bright summernight, a friend said, “you have a sculpture of Kirkeby at the back of your house.“ But behind all this is the vast sky. It has been mostly grey and heavy as lead since I came back from Vienna. But today it is winter-yellowish. And I enjoy the non-point sky a lot. A sky with a nameless colour.

 

Looking out of the aeroplane

Since we both fly a lot, we experience many different atmospheres while looking down on the earth; „sometimes I feel like leaving the plane to walk on the clouds.“ I can enjoy the beauty of the clear sky, though I would never paint it. But what really never ceases to fascinate me is looking down on the earth, enjoying the patterns and structures, partly man-made, partly natural, seeing how the patterns of fields and villages change according to country and topography. It is like listening to music full of variations and repetions, but never quite the same.

 

Touching

The light in Norway is mostly pure and clear, sometimes it feels cold and merciless. It does not hide anything. Sometimes you can feel as if you were on the moon. Everything so distant. I feel as if there is a large distance between the skin and the air. On the Adriatic, I feel that the air is touching and caressing me. And it often seems that the Italian light harmonizes contrasts. Guess what I prefer?

 

Dønna – the island near the arctic circle.

It is a small island where I lived for three years. Moving from Vienna to a place with only 1500 inhabitants was a very strong experience. When I arrived there on one September morning, the weather changed three times in a single hour. The granite was covered with moss, lichens and other small plants in myriad shades of grey, yellow and blueish green. The shape of the mountains was round, the mountains looked like people. The trees were knaggy, resisting the wind and the storms. There is a Norwegian word which literally means „bitten by the weather“, i.e. „weathered.“ There is no better way of saying it. And everywhere there was sky and water. And the enormous changes in the seasons. The short summer, when it did not get dark, when people visited each other at two o’clock in the night, and people did not lock their doors (I fear that has changed now); and the winter, when you could not see the sun, but had a red sky in the middle of the day, and the theatric Northern Lights. I still carry a picture inside me (I was in a non-photographic period when I lived there, which I now regret): it was towards the end of winter, the light had come back, there was snow and the sea looked nearly black, and everything was covered in some kind of blue, you could smell the sea, the snow... an eternity, somewhere... a feeling that I later experienced in the desert... or canoeing down the Danube.

Or sometimes in the meeting with arts or people, when you only wish that time itself would stop...

 

Being happy

Another Dønna story. Sometime in January I was driving the car to the ferry. Coming to the top of a hill, I suddenly saw the sun, which I had not seen for a long time. I stopped the car and I was crying, moved and happy. My thought was “I will never be unhappy as long as I can see the sun.“ But...

 

Looking out of the window

The sky has just become grey again.

But you made me travel a bit. Anyway, places cannot be described by words, one should be able to send the screams of the seagulls in springtime, the touch of sand in the desert, as fine as flour. And the smells... and walking on different kinds of ground.

And sometimes, of course, it is a very deep strong experience to share one’s experiences of landscapes with someone. In reality.

 

I haven’t written about Austria, the southern and eastern outskirts of Vienna, which are very close close to my heart. I would so much have loved to show you around.

 

But what makes YOU feel well...?

 

Cordiales saludes, Edith