Monday, May 5, 2008
Countdown to Syttende Mai
So I was contemplating what I could do on this blog to support and promote Syttende Mai and I thought that on the very day of the celebration I could post a blog celebrating all things Norwegian. Then it occurred to me that I would be spending all day on the 17th blogging--that is not how I want to celebrate the day, so I have decided that I will do a countdown to Syttende Mai. . . or in other words, each day between now and the 17th I will post something in relation to Norway.
I figure that a good place to begin the countdown would be from a journal entry I wrote the very first time I visited Norway. This particular entry was written on July 21, 1999:
". . . I arrived in Narvik [a city in Northern Norway, located about 200 miles above the arctic circle] just a little before 1 p.m. today. I made many notes in my notebook concerning the scenery during the train ride today. I shall share that progression of thought with you now, writing as if at the moment as that is what I did in my notebook.
I feel like a young lad on Christmas morning; each scene by the train window is like a new gift being opened up to my eyes and I sit with eyes fixed in awe and wonder at what next passes by. The purple and gold flowers that line the embankment nearby the railroad tracks is a symbol to me of nature's embroidered nobility here in the north. The forests are as thick as darkness on a long winter night and occasionally open up to a lush meadow or a brilliant lake. I cannot sit but five minutes without passing either another lake or river.
It is a bit overcast today and a great mist or fog lies hunched over the hills and is creeping slowly downward, stretching its fingers through the valleys. The flatlands have turned to hills and hills to mountains and as the train races ever upward I peer down upon a giant lake like a hawk that views a writhing sea of snakes slithering towards the shore.
There is snow to be seen upon the distant mountain peaks. Rocks protrude through the forest's skin and rivers course their way through the land like veins that carry the lifeblood through the earth. Every scene seems to build upon itself, heightening what you feel will soon be the climax only to realize that nature's plot only thickens and increases your love and respect with each passing mile.
Further in the north there are not so many trees. Mountains awake and hills swell and wrinkle through the land. It is very rocky here and small streams and ponds scatter themselves between the hills. Grasses and shrubs surround the rocky hills and mountains which bring about a green and gray jig-saw puzzle. Homes leap across the way from hill to hill, rock to rock, sparsely showered about.
The trees have returned and the train pushes forward on the edge of a rocky cliff. Below in a ravine winds a torrent river and an occasional waterfall cascades down the face into the depths below. There is a stillness and beauty all her own here in the north, untainted by our grotesque human hands. The only movement seen besides the train is nature herself singing and dancing about in her traditional course which she has ever so stalwartly performed throughout the years. Her's is an art that we rarely truly behold and understand.
The train passes above the fjord, peering straight down a cliff into the magnificent waters below. Mountains appear to mirror each other on either side of the sea. It looks as if they were all just one mountain range that the Lord parted and said, "Let there be fjords!" That is the power and majesty that is presented with their sight. I was so excited upon first seeing the fjord. My heart began to pound, my body began to quiver, my mouth stretched forth a smile that could connect the rims of the Grand Canyon, and I felt like I was going to cry. At last, my life long dream of seeing the fjords is a reality, and my ideal dream cannot compare to the real life magnificence that I beheld. . . The mountain peaks soared into the heavens and they appeared to be the gateway to the Celestial Kingdom. If not so, than it is at least a real life Valhalla--home of the gods. . ."