Snow

Pure, fresh, pristine.
Having arrived just a few hours before,
it was waiting for us as we stood at the trailhead.
A clean white carpet draped on the forest floor,
inviting us in.

And we walked.

Hard as rock. And unforgivingly slippery.
Treacherous under a thin blanket of powder.
One misstep and we’d be on our backs.

We kept walking.

Brittle as glass.
Cracking easily under the weight of our steps like fine china.
A crisp ripping sound in the muffled forest air,
and then quiet.

We pressed on.

Soft, as the finest Egyptian cotton.
Cushioning our feet as if walking on puffs of cloud,
high above the forest floor.

We continued walking.

White turned gray and then black
as the day surrendered to dusk and then night.
Darkness descended upon us,
erasing the difference between the ground and the sky.

Like walking in nothingness,
the only sound we heard was the one of our own breathing,
and our footsteps on the black snow.

And we kept walking.

The Photographer’s Moment

Heavy rains were forecasted for the entire day, and that is exactly how it started on that August morning as we found ourselves gearing up for the hike.

The Norwegian summer can be unpredictable, especially this late in the season, so even though we had been hoping until the last minute to see an improvement in the forecast, we were fully prepared for a wet and windy experience. Although that could be an adventure in itself, my main concern was missing out on the view from the summit if the clouds did not clear.

Luckily, we only saw light rain as we made our way up, and the winds drove most of the low hanging clouds away by the time we reached the summit. As we were standing at the top the sun broke through, giving us a spectacular show of shadows, light, and color, fulfilling the promise of “the finest vantage point” in Luster!

This is when the photographer got his moment, the image was made, and all hardship was forgotten.

All Grown Up

It seems like yesterday I had you cradled in the crook of my elbow. And look at you now! Although there was never a time when you and I couldn’t understand each other, something changed tonight. For both of us. Tonight you seem more mature, and as full of life as ever. Tonight, to me, you seem all grown up. Somehow, losing those teeth just made our conversations all grown up too.

Bulleh Shah’s Reflections

You read and read and master knowledge.
But you never read your inner self.

You run to enter temple and mosque.
But you never entered your heart.

Every day you fight the devil.
But you never fought your own desire.

Bulleh Shah, don’t reach to grab what’s in the sky.
When you havn’t even managed to grab what’s inside your own soul.

The First Day of Spring

Today, after weeks of low temperatures caused by Siberian winds from the East, the snow finally gave in to the warmth of the March sun. From afar, the droplets from the melting snow on the roof seemed to be falling lazily onto the wooden railing on top the fence below.

As March 1st, the first day of spring, was just a few days ago, I wanted to capture this sign of the coming season so I got my camera to get a close-up of the droplets hitting the railing.  What looked like a calm trickle from a distance, turned out to be tiny explosions up close. Every time a drop hit the surface of the railing, it shattered into a thousand droplets spraying the surrounding air, creating a dazzling spectacle of small eruptions of water backlit by the brilliant afternoon sun.

Sunday Blues

The last time I visited this place, was fourteen years ago, almost to the date. Standing here by the edge of the river again, nothing seems to have changed. The trees, the rocks, the water, even the shrubs, they all look the same. The sound of running water and the wind rustling the leaves. The chill of the autumn air on a clear Sunday afternoon. The spruces standing guard along the far side of the river. It all seems exactly how it was, all those years ago, just like yesterday.

Fourteen long years of my life. So much has happened, and so many things have changed. Relocations domestic and abroad, children growing up, me getting older. Sadness, happiness, and sadness. High ambitions, hard work, and lucky accomplishments. Battles fought and victories celebrated. Disappointments small and big. Contentment, and realizations of the realities of life. Some people leaving, some entering, and then leaving again. Increasing distances between hearts as well as minds. Long awaited hellos, and sad goodbyes across vast oceans and layers upon layers of space and time.

It is strange, almost unreal, to think that fourteen years have passed. For me, it feels like a lifetime. For the river, it must be like the time it takes a tear to roll down a cheek. For the wind, a whisper in its ear. The trees have grown older, but all these years are but a short moment in their lifetime of never ending cycles of the seasons. For the rocks, I am not sure it would even register on their clock, as it must be a speck of time in their eternal life among the stars.

Standing by the water, reflecting, contemplating the passing of time, I realize that life will move on, and continue to change. It is inevitable. A fact. Until that last big change. Until then, it seems, I will keep my Sunday blues.

Eid al-Fitr Mubarak 2016

Eid-al-Fitr 2016

Once again, we have been fortunate to have experienced another Ramadan. A month of fasting, sacrifice, giving, piousness and self-discipline. We’ve been blessed with yet another chance to improve and put our dedication to test. Another opportunity to experience the essence of Ramadan and seek the immense spiritual treasure therein.

We’ve been given a new possibility to pursue benefits for both mind and body. And through socializing at iftar, prayers, and self-control by practicing good manners, we have made our best attempts to build a feeling of peace, tranquility and self-satisfaction that we hope will extend beyond this month.

May Allah accept our attempts in the month that has passed, and grant us the opportunity to improve our efforts in the future. I wish all Muslims a happy and blessed Eid al-Fitr!

Last Night in Jalalpur Jattan

Last Night in Jalalpur Jattan

As I am praying alone in my bedroom, the electricity suddenly goes out. Complete darkness. I cannot even see my feet where I am standing. I continue to pray, in utter darkness. A distant generator starts up. A dog is barking far away. The occasional car or truck passes by on the road just in front of the house.

I finish my prayer and just sit quietly on the prayer rug. It is warm, must be over 30°C in the room, more likely closer to 35. The darkness feels suffocating, and at the same time strangely calming. I know my way around the room. And I know my mobile phone is on the bedside table. It is charged so I can turn on the flashlight app. Still, a strange kind of panic is floating just below the surface of my heart. Suffocating. I need to get out!

I walk upstairs to the roof. Electricity is back, and I see lights in the buildings across the road from our house. The evening is clear, and a gentle breeze makes the weather just perfect to be outside. It is quiet but for the occasional vehicle driving past the house.

The sun is setting and the partly overcast sky shows a graduation from deep blue to orange. Beyond the houses across the road I see green fields stretching out into the hazy horizon. This calm and fresh evening is my last here in Jalalpur Jattan before I head back to Norway. A perfect evening setting the scene for a sad goodbye. And I wonder when I get to see this sight again.

Happy Constitution Day, Norway!

Fering av Norges nasjonaldag

Photo from my archives (2010). Crowd weaving their flags and cheering as the children’s parade walk by, in celebration of the Norwegian constitution day on May 17th at “slottsparken” (the Palace Park), near the Royal Palace, downtown Oslo, the capital of Norway.

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