En Route to Gaustatoppen

Gaustatoppen, considered by many to be the most beautiful mountain in Norway, towers above the town of Rjukan at an altitude of 1883 meters (6178 feet). The views from the top, as well as along the route, are stunning, and on a clear day, hikers can see one sixth of Norway from the summit!

The mountain is a popular destination for Norwegians, something I got to experience a few weeks ago. There was a constant stream of people all along the route. So many that there was a queue.

Many parents had brought their children along, the youngest ones walking, only three or four years old. Many of the children were crying and begging their parents to be carried, or simply refusing to go on. Most of the parents were ignoring their cries and telling them to keep going. This is something they simply had to do, and crying or yelling would definitely not help!

So en route to the summit of Gaustatoppen, with a backdrop of majestic Norwegian mountains, I got to witness the meticulous efforts of some parents to transfer what they believe to be core Norwegian values to the next generation. It was interesting to see how parents will always choose what they think is best for their children, no matter how much the little ones oppose.

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.

Sad Things

Why do you write sad things? he asked. When I am here, when I love you.

Because someday, in one way or another, you will be taken from me or I you. It is inevitable. But please understand; from the moment I met you, I stopped writing for the past. I no longer write for the present. When I write sad things, I am writing for the future.

– Text from Lullabies, by Lang Leav

Passing Time

I feel the end is drawing near,
would time be so kind to slow?
You are everything to me, my dear,
you are all I really know.

But as I sit and wait and fear
and watch the hours go—

Everything that happened here
happened long ago.

– Lullabies, by Lang Leav

Winter’s Sunset

There’s something wonderfully sad about a winter’s sunset.
It deadens the pain, the melancholy of regret.

A fleeting moment of calm surrender.
And emphemeral beauty.

Captured in an instant.
Forever preserved.

In the vast darkness of my heart.
A tiny light deserved

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.

Celebration

CelebrationOn May 17th, Norway celebrates the 200th anniversary of its constitution, and, as usual, the children’s parades form the central elements of the national celebration all around the country. In the capital Oslo, the children are in for a treat as according to tradition, all the city’s elementary schools parade past the King’s palace, where they get to greet the royal family, and the King himself!

Two Planets

Two Planets

From the very first time I read this poem, I knew I was going to blog it. I just wasn’t sure when. As time passed by, it kept changing. Drawing energy from events around me, and from me. Always draping itself with shades of sadness somehow familiar if I only dared to slip beneath the calm surface of the ocean that fills my heart.

Today, although transformed, it is just as pure and deep as the first time I read it. Today, it has many meanings, woven together, just like life’s tangled relations. And just like life itself, happy or sad, you just have to endure it:

Two planets meeting face to face,
One to the other cried ‘How sweet
If endlessly we might embrace,
And here for ever stay! how sweet
If Heaven a little might relent,
And leave our light in one light blent!’

But through that longing to dissolve
In one, the parting summons sounded.
Immutably the stars revolve,
By changeless orbits each is bounded;
Eternal union is a dream,
And severance the world’s law supreme.

Poem by Muhammad Iqbal, the “Poet of the East”, from “The Call of the Road”