Home and Travel

Valley of Fire, my valley of magnificence!

As we were heading to Valley of Fire this weekend (again), I already knew on the way there that I wanted to write a post about this amazing place. It’s honestly like nothing(!) my Northern-European born and bred eyes and soul has ever seen. In comparison to all the glorious views, the wondrous trails between soaring cliffs and the amazing colour-spectacles that the light and shade on the rocks create, even the streets of Venice and Florence fade into an abyss of man-made wonders. Don’t get me wrong, I will always hold London, Paris, Verona, Florence, Venice, Tallinn, Helsinki (I can go on and on but you get the point, right?) very close to my heart but this place is truly breathtaking and something out-worldly in my book of adventures.

Valley of Fire’s bright red Aztec sandstone, creating gorgeous rainbow-like paintings on the rock surface, ancient petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years* are truly a sight you don’t want to miss whenever you get a chance to visit the beautiful Nevada (and have time to explore beyond The Strip).

But as they say – a picture says a thousand words. So please do enjoy and when you ever get a change, go see for yourself. As we Estonians like to put it: “Your own eyes are your own king.”, meaning what’s portrayed to one’s own eyes, covey one’s own truth.

*Source and more information from Parks of Nevada webpage.

Home and Travel, Uncategorized

Winter Wander Land.

There is “nothing” in a winter landscape when it’s not masked and beautified by that frosty layer of snow. Or is there? We keep wishing and chanting for that snowy Christmas without even trying to find any charm in the nakedness of the nature. We rarely get snow here. Don’t get me wrong – you drive for an hour or two and you usually find snow but it’s not about that. It’s about the winter, excluding snow.

It’s bare, it’s raw. Sleeping and vulnerable. So quiet, on standby. Like that pause between inhalation and exhalation, that pause of deep meditation. It’s nature, taking a breath, slowly, regaining its strength to rise again.

I wanted to go out, prove to myself that there is everything in nothingness. I wanted to take that nothingness and turn it into the core of everything, the core of winter.  Forget about snow. It’s pretty, yes, we know. But there’s more to winter than snow. Just look, focus your attention on the emptiness, the decay and you shall find unforeseen beauty.

Like the fallen bundles of Magnolia leaves in the mud. Imagine them on pink.

Or the dried-up beige and brown Hydrangeas on turquoise. 

Last summer’s green turning into shades of tired green, young yellow.

Grayish-blue strands, like bloodvessels gleaming through  pale pink skin.

That odd one out that chose to bloom and whose juices are bitter with effort. 

My one side is brown and dead but the other one is safe, alive, beating.

They still cradle rays of sun from the days of burning hot summer.

They sleep to wake again.

To be the palm-trees under the Italian sun.

To swing lazily in the ocean wind.

To recite the poems of spring and summer. 

To be the hideout for bees and butterflies.

To grow, spread seeds and rest again.

To be the olive branch of life. To be peace and victory. 

Respect winter and what’s laying under the snow. Just because we don’t pay attention to something doesn’t mean it does not exist.

All pictures by Jane Kukk with an iPhone. 

Home and Travel

You look different

It’s spring here, you can spot a splash of yellow here, a patch of blue or pink there and fields of green everywhere. Flowers, bushes with blooms, bees, dragonflies and the air, the sunny warm whiff of air that smells oh so exquisite that after winter, you know, nothing can quite top that smell. And then you may walk on the quiet small streets, with your head down, wrapped in your own deep thought when all of a sudden, there’s this smell – green with a hint of light yellow, daffodils, grass, soil. It’s as if you can sniff the juice flowing through plant stems, life pulsate in those leaves. Then it’s golden, brown and warm. Honey mixed with tree bark, warm asphalt and the romantic ambiance of the tiny stradas and voluptuous gardens with their rusty gates and white pebbles, miniature purple violets and lizards sunbathing on the warm edges of the fences, half-covered in evergreen ivy.

  And I look at all of this with a somewhat different attitude, a more profound awareness and sense of appreciation. Maybe it’s because it’s, well Italy. And we all know or at least have heard that it’s corgeous. But beauty is everywhere, it’s in the eyes of the observer. I love what Grace Coddington has said about traveling or just going to places, moving around- “Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.”

The flora, the fauna, the architecture, the climate, the people, the smells – they are all new, all exiting and exotic. But when I see and smell the daffodils in the gardens and the blooming red tulips, I still remember my childhood home.


Things look different but it’s not a place-specific case. It’s just the fact that moving here has opened my eyes even more so to notice and appreciate things that I might have taken for granted before. Things look different everywhere, every day in every situation. It’s a “stop and smell the roses” moment but it’s more like a sequence of moments, I literally feel like sleeping or sitting idle makes me miss out on all the things I can experience, may it be visual, olfactive or gastronomic. It’s so rich, the world of emotions this cognitive roller coaster triggers! Or maybe it’s just spring, it is magnificent, really. May bees and birds and butterflies be with you!



/all photos by me, snapped and shot with an iPhone.