And was the holy Lamb of God,
On Englands pleasant pastures seen!
- And did those feet, William Blake

søndag 29. mars 2015

Scenes from a Norwegian Palm Sunday

Among the many peculiarities of the Norwegian Volksgeist is a strange, borderline unhealthy relationship with snow. When the first snowfall of the season comes we usually curse it very loudly and fall prey to the slippery roads caused by it, even though we have experienced the situation every past year and will continue to experience it in the years to come. It is as if we live in a state of perennial denial, refusing to believe in the dangerous qualities of snow until they cause us trouble. Then, when the snow has set on the ground and we are reconciled with the novelty of the situation, we celebrate snow by watching winter sports on TV and wishing for a white Christmas, even though that white Christmas often results in agonisingly slow traffic and risk of power failure. When all this wintry wondering has been going on for a while, when Easter is approaching and we sense that the now-familiar snow is about to disappear, we migrate en masse to the mountains to make sure that we stay in winter for one more week. It is this adoration of snow that made a Norwegian humorist to suggest that Norway was first inhabited by the tribe idiot who, when he saw the ice receding from Schleswig-Holstein or Britain, decided to follow the familiar element and keep close to the ice-rim at all times.

My family has fortunately not subscribed to these antics, but this Palm Sunday we nonetheless decided to take a short hike up the valley where we live, even though that meant leaving the bare fields behind in favour of snow-covered mires and ice-covered waters. Below are a few scenes from this trip, as a conclusion to the March series of blogposts, showing parts of my home village in all its late-March bleakness and beauty.

The shieling belonging to our ancestral farm and our neighbours

(foss = waterfall)

Downriver from the waterfall

(vatn = lake, but also water)

Back at the river, where people used to fish in the fifties

Traces from the old highway, its roadside stones still intact

A mouse's lodging unroofed by the thaw

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