Ghostly or not?





A short story from the icy North to the Dixie South, ghastly gouls and home sweet home.



Photography, and web adaptation by Michael A Koontz 2015, a Norse View Imaging and Publishing



Music of the day I Thought I knew it all - by Megadeth

To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration








Chapters and pages, library and language menu to the left of the screen














The sunlight dripped over the house like golden paint over an art jar, and the freckling shadows here and there only intensified the rigor of the bath of light. The Butterworth and Larkin houses flanking were entrenched behind great stodgy trees; only the Happer house took the full sun, and all day long faced the dusty road-street with a tolerant kindly patience. This was the city of Tarleton in southernmost Georgia, September afternoon. Up in her bedroom window Sally Carrol Happer rested her nineteen-year-old chin on a fifty-two-year-old sill and watched Clark Darrow’s ancient Ford turn the corner. The car was hot — being partly metallic it retained all the heat it absorbed or evolved — and Clark Darrow sitting bolt upright at the wheel wore a pained, strained expression as though he considered himself a spare part, and rather likely to break. He laboriously crossed two dust ruts, the wheels squeaking indignantly at the encounter, and then with a terrifying expression he gave the steering-gear a final wrench and deposited self and car approximately in front of the Happer steps.

There was a heaving sound, a death-rattle, followed by a short silence; and then the air was rent by a startling whistle.










There we will go and swim



[in the dripping sunlight by the pool.]





Sally Carrol gazed down sleepily. She started to yawn, but finding this quite impossible unless she raised her chin from the window-sill, changed her mind and continued silently to regard the car, whose owner sat brilliantly if perfunctorily at attention as he waited for an answer to his signal. After a moment the whistle once more split the dusty air.
“Good mawnin’.”
With difficulty Clark twisted his tall body round and bent a distorted glance on the window.
“Tain’t mawnin’, Sally Carrol.”
“Isn’t it, sure enough?”
“What you doin’?”
“Eatin’ ‘n apple.”
“Come on go swimmin’— want to?”
“Reckon so.”
“How ‘bout hurryin’ up?”
“Sure enough.”


Sally Carrol sighed voluminously and raised herself with profound inertia from the floor where she had been occupied in alternately destroyed parts of a green apple and painting paper dolls for her younger sister. She approached a mirror, regarded her expression with a pleased and pleasant languor, dabbed two spots of rouge on her lips and a grain of powder on her nose, and covered her bobbed corn-colored hair with a rose-littered sunbonnet. Then she kicked over the painting water, said, “Oh, damn!”— but let it lay — and left the room.
“How you, Clark?” she inquired a minute later as she slipped nimbly over the side of the car.
“Mighty fine, Sally Carrol.”
“Where we go swimmin’?”

“Out to Walley’s Pool. Told Marylyn we’d call by an’ get her an’ Joe Ewing.”
















Clark was dark and lean, and when on foot was rather inclined to stoop. His eyes were ominous and his expression somewhat petulant except when startlingly illuminated by one of his frequent smiles.
Clark had “a income”— just enough to keep himself in ease and his car in gasolene — and he had spent the two years since he graduated from Georgia Tech in dozing round the lazy streets of his home town, discussing how he could best invest his capital for an immediate fortune.


Hanging round he found not at all difficult; a crowd of little girls had grown up beautifully, the amazing Sally Carrol foremost among them; and they enjoyed being swum with and danced with and made love to in the flower-filled summery evenings — and they all liked Clark immensely. When feminine company palled there were half a dozen other youths who were always just about to do something, and meanwhile were quite willing to join him in a few holes of golf, or a game of billiards, or the consumption of a quart of “hard yella licker.” Every once in a while one of these contemporaries made a farewell round of calls before going up to New York or Philadelphia or Pittsburgh to go into business, but mostly they just stayed round in this languid paradise of dreamy skies and firefly evenings and noisy nigger street fairs — and especially of gracious, soft-voiced girls, who were brought up on memories instead of money.








The Ford having been excited into a sort of restless resentful life Clark and Sally Carrol rolled and rattled down Valley Avenue into Jefferson Street, where the dust road became a pavement; along opiate Millicent Place, where there were half a dozen prosperous, substantial mansions; and on into the down-town section. Driving was perilous here, for it was shopping time; the population idled casually across the streets and a drove of low-moaning oxen were being urged along in front of a placid street-car; even the shops seemed only yawning their doors and blinking their windows in the sunshine before retiring into a state of utter and finite coma.

“Sally Carrol,” said Clark suddenly, “it a fact that you’re engaged?”
She looked at him quickly.
“Where’d you hear that?”
“Sure enough, you engaged?”
“‘At’s a nice question!”
“Girl told me you were engaged to a Yankee you met up in Asheville last summer.”
Sally Carrol sighed.

“Never saw such an old town for rumors.”
“Don’t marry a Yankee, Sally Carrol. We need you round here.”
Sally Carrol was silent a moment.
“Clark,” she demanded suddenly, “who on earth shall I marry?”
“I offer my services.”

“Honey, you couldn’t support a wife,” she answered cheerfully. “Anyway, I know you too well to fall in love with you.”














“‘At doesn’t mean you ought to marry a Yankee,” he persisted.
“S’pose I love him?”
He shook his head.
“You couldn’t. He’d be a lot different from us, every way.”

He broke off as he halted the car in front of a rambling, dilapidated house. Marylyn Wade and Joe Ewing appeared in the doorway.
“‘Lo Sally Carrol.”
“Hi!”
“How you-all?”
“Sally Carrol,” demanded Marylyn as they started of again, “you engaged?”
“Lawdy, where’d all this start? Can’t I look at a man ‘thout everybody in town engagin’ me to him?”
Clark stared straight in front of him at a bolt on the clattering wind-shield.
“Sally Carrol,” he said with a curious intensity, “don’t you ‘like us?”
“What?”
“Us down here?”
“Why, Clark, you know I do. I adore all you boys.”
“Then why you gettin’ engaged to a Yankee?.”

“Clark, I don’t know. I’m not sure what I’ll do, but — well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.”








a Question of Marriage



[but is it not truly, a Question of living.]





“What you mean?”
“Oh, Clark, I love you, and I love Joe here and Ben Arrot, and you-all, but you’ll — you’ll ——”
“We’ll all be failures?”
“Yes. I don’t mean only money failures, but just sort of — of ineffectual and sad, and — oh, how can I tell you?”
“You mean because we stay here in Tarleton?”
“Yes, Clark; and because you like it and never want to change things or think or go ahead.”
He nodded and she reached over and pressed his hand.

“Clark,” she said softly, “I wouldn’t change you for the world. You’re sweet the way you are. The things that’ll make you fail I’ll love always — the living in the past, the lazy days and nights you have, and all your carelessness and generosity.”
“But you’re goin’ away?”
“Yes — because I couldn’t ever marry you. You’ve a place in my heart no one else ever could have, but tied down here I’d get restless. I’d feel I was — wastin’ myself. There’s two sides to me, you see. There’s the sleepy old side you love an’ there’s a sort of energy — the feeling that makes me do wild things. That’s the part of me that may be useful somewhere, that’ll last when I’m not beautiful any more.”
She broke of with characteristic suddenness and sighed, “Oh, sweet cooky!” as her mood changed.
Half closing her eyes and tipping back her head till it rested on the seat-back she let the savory breeze fan her eyes and ripple the fluffy curls of her bobbed hair. They were in the country now, hurrying between tangled growths of bright-green coppice and grass and tall trees that sent sprays of foliage to hang a cool welcome over the road. Here and there they passed a battered negro cabin, its oldest white-haired inhabitant smoking a corncob pipe beside the door, and half a dozen scantily clothed pickaninnies parading tattered dolls on the wild-grown grass in front. Farther out were lazy cotton-fields where even the workers seemed intangible shadows lent by the sun to the earth, not for toil, but to while away some age-old tradition in the golden September fields.

And round the drowsy picturesqueness, over the trees and shacks and muddy rivers, flowed the heat, never hostile, only comforting, like a great warm nourishing bosom for the infant earth.


“Sally Carrol, we’re here!”
“Poor chile’s soun’ asleep.”
“Honey, you dead at last outa sheer laziness?”
“Water, Sally Carrol! Cool water waitin’ for you!”
Her eyes opened sleepily.

“Hi!” she murmured, smiling.




















Under

the Blanket of night and dream is where tomorrows amber day field is born









In November Harry Bellamy, tall, broad, and brisk, came down from his Northern city to spend four days. His intention was to settle a matter that had been hanging fire since he and Sally Carrol had met in Asheville, North Carolina, in midsummer. The settlement took only a quiet afternoon and an evening in front of a glowing open fire, for Harry Bellamy had everything she wanted; and, beside, she loved him — loved him with that side of her she kept especially for loving. Sally Carrol had several rather clearly defined sides.
On his last afternoon they walked, and she found their steps tending half-unconsciously toward one of her favorite haunts, the cemetery. When it came in sight, gray-white and golden-green under the cheerful late sun, she paused, irresolute, by the iron gate.
“Are you mournful by nature, Harry?” she asked with a faint smile.
“Mournful?” Not I.”
“Then let’s go in here. It depresses some folks, but I like it.”

They passed through the gateway and followed a path that led through a wavy valley of graves — dusty-gray and mouldy for the fifties; quaintly carved with flowers and jars for the seventies; ornate and hideous for the nineties, with fat marble cherubs lying in sodden sleep on stone pillows, and great impossible growths of nameless granite flowers.
Occasionally they saw a kneeling figure with tributary flowers, but over most of the graves lay silence and withered leaves with only the fragrance that their own shadowy memories could waken in living minds.
They reached the top of a hill where they were fronted by a tall, round head-stone, freckled with dark spots of damp and half grown over with vines.








“Margery Lee,” she read; “1844-1873. Wasn’t she nice? She died when she was twenty-nine. Dear Margery Lee,” she added softly. “Can’t you see her, Harry?”

The Confederate dead

“Yes, Sally Carrol.”
He felt a little hand insert itself into his.
“She was dark, I think; and she always wore her hair with a ribbon in it, and gorgeous hoop-skirts of Alice blue and old rose.”
“Yes.”
“Oh, she was sweet, Harry! And she was the sort of girl born to stand on a wide, pillared porch and welcome folks in. I think perhaps a lot of men went away to war meanin’ to come back to her; but maybe none of ’em ever did.”
He stooped down close to the stone, hunting for any record of marriage.
“There’s nothing here to show.”
“Of course not. How could there be anything there better than just ‘Margery Lee,’ and that eloquent date?”
She drew close to him and an unexpected lump came into his throat as her yellow hair brushed his cheek.
“You see how she was, don’t you Harry?”
“I see,” he agreed gently. “I see through your precious eyes. You’re beautiful now, so I know she must have been.”
Silent and close they stood, and he could feel her shoulders trembling a little. An ambling breeze swept up the hill and stirred the brim of her floppidy hat.
“Let’s go down there!”

She was pointing to a flat stretch on the other side of the hill where along the green turf were a thousand grayish-white crosses stretching in endless, ordered rows like the stacked arms of a battalion.
“Those are the Confederate dead,” said Sally Carrol simply.




















They walked along and read the inscriptions, always only a name and a date, sometimes quite indecipherable.
“The last row is the saddest — see, ‘way over there. Every cross has just a date on it and the word ‘Unknown.’”
She looked at him and her eyes brimmed with tears.
“I can’t tell you how real it is to me, darling — if you don’t know.”
“How you feel about it is beautiful to me.”
“No, no, it’s not me, it’s them — that old time that I’ve tried to have live in me. These were just men, unimportant evidently or they wouldn’t have been ‘unknown’; but they died for the most beautiful thing in the world — the dead South. You see,” she continued, her voice still husky, her eyes glistening with tears, “people have these dreams they fasten onto things, and I’ve always grown up with that dream. It was so easy because it was all dead and there weren’t any disillusions comin’ to me. I’ve tried in a way to live up to those past standards of noblesse oblige — there’s just the last remnants of it, you know, like the roses of an old garden dying all round us — streaks of strange courtliness and chivalry in some of these boys an’ stories I used to hear from a Confederate soldier who lived next door, and a few old darkies. Oh, Harry, there was something, there was something! I couldn’t ever make you understand but it was there.”

“I understand,” he assured her again quietly.








Sally Carol smiled and dried her eyes on the tip of a handkerchief protruding from his breast pocket.
“You don’t feel depressed, do you, lover? Even when I cry I’m happy here, and I get a sort of strength from it.”
Hand in hand they turned and walked slowly away. Finding soft grass she drew him down to a seat beside her with their backs against the remnants of a low broken wall.
“Wish those three old women would clear out,” he complained. “I want to kiss you, Sally Carrol.”
“Me, too.”
They waited impatiently for the three bent figures to move off, and then she kissed him until the sky seemed to fade out and all her smiles and tears to vanish in an ecstasy of eternal seconds.

Afterward they walked slowly back together, while on the corners twilight played at somnolent black-and-white checkers with the end of day.
“You’ll be up about mid-January,” he said, “and you’ve got to stay a month at least. It’ll be slick. There’s a winter carnival on, and if you’ve never really seen snow it’ll be like fairy-land to you. There’ll be skating and skiing and tobogganing and sleigh-riding, and all sorts of torchlight parades on snow-shoes. They haven’t had one for years, so they’re gong to make it a knock-out.”
“Will I be cold, Harry?” she asked suddenly.
“You certainly won’t. You may freeze your nose, but you won’t be shivery cold. It’s hard and dry, you know.”
“I guess I’m a summer child. I don’t like any cold I’ve ever seen.”
She broke off and they were both silent for a minute.
“Sally Carol,” he said very slowly, “what do you say to — March?”
“I say I love you.”
“March?”

“March, Harry.”




























All night in the Pullman it was very cold. She rang for the porter to ask for another blanket, and when he couldn’t give her one she tried vainly, by squeezing down into the bottom of her berth and doubling back the bedclothes, to snatch a few hours’ sleep. She wanted to look her best in the morning.

She rose at six and sliding uncomfortably into her clothes stumbled up to the diner for a cup of coffee. The snow had filtered into the vestibules and covered the door with a slippery coating. It was intriguing this cold, it crept in everywhere. Her breath was quite visible and she blew into the air with a naïve enjoyment. Seated in the diner she stared out the window at white hills and valleys and scattered pines whose every branch was a green platter for a cold feast of snow. Sometimes a solitary farmhouse would fly by, ugly and bleak and lone on the white waste; and with each one she had an instant of chill compassion for the souls shut in there waiting for spring.

As she left the diner and swayed back into the Pullman she experienced a surging rush of energy and wondered if she was feeling the bracing air of which Harry had spoken. This was the North, the North — her land now!








her New land, up North



[alone in the Library .]





“Then blow, ye winds, heighho!
A-roving I will go,”
she chanted exultantly to herself.
“What’s ‘at?” inquired the porter politely.
“I said: ‘Brush me off.’”

The long wires of the telegraph poles doubled, two tracks ran up beside the train — three — four; came a succession of white-roofed houses, a glimpse of a trolley-car with frosted windows, streets — more streets — the city.
She stood for a dazed moment in the frosty station before she saw three fur-bundled figures descending upon her.
“There she is!”
“Oh, Sally Carrol!”
Sally Carrol dropped her bag.
“Hi!”

A faintly familiar icy-cold face kissed her, and then she was in a group of faces all apparently emitting great clouds of heavy smoke; she was shaking hands. There were Gordon, a short, eager man of thirty who looked like an amateur knocked-about model for Harry, and his wife, Myra, a listless lady with flaxen hair under a fur automobile cap. Almost immediately Sally Carrol thought of her as vaguely Scandinavian. A cheerful chauffeur adopted her bag, and amid ricochets of half-phrases, exclamations and perfunctory listless “my dears” from Myra, they swept each other from the station.
Then they were in a sedan bound through a crooked succession of snowy streets where dozens of little boys were hitching sleds behind grocery wagons and automobiles.
“Oh,” cried Sally Carrol, “I want to do that! Can we Harry?”
“That’s for kids. But we might ——”
“It looks like such a circus!” she said regretfully.


Home was a rambling frame house set on a white lap of snow, and there she met a big, gray-haired man of whom she approved, and a lady who was like an egg, and who kissed her — these were Harry’s parents. There was a breathless indescribable hour crammed full of self-sentences, hot water, bacon and eggs and confusion; and after that she was alone with Harry in the library, asking him if she dared smoke.
















It was a large room with a Madonna over the fireplace and rows upon rows of books in covers of light gold and dark gold and shiny red. All the chairs had little lace squares where one’s head should rest, the couch was just comfortable, the books looked as if they had been read — some — and Sally Carrol had an instantaneous vision of the battered old library at home, with her father’s huge medical books, and the oil-paintings of her three great-uncles, and the old couch that had been mended up for forty-five years and was still luxurious to dream in. This room struck her as being neither attractive nor particularly otherwise. It was simply a room with a lot of fairly expensive things in it that all looked about fifteen years old.
“What do you think of it up here?” demanded Harry eagerly. “Does it surprise you? Is it what you expected I mean?”
“You are, Harry,” she said quietly, and reached out her arms to him.
But after a brief kiss he seemed to extort enthusiasm from her.
“The town, I mean. Do you like it? Can you feel the pep in the air?”
“Oh, Harry,” she laughed, “you’ll have to give me time. You can’t just fling questions at me.”
She puffed at her cigarette with a sigh of contentment.
“One thing I want to ask you,” he began rather apologetically; “you Southerners put quite an emphasis on family, and all that — not that it isn’t quite all right, but you’ll find it a little different here. I mean — you’ll notice a lot of things that’ll seem to you sort of vulgar display at first, Sally Carrol; but just remember that this is a three-generation town. Everybody has a father, and about half of us have grandfathers. Back of that we don’t go.”

“Of course,” she murmured.








“Our grandfathers, you see, founded the place, and a lot of them had to take some pretty queer jobs while they were doing the founding. For instance there’s one woman who at present is about the social model for the town; well, her father was the first public ash man — things like that.”

“Why,” said Sally Carol, puzzled, “did you s’pose I was goin’ to make remarks about people?”

“Not at all,” interrupted Harry, “and I’m not apologizing for any one either. It’s just that — well, a Southern girl came up here last summer and said some unfortunate things, and — oh, I just thought I’d tell you.”
Sally Carrol felt suddenly indignant — as though she had been unjustly spanked — but Harry evidently considered the subject closed, for he went on with a great surge of enthusiasm.
“It’s carnival time, you know. First in ten years. And there’s an ice palace they’re building new that’s the first they’ve had since eighty-five. Built out of blocks of the clearest ice they could find — on a tremendous scale.”
She rose and walking to the window pushed aside the heavy Turkish portières and looked out.
“Oh!” she cried suddenly. “There’s two little boys makin’ a snow man! Harry, do you reckon I can go out an’ help ’em?”
“You dream! Come here and kiss me.”

She left the window rather reluctantly.

“I don’t guess this is a very kissable climate, is it? I mean, it makes you so you don’t want to sit round, doesn’t it?”
“We’re not going to. I’ve got a vacation for the first week you’re here, and there’s a dinner-dance to-night.”
“Oh, Harry,” she confessed, subsiding in a heap, half in his lap, half in the pillows, “I sure do feel confused. I haven’t got an idea whether I’ll like it or not, an’ I don’t know what people expect, or anythin’. You’ll have to tell me, honey.”
“I’ll tell you,” he said softly, “if you’ll just tell me you’re glad to be here.”






















“Glad — just awful glad!” she whispered, insinuating herself into his arms in her own peculiar way. “Where you are is home for me, Harry.”
And as she said this she had the feeling for almost the first time in her life that she was acting a part.
That night, amid the gleaming candles of a dinner-party, where the men seemed to do most of the talking while the girls sat in a haughty and expensive aloofness, even Harry’s presence on her left failed to make her feel at home.
“They’re a good-looking crowd, don’t you think?” he demanded. “Just look round. There’s Spud Hubbard, tackle at Princeton last year, and Junie Morton — he and the red-haired fellow next to him were both Yale hockey captains; Junie was in my class. Why, the best athletes in the world come from these States round here. This is a man’s country, I tell you. Look at John J. Fishburn!”
“Who’s he?” asked Sally Carrol innocently.
“Don’t you know?”
“I’ve heard the name.”
“Greatest wheat man in the Northwest, and one of the greatest financiers in the country.”

She turned suddenly to a voice on her right.
“I guess they forget to introduce us. My name’s Roger Patton.”
“My name is Sally Carrol Happer,” she said graciously.
“Yes, I know. Harry told me you were coming.”
“You a relative?”

“No, I’m a professor.”








“Oh,” she laughed.

“At the university. You’re from the South, aren’t you?”
“Yes; Tarleton, Georgia.”

She liked him immediately — a reddish-brown mustache under watery blue eyes that had something in them that these other eyes lacked, some quality of appreciation. They exchanged stray sentences through dinner, and she made up her mind to see him again.

After coffee she was introduced to numerous good-looking young men who danced with conscious precision and seemed to take it for granted that she wanted to talk about nothing except Harry.

“Heavens,” she thought, “They talk as if my being engaged made me older than they are — as if I’d tell their mothers on them!”
In the South an engaged girl, even a young married woman, expected the same amount of half-affectionate badinage and flattery that would be accorded a débutante, but here all that seemed banned. One young man after getting well started on the subject of Sally Carrol’s eyes and, how they had allured him ever since she entered the room, went into a violent convulsion when he found she was visiting the Bellamys — was Harry’s fiancée. He seemed to feel as though he had made some risqué and inexcusable blunder, became immediately formal and left her at the first opportunity.
She was rather glad when Roger Patton cut in on her and suggested that they sit out a while.
“Well,” he inquired, blinking cheerily, “how’s Carmen from the South?”
“Mighty fine. How’s — how’s Dangerous Dan McGrew? Sorry, but he’s the only Northerner I know much about.”
He seemed to enjoy that.
















“Of course,” he confessed, “as a professor of literature I’m not supposed to have read Dangerous Dan McGrew.”
“Are you a native?”
“No, I’m a Philadelphian. Imported from Harvard to teach French. But I’ve been here ten years.”
“Nine years, three hundred an’ sixty-four days longer than me.”
“Like it here?”
“Uh-huh. Sure do!”
“Really?”
“Well, why not? Don’t I look as if I were havin’ a good time?”
“I saw you look out the window a minute ago — and shiver.”
“Just my imagination,” laughed Sally Carroll “I’m used to havin’ everythin’ quiet outside an’ sometimes I look out an’ see a flurry of snow an’ it’s just as if somethin’ dead was movin’”
He nodded appreciatively.
“Ever been North before?”
“Spent two Julys in Asheville, North Carolina.”
“Nice-looking crowd aren’t they?” suggested Patton, indicating the swirling floor.
Sally Carrol started. This had been Harry’s remark.
“Sure are! They’re — canine.”
“What?”
She flushed.








“I’m sorry; that sounded worse than I meant it. You see I always think of people as feline or canine, irrespective of sex.”
“Which are you?”
“I’m feline. So are you. So are most Southern men an’ most of these girls here.”
“What’s Harry?”
“Harry’s canine distinctly. All the men I’ve to-night seem to be canine.”
“What does canine imply? A certain conscious masculinity as opposed to subtlety?”
“Reckon so. I never analyzed it — only I just look at people an’ say ‘canine’ or ‘feline’ right off. It’s right absurd I guess.”
“Not at all. I’m interested. I used to have a theory about these people. I think they’re freezing up.”
“What?”
“Well, they’re growing’ like Swedes — Ibsenesque, you know. Very gradually getting gloomy and melancholy. It’s these long winters. Ever read Ibsen?”

She shook her head.

“Well, you find in his characters a certain brooding rigidity. They’re righteous, narrow, and cheerless, without infinite possibilities for great sorrow or joy.”
“Without smiles or tears?”
“Exactly. That’s my theory. You see there are thousands of Swedes up here. They come, I imagine, because the climate is very much like their own, and there’s been a gradual mingling. There’re probably not half a dozen here to-night, but — we’ve had four Swedish governors. Am I boring you?”
“I’m mighty interested.”
“Your future sister-in-law is half Swedish. Personally I like her, but my theory is that Swedes react rather badly on us as a whole. Scandinavians, you know, have the largest suicide rate in the world.”
“Why do you live here if it’s so depressing?”
“Oh, it doesn’t get me. I’m pretty well cloistered, and I suppose books mean more than people to me anyway.”
“But writers all speak about the South being tragic. You know — Spanish señoritas, black hair and daggers an’ haunting music.”

He shook his head.

“No, the Northern races are the tragic races — they don’t indulge in the cheering luxury of tears.”
Sally Carrol thought of her graveyard. She supposed that that was vaguely what she had meant when she said it didn’t depress her.
“The Italians are about the gayest people in the world — but it’s a dull subject,” he broke off. “Anyway, I want to tell you you’re marrying a pretty fine man.”
Sally Carrol was moved by an impulse of confidence.
“I know. I’m the sort of person who wants to be taken care of after a certain point, and I feel sure I will be.”

“Shall we dance? You know,” he continued as they rose, “it’s encouraging to find a girl who knows what she’s marrying for. Nine-tenths of them think of it as a sort of walking into a moving-picture sunset.”
She laughed and liked him immensely.
Two hours later on the way home she nestled near Harry in the back seat.
“Oh, Harry,” she whispered “it’s so co-old!”
“But it’s warm in here, daring girl.”
“But outside it’s cold; and oh, that howling wind!”
She buried her face deep in his fur coat and trembled involuntarily as his cold lips kissed the tip of her ear.


























The first week of her visit passed in a whirl. She had her promised toboggan-ride at the back of an automobile through a chill January twilight. Swathed in furs she put in a morning tobogganing on the country-club hill; even tried skiing, to sail through the air for a glorious moment and then land in a tangled laughing bundle on a soft snow-drift. She liked all the winter sports, except an afternoon spent snow-shoeing over a glaring plain under pale yellow sunshine, but she soon realized that these things were for children — that she was being humored and that the enjoyment round her was only a reflection of her own.

At first the Bellamy family puzzled her. The men were reliable and she liked them; to Mr. Bellamy especially, with his iron-gray hair and energetic dignity, she took an immediate fancy, once she found that he was born in Kentucky; this made of him a link between the old life and the new. But toward the women she felt a definite hostility. Myra, her future sister-in-law, seemed the essence of spiritless conversationality. Her conversation was so utterly devoid of personality that Sally Carrol, who came from a country where a certain amount of charm and assurance could be taken for granted in the women, was inclined to despise her.

“If those women aren’t beautiful,” she thought, “they’re nothing. They just fade out when you look at them. They’re glorified domestics. Men are the centre of every mixed group.”








Lastly there was Mrs. Bellamy, whom Sally Carrol detested. The first day’s impression of an egg had been confirmed — an egg with a cracked, veiny voice and such an ungracious dumpiness of carriage that Sally Carrol felt that if she once fell she would surely scramble. In addition, Mrs. Bellamy seemed to typify the town in being innately hostile to strangers. She called Sally Carrol “Sally,” and could not be persuaded that the double name was anything more than a tedious ridiculous nickname. To Sally Carrol this shortening of her name was presenting her to the public half clothed. She loved “Sally Carrol”; she loathed “Sally.” She knew also that Harry’s mother disapproved of her bobbed hair; and she had never dared smoke down-stairs after that first day when Mrs. Bellamy had come into the library sniffing violently.

Of all the men she met she preferred Roger Patton, who was a frequent visitor at the house. He never again alluded to the Ibsenesque tendency of the populace, but when he came in one day and found her curled upon the sofa bent over “Peer Gynt” he laughed and told her to forget what he’d said — that it was all rot.
They had been walking homeward between mounds of high-piled snow and under a sun which Sally Carrol scarcely recognized. They passed a little girl done up in gray wool until she resembled a small Teddy bear, and Sally Carrol could not resist a gasp of maternal appreciation.
“Look! Harry!”
“What?”
“That little girl — did you see her face?”
“Yes, why?”
“It was red as a little strawberry. Oh, she was cute!”

“Why, your own face is almost as red as that already! Everybody’s healthy here. We’re out in the cold as soon as we’re old enough to walk. Wonderful climate!”





















She looked at him and had to agree. He was mighty healthy-looking; so was his brother. And she had noticed the new red in her own cheeks that very morning.
Suddenly their glances were caught and held, and they stared for a moment at the street-corner ahead of them. A man was standing there, his knees bent, his eyes gazing upward with a tense expression as though he were about to make a leap toward the chilly sky. And then they both exploded into a shout of laughter, for coming closer they discovered it had been a ludicrous momentary illusion produced by the extreme bagginess of the man’s trousers.
“Reckon that’s one on us,” she laughed.
“He must be Southerner, judging by those trousers,” suggested Harry mischievously.
“Why, Harry!”
Her surprised look must have irritated him.

“Those damn Southerners!”
Sally Carrol’s eyes flashed.
“Don’t call ’em that.”

“I’m sorry, dear,” said Harry, malignantly apologetic, “but you know what I think of them. They’re sort of — sort of degenerates — not at all like the old Southerners. They’ve lived so long down there with all the colored people that they’ve gotten lazy and shiftless.”








degenerate Southerners



[lazy and slow is what they've become.]





“Hush your mouth, Harry!” she cried angrily. “They’re not! They may be lazy — anybody would be in that climate — but they’re my best friends, an’ I don’t want to hear ’em criticised in any such sweepin’ way. Some of ’em are the finest men in the world.”
“Oh, I know. They’re all right when they come North to college, but of all the hangdog, ill-dressed, slovenly lot I ever saw, a bunch of small-town Southerners are the worst!”

Sally Carrol was clinching her gloved hands and biting her lip furiously.

“Why,” continued Harry, if there was one in my class at New Haven, and we all thought that at last we’d found the true type of Southern aristocrat, but it turned out that he wasn’t an aristocrat at all — just the son of a Northern carpetbagger, who owned about all the cotton round Mobile.”
“A Southerner wouldn’t talk the way you’re talking now,” she said evenly.
“They haven’t the energy!”
“Or the somethin’ else.”
“I’m sorry Sally Carrol, but I’ve heard you say yourself that you’d never marry ——”
“That’s quite different. I told you I wouldn’t want to tie my life to any of the boys that are round Tarleton now, but I never made any sweepin’ generalities.”















They walked along in silence.
“I probably spread it on a bit thick Sally Carrol. I’m sorry.”
She nodded but made no answer. Five minutes later as they stood in the hallway she suddenly threw her arms round him.
“Oh, Harry,” she cried, her eyes brimming with tears; “let’s get married next week. I’m afraid of having fusses like that. I’m afraid, Harry. It wouldn’t be that way if we were married.”
But Harry, being in the wrong, was still irritated.
“That’d be idiotic. We decided on March.”
The tears in Sally Carrol’s eyes faded; her expression hardened slightly.
“Very well — I suppose I shouldn’t have said that.”

Harry melted.

“Dear little nut!” he cried. “Come and kiss me and let’s forget.” That very night at the end of a vaudeville performance the orchestra played “Dixie” and Sally Carrol felt something stronger and more enduring than her tears and smiles of the day brim up inside her. She leaned forward gripping the arms of her chair until her face grew crimson.
“Sort of get you dear?” whispered Harry.
But she did not hear him. To the limited throb of the violins and the inspiring beat of the kettle-drums her own old ghosts were marching by and on into the darkness, and as fifes whistled and sighed in the low encore they seemed so nearly out of sight that she could have waved good-by.












"
Away, Away,
Away down South in Dixie!
Away, away,
Away down South in Dixie!
"






























It was a particularly cold night.
A sudden thaw had nearly cleared the streets the day before, but now they were traversed again with a powdery wraith of loose snow that travelled in wavy lines before the feet of the wind, and filled the lower air with a fine-particled mist. There was no sky — only a dark, ominous tent that draped in the tops of the streets and was in reality a vast approaching army of snowflakes — while over it all, chilling away the comfort from the brown-and-green glow of lighted windows and muffling the steady trot of the horse pulling their sleigh, interminably washed the north wind. It was a dismal town after all, she though, dismal.
Sometimes at night it had seemed to her as though no one lived here — they had all gone long ago — leaving lighted houses to be covered in time by tombing heaps of sleet. Oh, if there should be snow on her grave! To be beneath great piles of it all winter long, where even her headstone would be a light shadow against light shadows. Her grave — a grave that should be flower-strewn and washed with sun and rain.
She thought again of those isolated country houses that her train had passed, and of the life there the long winter through — the ceaseless glare through the windows, the crust forming on the soft drifts of snow, finally the slow cheerless melting and the harsh spring of which Roger Patton had told her. Her spring — to lose it forever — with its lilacs and the lazy sweetness it stirred in her heart. She was laying away that spring — afterward she would lay away that sweetness.








With a gradual insistence the storm broke. Sally Carrol felt a film of flakes melt quickly on her eyelashes, and Harry reached over a furry arm and drew down her complicated flannel cap. Then the small flakes came in skirmish-line, and the horse bent his neck patiently as a transparency of white appeared momentarily on his coat.
“Oh, he’s cold, Harry,” she said quickly.
“Who? The horse? Oh, no, he isn’t. He likes it!”
After another ten minutes they turned a corner and came in sight of their destination. On a tall hill outlined in vivid glaring green against the wintry sky stood the ice palace. It was three stories in the air, with battlements and embrasures and narrow icicled windows, and the innumerable electric lights inside made a gorgeous transparency of the great central hall. Sally Carrol clutched Harry’s hand under the fur robe.

“It’s beautiful!” he cried excitedly. “My golly, it’s beautiful, isn’t it! They haven’t had one here since eighty-five!”
Somehow the notion of there not having been one since eighty-five oppressed her. Ice was a ghost, and this mansion of it was surely peopled by those shades of the eighties, with pale faces and blurred snow-filled hair.
“Come on, dear,” said Harry.
She followed him out of the sleigh and waited while he hitched the horse. A party of four — Gordon, Myra, Roger Patton, and another girl — drew up beside them with a mighty jingle of bells. There were quite a crowd already, bundled in fur or sheepskin, shouting and calling to each other as they moved through the snow, which was now so thick that people could scarcely be distinguished a few yards away.





















“It’s a hundred and seventy feet tall,” Harry was saying to a muffled figure beside him as they trudged toward the entrance; “covers six thousand square yards.”
“She caught snatches of conversation: “One main hall”—“walls twenty to forty inches thick”—“and the ice cave has almost a mile of —”—“this Canuck who built it ——”
They found their way inside, and dazed by the magic of the great crystal walls Sally Carrol found herself repeating over and over two lines from “Kubla Khan”:
“It was a miracle of rare device,

A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!”

In the great glittering cavern with the dark shut out she took a seat on a wooded bench and the evening’s oppression lifted. Harry was right — it was beautiful; and her gaze travelled the smooth surface of the walls, the blocks for which had been selected for their purity and dearness to obtain this opalescent, translucent effect.
“Look! Here we go — oh, boy! “ cried Harry.
A band in a far corner struck up “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here!” which echoed over to them in wild muddled acoustics, and then the lights suddenly went out; silence seemed to flow down the icy sides and sweep over them. Sally Carrol could still see her white breath in the darkness, and a dim row of pale faces over on the other side.








Hail. Hail, the gang´s all here



[the wild music sprinted through air and bounced drowsy against the walls.]





The music eased to a sighing complaint, and from outside drifted in the full-throated remnant chant of the marching clubs. It grew louder like some pæan of a viking tribe traversing an ancient wild; it swelled — they were coming nearer; then a row of torches appeared, and another and another, and keeping time with their moccasined feet a long column of gray-mackinawed figures swept in, snow-shoes slung at their shoulders, torches soaring and flickering as their voice rose along the great walls.

The gray column ended and another followed, the light streaming luridly this time over red toboggan caps and flaming crimson mackinaws, and as they entered they took up the refrain; then came a long platoon of blue and white, of green, of white, of brown and yellow.

“Those white ones are the Wacouta Club,” whispered Harry eagerly. “Those are the men you’ve met round at dances.”

The volume of the voices grew; the great cavern was a phantasmagoria of torches waving in great banks of fire, of colors and the rhythm of soft-leather steps. The leading column turned and halted, platoon deploys in front of platoon until the whole procession made a solid flag of flame, and then from thousands of voices burst a mighty shout that filled the air like a crash of thunder, and sent the torches wavering. It was magnificent, it was tremendous! To Sally Carol it was the North offering sacrifice on some mighty altar to the gray pagan God of Snow. As the shout died the band struck up again and there came more singing, and then long reverberating cheers by each club. She sat very quiet listening while the staccato cries rent the stillness; and then she started, for there was a volley of explosion, and great clouds of smoke went up here and there through the cavern — the flash-light photographers at work — and the council was over. With the band at their head the clubs formed in column once more, took up their chant, and began to march out.















“Come on!” shouted Harry. “We want to see the labyrinths down-stairs before they turn the lights off!”
They all rose and started toward the chute — Harry and Sally Carrol in the lead, her little mitten buried in his big fur gantlet. At the bottom of the chute was a long empty room of ice, with the ceiling so low that they had to stoop — and their hands were parted. Before she realized what he intended Harry Harry had darted down one of the half-dozen glittering passages that opened into the room and was only a vague receding blot against the green shimmer.
“Harry!” she called.
“Come on!” he cried back.
She looked round the empty chamber; the rest of the party had evidently decided to go home, were already outside somewhere in the blundering snow. She hesitated and then darted in after Harry.
“Harry!” she shouted.
She had reached a turning-point thirty feet down; she heard a faint muffled answer far to the left, and with a touch of panic fled toward it. She passed another turning, two more yawning alleys.
“Harry!”

No answer. She started to run straight forward, and then turned like lightning and sped back the way she had come, enveloped in a sudden icy terror.








She reached a turn — was it here? — took the left and came to what should have been the outlet into the long, low room, but it was only another glittering passage with darkness at the end. She called again, but the walls gave back a flat, lifeless echo with no reverberations.
Retracing her steps she turned another corner, this time following a wide passage. It was like the green lane between the parted water of the Red Sea, like a damp vault connecting empty tombs.
She slipped a little now as she walked, for ice had formed on the bottom of her overshoes; she had to run her gloves along the half-slippery, half-sticky walls to keep her balance.

“Harry!”

Still no answer. The sound she made bounced mockingly down to the end of the passage.
Then on an instant the lights went out, and she was in complete darkness. She gave a small, frightened cry, and sank down into a cold little heap on the ice. She felt her left knee do something as she fell, but she scarcely noticed it as some deep terror far greater than any fear of being lost settled upon her. She was alone with this presence that came out of the North, the dreary loneliness that rose from ice-bound whalers in the Arctic seas, from smokeless, trackless wastes where were strewn the whitened bones of adventure. It was an icy breath of death; it was rolling down low across the land to clutch at her.


With a furious, despairing energy she rose again and started blindly down the darkness. She must get out. She might be lost in here for days, freeze to death and lie embedded in the ice like corpses she had read of, kept perfectly preserved until the melting of a glacier. Harry probably thought she had left with the others — he had gone by now; no one would know until next day. She reached pitifully for the wall. Forty inches thick, they had said — forty inches thick!















On both sides of her along the walls she felt things creeping, damp souls that haunted this palace, this town, this North.
“Oh, send somebody — send somebody!” she cried aloud.
Clark Darrow — he would understand; or Joe Ewing; she couldn’t be left here to wander forever — to be frozen, heart, body, and soul. This her — this Sally Carrol! Why, she was a happy thing. She was a happy little girl. She liked warmth and summer and Dixie. These things were foreign — foreign.
“You’re not crying,” something said aloud. “You’ll never cry any more. Your tears would just freeze; all tears freeze up here!”
She sprawled full length on the ice.
“Oh, God!” she faltered.

A long single file of minutes went by, and with a great weariness she felt her eyes dosing. Then some one seemed to sit down near her and take her face in warm, soft hands. She looked up gratefully.
“Why it’s Margery Lee” she crooned softly to herself. “I knew you’d come.” It really was Margery Lee, and she was just as Sally Carrol had known she would be, with a young, white brow, and wide welcoming eyes, and a hoop-skirt of some soft material that was quite comforting to rest on.

“Margery Lee.”








It was getting darker now and darker — all those tombstones ought to be repainted sure enough, only that would spoil ’em, of course. Still, you ought to be able to see ’em.
Then after a succession of moments that went fast and then slow, but seemed to be ultimately resolving themselves into a multitude of blurred rays converging toward a pale-yellow sun, she heard a great cracking noise break her new-found stillness.
It was the sun, it was a light; a torch, and a torch beyond that, and another one, and voices; a face took flesh below the torch, heavy arms raised her and she felt something on her cheek — it felt wet. Some one had seized her and was rubbing her face with snow. How ridiculous — with snow!

“Sally Carrol! Sally Carrol!”

It was Dangerous Dan McGrew; and two other faces she didn’t know. “Child, child! We’ve been looking for you two hours! Harry’s half-crazy!”
Things came rushing back into place — the singing, the torches, the great shout of the marching clubs. She squirmed in Patton’s arms and gave a long low cry.

“Oh, I want to get out of here! I’m going back home. Take me home”—— her voice rose to a scream that sent a chill to Harry’s heart as he came racing down the next passage —“to-morrow!” she cried with delirious, unstrained passion —“To-morrow! To-morrow! To-morrow!”







































The wealth of golden sunlight poured a quite enervating yet oddly comforting heat over the house where day long it faced the dusty stretch of road. Two birds were making a great to-do in a cool spot found among the branches of a tree next door, and down the street a colored woman was announcing herself melodiously as a purveyor of strawberries. It was April afternoon.

Sally Carrol Happer, resting her chin on her arm, and her arm on an old window-seat, gazed sleepily down over the spangled dust whence the heat waves were rising for the first time this spring. She was watching a very ancient Ford turn a perilous corner and rattle and groan to a jolting stop at the end of the walk. See made no sound and in a minute a strident familiar whistle rent the air. Sally Carrol smiled and blinked.
“Good mawnin’.”
A head appeared tortuously from under the car-top below.
“Tain’t mawnin’, Sally Carrol.”
“Sure enough!” she said in affected surprise. “I guess maybe not.”
“What you doin’?”
“Eatin’ a green peach. ‘Spect to die any minute.”
Clark twisted himself a last impossible notch to get a view of her face.

“Water’s warm as a kettla steam, Sally Carol. Wanta go swimmin’?”
“Hate to move,” sighed Sally Carol lazily, “but I reckon so.”











The Ice Palace

Was written by

F. Scott Fitzgerald



Author(s) and photography

F. Scott Fitzgerald
Michael A Koontz

To the daisy that is my sun and inspiration

    Google+
   Author page, Michael A Koontz
    Buy a lifetime of ad free reading    



2014, 2015




a Norse View



imaging and publishing



a life time of ad free reading

For a limited time, a one time 5US$ payment gives you a life time of ad free and subscription free quality reading on all our books and articles, past, present and future,

















Last Few Published Books and Articles

  • Fitness School, Question 36, Will lifting weights 1-3 days per week be enough to lower cardiovascular related mortality?.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 36 in our School of Fitness.
    All forms of fitness activity is a tiny little pill of good health no matter who you are.
    But is the simple act of lifting weights one to three days per week enough to substantially lower the risk of cardiovascular related mortality?.
    Yup, that is how easy and straightforward question number 36 turned out to be. And why? Because we have a brand new study to lean back on when it comes down to the (obvious) answer.
    Read on to reveal the complete Q and A below the break.

  • Going beyond 1.5C. Our world and daily life behind the IPCC report.

    Quality time needed: 27 minutes


    Cause & Consequence.

    Life on Earth laid bare by the IPCC report.



    But before we head on over to the meaty real life data of our reckless modern day life, which the 2018 IPCC report painfully laid bare, walk with me as I step out on frosty cold northern shores for my morning walk.

    Just a Thursday, spent on northern shores.
    And this is the way I started this gorgeous little Autumn day.

  • Roundabouts in the milky way galaxy. The duality of a sustainable earth, and interplanetary living.

    Quality time needed: 14 minutes


    Walking through the gates of autumn.

    We see a brand new dawn.



    Life itself is this majestic mirror world of brilliance and incompetence. Eternally merging and reflected, individually disengaged yet perfectly synchronized and attached to each other and everything else.

    Like the leaf that finds itself stranded on the wayward peaks of a stormy ocean. They are each others counterpart, yet entirely different. Individual objects, entwined and interconnected. Disengaged and perfectly unique.

  • Into Autumn, the spider´s lullaby. Random thoughts on life from another gorgeous day.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes


    Walking through the gates of autumn.

    Together with a tiny little spider.



    And today, there´s officially a full-blown Autumn song playing out there in nature. Gorgeous and sunny, on a Sunday =). Wind free, except for the tiniest of breeze that you can almost not see or feel as it slowly makes it way through the crown of leaves that towers above.

    But it is, none the less, Autumn.
    The colors of the trees reveal it. The pale blue September moon that hangs high up in the middle of the day is another telltale.

  • The anatomy and fitness function of our gorgeous human ass ( The mighty three we call the Gluteus ).

    Quality time needed: 9 minutes


    The gorgeous strength of Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus.

    The science of health and fitness should always be your lifelong guide.



    Fitness is as wonderful for your health as it is for landing you a more sculpted and capable body over time.
    But that will never change that even fit people (quite a lot of them) are doing the right things for the wrong reasons. Case in point the fit and good looking girl you can see in the IG video I am linking to, she obviously trains hard and regular while being in great shape, and she does know quite a few things about the body and the science of staying healthy and fit.
    Which is wonderful on all counts.
    But like so many other gym goers she is seemingly misinformed about a few things too ( on the other hand, so are we all :P ). Allowing wrongful information and knowledge to shape her choices and the choices of other people that gulps up everything we fit people believe to be true. However, if you are willing to listen to it the beautiful science of health and fitness will guide you towards a better body and better health and better workouts if you pay attention to real fitness science instead of personal opinions. You see, there is nothing wrong with the exercises she is doing. But outside of the wonderful world of human anatomy, there is no such thing as an upper or lower butt muscle as far as your exterior appearance goes, nor is there a meaningful difference as far as your practical fitness capacity and workout goes.

    Click through and let us talk about Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus.

  • Earth over shoot day is one of many events and situations during the year that signals the mindless gluttony of our evolving hybrid species.

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes


    Planet Earth - studies & life in the Anthropocene.

    A new way of life is needed.



    But what is it exactly? And why is something that sounds so cute something truly terrible that we need to take seriously as a global whole.
    To most people, it is more than likely just another ridiculous phrase keyboard warriors throw around once a year while they too waste this world to the point of no return.
    But this ever-moving yearly event day is anything but deadly essential.

    Every year this day signals the point in that year where we have used up all the naturally replenishing resources of this planet.
    And beyond this point, the planet is losing its inventory for the next year(s) ahead and it's capacity to restock.

    Which if we are talking about corporations and business leaders is something that would cause pretty much every corporate leader out there to die from a heart attack if it persistently happened to their business. But when its Earth, people just shrug their mindless shoulders and look the other way as if the greenhouse we are subsisting in isn't the singular thing that feeds and house us all.

  • Fine Art & living room products by Mike Koontz. All featured products are available for purchase.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes


    Your living room
    contemporary art & style



    We carry with us our own unique style and touch, in person, the way we are. The choice in our clothes, our fitness and the way we train and live our healthy fit life. Our individual thoughts are stamped by our unique nature. The way we have sex, the books we read, the movies that make us cringe or wax, the deep secluded passion, the music that makes our soul float, and the things we truly like in life.
    The way you are and see the world carries through in everything.
    It shows in the gym, and it is made perfectly clear in the boardroom.











    It is visible in the way you handle your lover, and in the style and feel of your living room.
    The person that you are is not just reflected in those things, but your surroundings in life and nature and home speak in equal measures to your inner self and carries with it real significance for how much you, in turn, will enjoy both life and the everyday castle you call your home.




    This is my contribution to your life.
    A touch of the genuine northern soul that is the Vikings true home.

  • Fitness facts: How and why does the range of motion in any given strength exercise matter?.

    Quality time needed: 8 minutes


    Diving down into a range of motion and squat study.

    The science of health and fitness should always be your gym guide.



    Right now, if you enter any given gym, the wonderful world of barbells will conjure up as many opinions as there are fitness girls on Instagram, no matter the subject.
    And plenty of opinions are exactly that, personal opinions, formed by peer pressure in the gym, on social media, or by fit vixens looking to make a bigger following by posting daily stuff which may or may not be factually correct.

    There are out of date school gym coaches still living in the past, badly informed parents, friends, big brothers, big sisters, commercial interests only looking out for the next conference call, as well as uninformed writers working for big tabloids which just happened to draw the assignment to make a puff piece on fitness.

    So let us instead look at science and what it actually has to teach us about the range of motion for any particular exercise. And for the purpose of this article, let us focus on a Squat centric use case since legs and ass are thankfully all the rage anyway :).

  • Moments from the Anthropocene, the fox and my morning coffee.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes


    The scent of black coffee.

    And wild breakfast companions.



    'Today' (another today ) while enjoying my first cup of coffee standing outside on my sun-drenched porch, I could hear something sneakily make its way through the underbrush and thick tall grass and florals that intermix with the deep dark, and thankfully, untouched old forest at the edge of my property.

    Fast forward just a little bit and I could start to see the movement in the thin youngling trees and the tall flowers. Something was out there, touching here and there making the wild plants and florals sway as it drew nearer me.

  • The savagery that is the carnivore dietary plan vs the science of health and fitness.

    Quality time needed: 15 minutes


    The error of your way.

    Could be spelled 'the carnivore diet'..



    A growing number of people in the world adopt healthy, fit living by going increasingly more vegetarian for a long range of personal reasons and or due to scientific reasons. Some of those reasons often include the substantial increase in cancer and diabetes risk that eating red meat and highly processed foods causes, or the impossible mathematics behind an entire world eating ever higher amounts of meat, or the incredible amount of pollution that animal food production causes.

    And facts are, that all those reasons are equally good, sound and true, so it does not even matter why you do it. It is a good and healthy choice to eat less red meat, and by doing so you will contribute towards a healthier you, and a healthier world.

  • Anthropocene: 12 vaquitas left in the world before they too face the ultimate end of line which is called extinction.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes


    The vaquitas are sadly not alone.

    This is the Lost World of Planet Earth.



    Around the world, the vaquitas are sadly not alone, there are countless of animal species, plants and all that´s facing the threat of extinction in ever greater numbers. And the pace is accelerating, so it´s not business as usual.
    Worse, this is all down to man-made issues.
    It got nothing to do with prey and predatory fluctuations. And it got nothing to do with natural events and Earths naturally changing cycles.

  • Let us talk about the concept of 'Half Earth' and why both Dr Cristiana Pașca Palmer, UN and I share the opinion that it is all about 'Whole Earth'.

    Quality time needed: 7 minutes


    People & Planet is just a mutual ecosystem.

    The Lost World.



    A long and well established connective tissue in the way I talk and write, and think about health & fitness is that we are all connected through this global ecosystem we all share.
    Which is why I have over the years pointed out that living in a sustainable way is ultimately all about health. Individual health & planetary health. People that are opting to eat shit just isn't healthy.
    Neither from a planetary or individual perspective.

    Just as how healthy fit people that´s living unsustainable, just isn't healthy living people either.

  • Fitness School, Question 35, Let us dig deep down into 'standing barbell row' and the complete amount of muscles it will engage and activate.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 35 in our School of Fitness.
    Once we venture beyond the glorious realms of leg and glutes training, there is the never-ending hallway of kicking and boxing to explore and conquer.
    But what else lies beyond the joy of those fit & healthy cornerstones?.
    Well, if it was not obvious so far in life, martial arts and legs and glutes have their equal in the colossus that is weighted back training.
    And when it comes down to weighted back training, actually, when it comes down to working the upper body at all, there is one exercise which I will never hesitate to put front and center (together with deadlift), and that is 'Standing Barbell Row'.
    Here is my question:
    Standing Barbell Row will challenge and work you from top to toe.
    But can you list all of the muscles which you will activate when you do this bad boy in a properly challenging way?.

  • The things we see in the rearview mirror, the world meat free week, and Scandinavian winter scenes.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes


    Views we catch in the rear view mirror as we leave #worldmeatfreeweek behind us.

    The Lost World.



    Good and healthy vegetarian food is able to provide health & fitness improving nutrition for far more people, despite polluting much less and using up a lot less landmass vied towards animal farming.
    And you can quote me on that because that simple statement is 100% based on science & clear-cut facts instead of peoples personal opinions and conjecture.

    In fact, food production from animal farming is already using up 83% of our global agricultural land. Yet, it is only managing to deliver about 18% of the calories we consume. And does that situation not sound completely unsustainable and fool-hearted to maintain?.

  • Fitness School, Question 34, Is there a connection between weighted leg and glute training and your brain maintaining a healthy neurological cell production?

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 34 in our School of Fitness.
    Yes, we absolutely love our leg and glute day. The challenge it provides is a huge mountain of fun to climb every single week.
    But, did you know that you are not just strengthening your lower body when you are building stronger legs, ass, and hips?. Of course, you do. You know damn well that those leg days are crucial for the health and wellness of your lower back and abs too. And it sure does tax your heart and metabolic functions too. However, let us go upstairs towards our brainy area with this question.
    Here is my question:
    Is it true that weighted exercises in the gym for your leg and glutes will increase the production of healthy neural cells? ( which are crucial for the capacity and health of our brain and entire nervous system )

  • The Lost World XVIII and the enemy of all things living. #Connect2Earth

    Quality time needed: 9 minutes


    This is the lost world XVIII.
    And how life in the Anthropocene is the tale about the enemy of all things living.
    Healthy living is nothing but the science of life.



    With the rising tide of the Baltic sea far beneath me, I towered the surrounding world.
    Looking out from the crest of the Scandinavian coastline. This was still a place lost in time and mist. A mountain entirely dressed in green and trees, moss and berries, sand and soil, and it is, as much a mountainous castle growing ever taller as it is the place where salt and cold black water comes crashing in to embrace the land of the Vikings.

  • May 22 mark the crucial 'day of biological diversity'. But it is also so much more than that, #Connect2Earth.

    Quality time needed: 9 minutes


    At the crossroads of the Anthropocene.
    May 22 is 'The International Day of Biological Diversity'.
    A day which, is by now, our essential every day reality.



    May 22 is both a perfectly ordinary Tuesday in your life and the global 'International Day for Biological Diversity'.
    But that is not all this week is all about. We also have the endangered wildlife day, which happened on May 18, and birthday number 70 for IUCN. And, as such this entire week represents an opportunity for each of us to make it a healthy fit day for the entire planet and our individual self.


    Also, if you are present in the incredibly lush and beautiful high coast area of Scandinavia, Sweden next Tuesday you are more than welcome to join me and my coworker from Scandinavian.Fitness for a sweaty fit workout at the gym, lifting weights and grunting at Friskis, Örnsköldsvik at 0730. Once we are done at the gym, we will head outside for a walk at 0830 and hopefully enjoy beautiful weather together with the pristine nature of Scandinavia.

  • Fitness School, Question 33, Let us talk about that mighty beast called the Quadriceps.

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 33 in our School of Fitness.
    Legs and ass and back. That is the holy trinity ( together with the fourth pillar, our abs ) of building a strong and capable and athletic body.
    But what about the makeup of our upper legs?
    We have the backside of our legs, which we call the hamstrings, and on the front, there´s the thing most people simply call the quads.
    But let us dig deeper down into those mighty looking quadriceps and the rest of the anterior side of our legs.
    Here is my question:
    Can you specify which muscles make up the bulk of what we call our quadriceps and anterior leg muscles?.

  • We are standing at the crossroads of the Anthropocene. Earth hour and the essential stuff that lies beyond.

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes


    At the crossroads of the Anthropocene.
    Earth Hour.
    Is by now, our essential every day reality.



    On one hand, we are now living in the day and age of butterflies and endangered white rhinos hopefully being multiplied and preserved through soon to be commercial cloning facilities. finally making sure we will never have to lose another species to extinction.
    Putting an end to the way we lost the last surviving male Great Northern Rhino just the other day.


    And that lingering, hopeful road is walking hand in hand with this growing worldwide awareness that eating healthy, and being healthy is not just good for that one person, but transformative and good for everybody else too.
    Be it from a financial perspective or healthwise speaking.

  • Fitness School, Question 32, Can fitness reduce dementia risk with as much as 90% for a 50 year old female?

    Quality time needed: 5 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 32 in our School of Fitness.
    We all know that physical activity and healthy food is just that, life and body improving yum for muscles and mind alike.
    Some might claim they hate it, and others truly love keeping fit and healthy, enriching their daily life in endless supply.
    And you know it greatly reduces the risk of getting a long range of cancer forms, it helps arthritis patients, lower back pain, keeps you lean and hearty healthy.
    It fights off bad sleep and osteoporosis. Slow the roll of biological aging and on and on, and all this is proven over and over by science.
    And so, my simple question this time around is as follows:
    Do you also know if healthy fit women in their 50s have been shown to greatly reduce the risk of getting dementia compared to less fit women?.

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 31, What´s up with that biceps, give us the lowdown.

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 31 in our School of Fitness.
    When we are talking and thinking about muscles and keeping fit, Biceps is not just one of the more iconic names in the world of fitness and the human anatomy, it is also a very visible muscle that truly pops on people that keep healthy fit. But where on your body can you actually locate your biceps muscle and more importantly is the name biceps only referring to one muscle or do we have more than one biceps on our body?
    And so, my question for you is as follows:
    Can you tell us if the human anatomy have one or more muscles with the name biceps, and where are they/it located?.

  • A life of health & fitness. Life is a wondrous journey and this is a rough view of this years fitness journey ( the way I do it ).

    Quality time needed: 14 minutes


    Complete the circle of health & fitness.
    Every single day.
    Fitness, Food & Health is nothing but the science of a healthy, fun life :).



    The following is a rudimentary overview of my health & fitness life from Jan 1, 2018, to Jan 1, 2019. Some fitness folks think the world of planning ahead, and some absolutely do need a firm plan for the months and even year ahead.
    Short term goals firmly lined up and long-term goal posts holding their own further out make a world of difference for some. And your own goals can be about certain PB´s, they can involve reaching a certain body fat % or strength goal. Other common goals have to do with cardiovascular performance and might be focused on improving your lactate levels, running speed, zone levels or maximum heart rate. And for competitive pro athletes, those goals usually involve specific competitions and championships.

    So yes, setting up a rough schedule in advance of your fitness year can make a lot of sense.
    Just as how a lot of people count daily steps and calories.

  • Fitness School. Question 30, Let us talk about biological aging and our T cells and that beautiful little Thymus.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 30 in our School of Fitness.
    You all know that I have been a vocal proponent of how we do not simply grow old like some archaic fairy tale myth where people are doomed to live fat and unhealthy and frail once they leave their 20´s behind them.
    No instead, my science-backed message has for years been that we simply create and manage our own aging process according to our own choices in food, life, and fitness.
    Be it lean muscle mass, body fat, bone health, even our brain and plenty of natural hormones. Our daily choices carry such incredible weight when it comes down to all these aspects of our own wellbeing and health, much more so than the number of years we have lived or the genes we inherit. And Science proves me right on all these things, over and over, and over again.

    But, how about our immune system? In sedentary people, our thymus slowly becomes less capable as we mature beyond our 20´s. That is a simple fact.
    And so, my question for you:
    Will regular fitness stomp aging in the face or is the thymus and the stuff it does for us destined to go wry as we age no matter our fitness and food choices?.

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 29, How prevalent is plastic litter amongst deep sea fish.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 29 in our School of Fitness.
    We have previously talked about getting enough natural amounts of omega 3 in our food. So let us cast our net a bit wider and deeper as we go hunting for natural Omega 3 sources in the deep sea.
    Yes, we are what we eat kiddos.
    And so, the time has come to talk about one of the better Omega 3 sources out there, which is fish ( like cows, fish love munching away on plant-based food such as Algae and so they end up with a ton of Omega 3, and so can you. ), and outside of Omega 3 fish also used to be a sustainable source of proteins and omega 3 amongst other things.
    The key word is used to be. But like us, and the cows, fish are what they eat.
    And today, outside of depleted fish stocks, fish swim in bodies of waters, polluted, and depleted of oxygen and ruined by us, the human species. And as health & fitness loving professionals and human beings, we always have to consider the world we live in, because we are all what we eat and the way we live becomes the state of our body & mind, life, and health. And if the fish you eat is full of toxins, plastic, and other unhealthy things, that is what you too will consume and thus, become.
    So, here is my question:
    How prevalent is plastic pollution in deep sea fish right now?.

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 28, Let us get healthy and dirty with Omega 3 and milk.

    Quality time needed: 6 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 28 in our School of Fitness.
    As far as health & fitness goes, eating healthy food on a daily basis is the ever-present and perfectly fitted glove that wraps the fit hand that is regular and challenging workouts in the gym.
    And one of those nutritious, and essential for our health, nutrient staples are Omega 3´s. We get it in all sorts of seafood. And we can get it from omega 3 fortified foods such as eggs.
    Another wonderful omega 3 source are plant-based foods such as chia seeds. But, meat and dairy products from grass-fed cattle can also contain natural amounts of omega 3.
    So, here is my question:
    How much Omega 3 do you actually get from one L ( 1L ) of milk produced from grass fed cattle?.

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 27, How big do you need your daily calorie deficit to be, in order to roughly drop 250g of bodyfat per week.

    Quality time needed: 7 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 27 in our School of Fitness.
    From a healthy fit perspective, both short & long term, what we need to sculpt is a life of daily physical activity in the right amount and the right intensity coupled with healthy food choices and the proper amount of nutrients.
    And those healthy choices include making sure that we get enough of those healthy nutrients in order to perform, in the gym and daily life, and we need enough of them in order for our body and mind to stay healthy, happy, capable and fit.
    Eat too little protein and you will start losing lean muscle mass, and your health will start to decline too since proteins are not just the major building blocks of our muscles, they are in fact the mud and water, wood and concrete that builds our entire body, be it your internal organs, your skin, hair, muscles, cells, or our brain.
    And the total amount of daily calories we consume is, of course, pretty much the same thing, eat too little in total, and you will start noticing how your health and fitness level slowly deteriorate. And if you do the opposite and stuff your tummy full with too many daily calories you will start gaining pure body fat in excessive amounts and it will continue to build unless you change your daily choices.
    So, here is my question:
    How big do you need to make your daily calorie deficit in order to lose 250g of body fat per week ( roughly ) while eating enough protein to preserve your lean muscle mass?.

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 26, Black coffee, is it a natural diuretic that causes dehydration or a health improving rehydrating drink?

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 26 in our School of Fitness.
    Black coffee, the mere words are capable of sending hundreds of millions of people into a state of Nirvana filled with transcending bliss and harmony :).
    But black coffee is also a cup of rejuvenating health for our entire system. It calms the mind with its slowly rising aroma, helps us keep cancer and diabetes at bay, harnesses our creative focus like an arrow in flight, and in enough quantities, it can even boost peoples gym going efforts.
    But is there all there is to it?. Well, here is my question:
    Is the old saying true that your daily coffee drives so much fluid out of your body that you need to supplement your coffee intake with equal measures water too in order to stay hydrated?.

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 25, Tell us the major muscles in your back.

    Quality time needed: 3 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 25 in our School of Fitness.
    Outside of our legs and ass, there is no other muscle group that comes close to sheer size, strength, health impact and lean muscle mass potential than our back. So as exhausting as a proper back workout is, this is one big and essential muscle group you should never skimp out on, no matter if your own goals are all in on health and wellness, sports or just sheer looks, or all of the above.
    Here is my question:
    Tell me the major muscles that makes up our back. Straight and simple folks.

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 24, Can Maintained Fitness prevent the negative health impact of chemotherapy?.

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 24 in our School of Fitness.
    Chemotherapy is one of those crucial things that no one ever hoped to one day experience. But when the going gets real tough in life, its a life saver.
    However, undergoing Chemotherapy is no walk in the park and while it can save your life and defeat cancer, it will also take its toll on your body. So much so that a recent study from Australia revealed that just 13 weeks of chemotherapy caused the heart to age by an equivalent of six years.
    Here is my question:
    Can maintained fitness exercise during chemotherapy prevent the now established cardiovascular aging associated with chemotherapy?.

  • Fitness School, Do you know the right answer?. Question 23, How much will my daily fitness activity reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease?.

    Quality time needed: 4 minutes


    Fitness School
    Do you know the right answer?.



    Question number 23 in our School of Fitness.
    How are you enjoying 2018 so far?. I am having a blast, in the gym and outside it, workouts are wondrously good and that is because I stay at it, week in and week out. Stay persistent with food and fitness people and reap the benefits in body & mind. Keeping to a daily fitness schedule is just a choice, after all, and a very healthy choice at that.

    And, for the next fitness school question, let us dig deep down on that word "persistent" and uncover just how much weekly fitness will scientifically aid your health on low, moderate and intense fitness levels.
    And as such, here is my question for you:
    Can as little as 30 minutes of daily low-level physical fitness activity reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by as much as 24% compared to not doing that daily activity?.

Go to top