Have you ever noticed how seagulls keep their legs crossed together while flying? Tight and nice. And so they go, gracefully flying and looking for ice creams to steal from a distracted kid.
I have time now to pay attention to those tiny details. To observe and admire the landscape changing with the light. I have time to sit, see and think. I am not creating anything of commercial value, and yet I have not felt so useful for a long time. I am constantly smiling, greeting people with a nod or a word that sounds like Hi, Hey, Hei, Hoi all together. I am floating over earth, I feel light and complete. All things call to me and I feel fully available.
I am living much more instinctively, and it brings to best out of me, out of the world around me too. Just the once will not hurt, I missed the bus – again- this morning. I woke up at 6.30 to catch the first bus heading to Hardangerfjord. Walking down the street, I saw it rolling one street below. I hate him.The next one is in 1 hour, meaning I will never make it on time for the connection. After I had sworn a few times in French, I see a car coming down the street. Without thinking I stop the confused driver ‘’Morning! Do you want to start the day as a hero a save a French girl in distress? I just missed the bus, any chance you can drop me at the central station?’’ He laughs and we drive together to the city center, from where I will make my connection just on time.
Solidariteit! I am delighted.
Norheimsund, where my journey starts today, is a dead city. Strolling around trying to find indications for the hiking paths, I ran into a couple who looks just as lost as me. She is from Rome, he is from Savoie. The coffee (not one, the) opens at 10.00. Few minutes to wait before we can sit down, compare our printed maps and share our guesses for directions. A cappuccino later, we split. We will see each other again to take the bus back to Bergen at the end of the day.
Along the way up to the Steinsdalsfossen (the waterfall), I keep thinking about the discussion we had earlier with the girl from Rome. Leaving in Northern countries (she in Germany, me in Holland) but coming from countries with a Latin culture; we appreciate yet are affected by the very structured organization of both countries. If for us rules are more guidelines than restrictions, in our host countries they are strictly followed, even sometimes subject to sanction. It makes our daily life easy, trouble free: making us more efficient – not to say easy to manipulate. In a way, it is comfortable although questionable. Rich topic which I will not develop now, but hey, think about it.
From my own experience, Latin cultures use rules almost exclusively if they are in their interest. In other situation, we try to find a way out, to create an exception to the rule that will fit our particular need. There comes my question: what is natural? Organization or chaos?
Walking up from Steinsdalsfosser to Byrkesete (the girl from the hotel told me I could not walk there… try me baby!), I keep thinking. Nature can appear organized: seasons, water cycle, food chain… But she is also chaotic for she is not fixed; she constantly evolves, changes.
Now. Did she change by herself (yes, Ice age!) or does she react to external activities (humans… who broke away long ago with their natural state)? Today, looking at the tangled roots under my feet, the toggle-switch of the clouds, the fascinating and devastating cascades… I came up to the conclusion that Nature is, by nature, chaotic. She only knows her own rules, and despite our human attempts to read her, and worse to control her; she always wins. She does not know seasons – she can make it snow in May if she wants; she does not know borders and she can change faces (for short and long term) whenever she feels like. She is free and cannot be caged.
By trying to organize and control Nature, we have been destroying her. We show no respect for her chaotic nature, as we do not understand it. We have a hard time bowing down to the natural chaos of Life.
This being said, I must say I am grateful for humans who created paths through the woods so I can access the -almost- top of the mountain. I have no idea where I am. But there is snow, so I accomplished my challenge of the day. Walking up to the snow.
On the edge of the cliff, facing the fjord, I spot a small cabin and its sun-kissed wooden bench. Perfect picnic spot! Stunning panoramic view, pines which perfume dazzles me, snowy horizons which makes me wants to fly and cascades songs which makes me want to pee. (Badly) Quick visual check, I am alone. Hmm. Not so sure after all. In the cabin, a few marionettes are hanging from the ceiling, all facing the windows, smiling and enjoying the view. Somehow, my need to pee, my thirst and my hunger are resolved. On the road again!
The sun shines high in the sky, and down the valley the pound of crystal clear water is clearly inviting me for a swim. I hurry down the mountain, dreaming of a feet bath. Hoping from a rock to another, I am stopped in my run for refreshment. Meeheeee! On the side of the road, three lambs.
I will spend a good 15 minutes cuddling them and giving them with my milk free fingers to suck. They eventually gently bite, trying to get something out. I feel guilty and decide, heartbroken, to leave them behind. If them were mine, I would call them Pim, Pam and Pet. In my mind, they are mine; you got that already.
Before the bus for Bergen arrives, I have just enough time to climb up to the Church, just to enjoy a different view of the Fjord. Still pretty. But my feet hurt, so I will now wait in the sun, enjoying a glass of the local apple juice.