What change is wrought by the seasons! We Californians don’t experience this. Never before have I ever noticed change of season while traveling. Of course, I’ve never traveled for two month, either. This naive Californian is amazed.
First of all, the temperature has plummeted by about 20 degrees, to a bracing high of 48 degrees. The grass was frosted in the morning. Yipes! It’s suddenly winter to us, though Danes comment on how nice the weather is this week, since there is no rain and lots of sunshine.
During the summer months, the resort town of Blockhus is lively with vacationers. The sand is dotted with tiny, white beach huts. Cafes, ice cream stores and shops are bustling.
On October 1st, life in Blokhus suddenly changed. All the little huts were rolled off the beach and tucked away for winter. Only a few shops and restaurants are open now; most are locked up tight. Most of the summer homes are now shuttered in preparation for winter storms. Only a few lights twinkle among the grassy dunes at night.
People who flocked here for the summer have migrated back to their winter homes. The summer house is a way of life here in Denmark. The season even triggers a change in residence. Storekeepers suddenly have no store to keep. Even the baker stops making my beloved spelt bread when the summer season ends. People’s lives change with the seasons.
The whole landscape even changes with the seasons. Winter storms wreck drastic change upon the land. Here in northern Jutland, the shore piles high with dunes. Martin, Lizzy, Flemming and I climbed to the top of one of these. It was like being in a mountainous desert wilderness of windblown sand. The giant dune moves five to ten meters eastward every year, pushed by the fierce and persistent force of winter winds. It has completely buried an entire farm. Within years, it will devour the forest in its path. In a decade, it will reach the sea on other side of the country, and form a huge white cliff of sand.
Yesterday, we visited a lighthouse which will fall into the sea within a few years. The dramatically high dune is being washed away by waves and wind. Already, the light keeper’s house and surrounding buildings have been buried in sand. The walls have been pushed down by the force of the moving sand. The dune will engulf the lighthouse: In five to seven years, the dune will be invisible. Storms come in the winter, and by spring the terrain is altered. What you could once walk on, is no longer there. What you could see before, becomes invisible. Change. Unstoppable. Relentless.