There is almost complete silence in and around the village. An atmosphere of reflection and a place in which there is a lesser sense of social interaction. There are still activities which are performed by individuals within the biophysical landscape, which offers an escape from social interaction on a mass scale.


The Island in the middle of the lake isn’t an island anymore as ice paves the way from shore to shore. Only a brief sign of life from the red house, as smoke rises from its chimney, barely visible on an almost completely white backdrop as the lake spans for miles beyond the island. Only the weather determines how far you can see beyond the island. Remnants of seasons passed litter the forest and communal areas around the village.

On the day of the yearly island party there is a gathering of permanent and temporary community members. A splash of colour in the neutral palette of the winter landscape. Some on ski’s, readying for a short five kilometre cross country ski race, whilst others ready to witness the race, all socialising in the campsite littered with trees and caravans covered in snow.


Team games are created, like tug of war, shooting cans and three person skiing. Food and drinks are provided at the island for the community and the owner of the house on the island explains how the games and teams work for each of the games which happen after the ski race. There is a local team, a rest of Sweden team, and an intercontinental team. A competitive series of games commences in the middle of the lake in this explosion of social interaction cradled by the landscape. Drinks continue for some, but numbers begin to drop as the temperature dwindles nearing the end of the series of games.

'escaping' to nature/the forest can be viewed as a (potentially temporary) flight from a complicated overcrowded urban life to a simpler, more 'environmentally sustainable' way of living. This idea is a strong strand of Scandinavian culture which appeals to incomers like us, our German and our Dutch neighbours. But as well as being closer to nature, people also find themselves in a different social situation/community which can have its own complications and tensions. Often the choices they make about managing the balance between natural living and social acceptance lead to their involvement in community rituals and social gatherings, which might not be part of every member’s permanent routine, like hunting and the island party.


The extreme weather can create a sense of isolation, which leads the community to make an even greater effort to gather. In this case, it may symbolise their determination to resist the long cold season, by 'playing' in it or with it. Raising a defiant toast with friends.

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