Prinsessa av Maze

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Det ligger en prins i dyp søvn, lagt i søvn av en ond fe. Han har ligget der over hundre år. En prinsesse må komme og vekke han. Mange har prøvd uten å lykkes. Hjertet hans er lukket inne i is. Rasjonalitetens is.
Nå er hun er underveis.
Fra vidda i nord har hun lagt ut på en lang reise. Med seg har hun sine stammødre som alle har sunget samme sang. At kjærlighet kan være en vei. Kjærlighet til naturen, til vannet som renner, bølgene som slår. Men ikke uten stolthet. Ikke uten kamp.
Stemmen hennes lyder på vidda, langs kysten, på fjellet. Først stille mens hun langsomt reiser sør. Over fjell og dype daler. Sakte stiger styrken.
Askeladden har ikke vært å se på lenge og ingen av hans hjelpere heller. Denne prinsessa må stole på seg selv. De hjelperne hun har hatt har kommet mest fra hennes eget folk. Som har tålt nød og hån og likevel holdt taket aldri gitt opp. Helt.
Skrinet hun bærer heter joik. Og joiken heter Maze fra kampen om den store elva.
Mari Boine har tint opp isen gjennom et langt artistliv. Med joiken Maze joiket hun elvas sak. Hele verden har hørt hennes stemme. Samisk språk og musikk har fått helt andre levekår gjennom hennes arbeid.
Med sangen «Elle» synger Mari om at isen holder på å gi etter, at elva snart er vårklar igjen. Kunne hun se dette komme?

«And so the spring river opened up again.
And so we let ourselves drift with the flood
the night of ice had to give in”

Ella har også brakt «Elle» i ny drakt på norske scener til ære for Mari Boines lange fruktbare arbeid.
Lørdag tinte Ella norske hjerter på sin reise for å vekke den norske prinsen. Kanskje kan joiken være med å vekke tilstrekkelig mange hjerter, både norske og samiske. Slik at også prinsens hjerte etter hvert kan tine slik at også han kan se hvilken verdifull arv vi alle har i landet grunnlagt på to folk.
Ella vil minne oss på den krafta man kan skape når så mange mennesker går sammen om en sak – som i Altasaken.
Klarer Ella å vekke prinsens frosne hjerte?
Vi trenger noen som kan vise vei til hvordan vi skal berge vår felles natur.

Sailing in Fog

I really don’t like fog at sea. It feels rather threatening to hear a ship pass by without seeing it. Specially at the ocean, where there are no place to hide. This time it was different.

This weekend we sat the sails for the outer coast of Tromsø.  The weather forecast was good, only some fog in the fjords in the morning. The many islands besides Tromsø are really fine areas, both for sailing and hiking. We invited a couple of friends and brought some good food on board and spent the whole day sailing around. After a good meal we enjoyed the sunset while we returned to the harbor where they had placed their car. We enjoyed the harbor and an early night.

I sleep so well in the boat and really like the mornings on board. When I woke up the fog had arrived. It was beautiful with sun coming and going.

20180909_070937After a trip on land we sailed inward of the fjord. Fog varied from really thick to just small traces. We could see at something called AIS if big boats or ships were coming, it was easy to stay away – we just followed near the coast. Underway we stopped to fish for our cats and for us.

The areas nearby Tromsø are our treasure chest, our golden places.We are so fortunate to have these opportunities.


Arctic Summer

20180731_135906What a release! This summer turned out better than I thought.
When summer arrives – or should arrive – in the north, I am always a bit afraid. How will it become this year? I really need some sun and summer heat – that means degrees past 20 Celsius – before winter hits again. In the Arctic areas summer is not predictable. Some years, like this June, snow decorated the mountains for many days. It was the worst June since 1959, rain nearly every day.My panic grew, I started to talk about Mediterranean, Portugal or Spain.

Then July came. And sun. She shone all day long – and night. We get so happy; we feel lighthearted and so blessed when the weather becomes like that. We went on a trip with our sailboat and explored areas not so far from Tromsø.

IMG_20180731_084521_735The most spectacular was to visit the outer coast with the ocean so calm. And for periods there was no wind, or the wind was warm. We did not need outer jackets! If you visit northern Norway in a period like this, you will meet nice and happy people doing strange things like fishing at midnight, talking to strangers, staying at the beach into late evening – and so on.

This type of weather is a result of high pressure over the Kola Peninsula, on the Russian side of the border. We even call it “Russian heat”. So I will thank our Russian neighbors for a summer that made me ready for a new winter. Thank You!

Driving through Iceland with Asgeir

When I arrived in Iceland for the first time, I was surprised. The light, all the sounds from birds, and the flowers – it was all well known. It was like coming home to northern Norway. But there was also more, something new, something unknown. Most spectacular was of course the strange boiling pits stinking of sulfur and the lava.

Iceland is also a part of the Arctic, placed besides Greenland, not so far from the icepack, the polar ice coming from the North Pole. Sealers from Norway sailed to Iceland when the weather became extreme. Isafjordur was the main harbour to return to from the West Ice, one of the main areas for seal hunting. Another connection between Iceland and Norway is the herring fisheries, a lot of Norwegian boats fished around Iceland for a long period.

© KASAVI ATS 14-2331

One of our camps with a beautiful view

We drove through the western and northern parts, up to Siglafjordur. On our way we bought a cd with the most popular musician at Iceland at the time, Asgeir. Listening to his songs now, brings me back to long roads, fjords surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and green slopes – and the light of June. The weather was marvelous; sun was shining the day through. We had brought our tent, some places we burned campfire. I use to say it is like northern Norway but on speed. Things sounded more intense.

For six days we drove, camped, ate fish dishes and visited museums. It is one of my best holidays ever. Reykjavik was a spectacular combination of a village at the countryside and a modern city. Their big conference hall, Harpa, is impressing in its architecture. We tried whale safari, that was not so impressing, minke whales we see often at home. My husband had arranged a meeting with an Icelandic boat builder in Siglafjordur. Joining a good dinner together, we learned that the most important things in Iceland are children, many of them, and owning land. Money they do not believe in anymore.
We will return some day, perhaps in wintertime.

© KASAVI ATS 14-2085

Blue sky almost every day

At Instagram you can follow great photographers based on Iceland @benjaminhardman is one of them. Take a look and don’t forget to listen to Asgeir




Me and the Holy Mountain

In an area where the amount of mountains is overwhelming it can’t be a surprise that they play an important role in our lives. The city of Tromsø is surrounded by mountains, and one of them plays a particular role. It is called Tromsdalstinden. Tind means peak, and it is one of the biggest with its 1238 meters above sea, lying near the center of the city.

tromsdalstind høst

Early autumn. Every time I cross the bridge I look right at the mountain.

Mountains can be the main reference point we relate to in our daily orientation. How is the weather, can we see the mountain today? It can contribute to create our living space both physically and mentally. Each year between 3000 to 5000 people write their names in a book on the top of this mountain. Several people have a goal to reach the peak’s top once a year. Tromsdalstinden is also a main subject for photography, laying there behind the city above all the houses. They echo each other, the city, the famous church and the mountain. Winter or summer, aurora, moonlight or midnight sun – this mountain is often situated in the photos. One photographer from the area one year took photos of the mountain every day and made an exhibition and a book afterwards, his name is Arvid Sveen .

For several years ago, people in Tromsø wanted to apply for the winter Olympics. In the program they would place the competition of the downhill slopes at Tromsdalstind. A story of Tromsdalstind as a Sami holy mountain appeared after a while. In Sami the name is Sálašoaivi, some of it means head, perhaps the main head in the area. The mountain had been a central part of the traditional Sami religion with offerings when passing by. It was a huge debate, but in Norway Sami stories is a valuable part of cultural heritage, even the intangible one. The downhill slope had to be moved. For many other reasons it never came to an application for the Olympics. But everyone now knows about the holy mountain.

tromsdalstind blå

Tromsdalstinden in December light

From my kitchen I see right at Tromsdalstinden. Every morning I look out and in some way say hallo. The world is the same, the mountains stand where they used to, my day can start and my life can continue as planned. I will not say this is the same for everyone, but nearly everybody relates to the mountains around us, talking about them, walking on them and looking at how the sun enter them. Many of us have our favorite ones. For now mine is Sálašoaivi.

Explore the Arctic Coast

I love these small houses along the coastline, often red or with traces of red. The oldest ones have no paint at all. And they are not all the same. Some places in Norway there is sort of a common style and architecture, but not in northern Norway. The main reason can be the Second World War. When the Germans withdrew from northern part of Troms and the County of Finnmark, they burned nearly everything, all houses, barns and boathouses disappeared. After the people was poor and they used what they could get, and just started to build the houses they needed.

naust Kvænangen

A small boathouse built after the Second World War

I try to find new angles when I take photos, but standing there it’s like they look right into my eyes, and they often happen to be placed right in the center of the photo. Slowly I try to move around them, perhaps there are new things to see?

In Norway it is not allowed to build huts or houses near the shore, the rule is to avoid the 100 meters closest to the sea. The red boathouses are popular to use as huts, standing so close to sea as possible. You can see some of them have got new facilities, their owners trying to avoid the rules.

morgenlys naust

Boathouse in early morning light

These boathouses are traces and echos of a long lasting culture of fisheries which made it possible to survive under these harsh conditions. Every man and some places also women fished for food and income. They took their boat out every day, rowed to the fishing area, fished and then rowed home again. The fish fed the people, in wintertime even their animals. You can see it as an underlying main pulse of these areas. Boats, boathouses, fish, rowing and sailing forth and back. Perhaps you can think of that when you see those boathouses lying there along the shore.

An ordinary Day in January

The weather has been as beautiful as it can be in the first month of the year up in the north. It is cold, from minus 10 to minus 20 degrees Celsius and clear sky. I try to catch it with my camera. There are so many moments through the day. The special morning light before the sun arrives, at sunrise of course and when the sun starts the sunset. It does not end there, evening light can be really special and for the clever ones, the northern light. I look outside all the time and try to plan where and when I will take photos because I can’t stay out all the time. I get exhausted and need to rest.

morninglight 1

Some days the colors are spectacular

Today I will go for the early morning light. Yesterday it was spectacular. I leave the warm bed, looking outside; take a decision – grab yoghurt and a cup of tea to go. North or south? In the south, there are some clouds, perhaps the red colors will arrive.


Reindeer besides the road

I drive to one of my favorite places and when I arrive a reindeer shows up. I stop the car and suddenly several reindeers come out of the forest. They group themselves beside the road. I try to take photos without scaring them away. Not exceptionally photos, but nice to be there. After a while they return to the forest and I take a stroll to the sea.

But I realize that the red colors will not show up. Try some shots anyway, perhaps some photos are ok. My fingers are cold and I pack up and return home.

Later this day I’m going to pick up our friends little boy after school. I show up a bit early, going to the shore to take some quick photos. I get a glimpse of an animal in the sea, it is an otter. He disappears, but when I’m standing there he returns. I realize he’s hunting fish. The little animal comes and goes through the water, jumps up and down. I try to catch him for about five minutes; luckily I get some good shoots. A bit out of air I go for the boy and we drive home.

What should the moral be? I feel privileged. On regular daily trips I can see reindeer, moose, eagles, otters and a lot of birds, perhaps a little hare. It is really good to know these creatures are living besides us, showing up now and then. And it is not so easy to plan what to photograph. Neither the sun nor the animals do as I expect and that’s the best, all the surprises through a day. Tomorrow is another day and new possibilities to explore more.


The Sun, my Father

In these northern areas sun has played a central role for living. And the most important is her absence. I call her a she, but in Sami culture the Sun is a he. In the autumn she slowly disappears, to November when she stays under the horizon until January 21th. Then the Polar Night rules the show. And in these times we can enjoy it to the

polar night 2

The blue light is typical for the polar night period

fullest. The pallet of pastels in the sky, northern lights and the moon coming and going.

People who lived before us struggled through wintertime. The most challenging for poor people living by the coast, was to have enough food – for themselves and for their cows and sheep. The animals were the assurance when fisheries didn’t go well, and the sheep gave wool to clothes necessary to survive in these areas. These people waited for the sun, and for spring. Times when weather conditions no longer were so harsh.

Polar night

polar night gives a special light

The Sami people have lived both at the coast and in the inland. Most well-known are the Sami living with their reindeer herds, moving from inland to the outer coast and back again each year. The coastal Sami lived by the coast all the time, used all resources nature could give.
Old Sámi faith, usually understood as shamanistic, had a spiritual leader, the noaidi. To communicate with gods, and spirits and do all the other stuff he could do, he had a drum which he used when he put himself into trance. The drum was the central tool for the noaide carrying out his tasks. On the drum each one had painted symbols. The sun was one of these symbols, and some drums have them in a central position of the drum.
Do you want to know more?

A famous Sami artist, Nils-Aslak Valkeapää (1943-2001), have made this poems called “The sun, my father” (Beaivi, Áhčážan). You can find him on you tube, reading poems and singing songs. reading in Sami singing the traditional Sami song called joik


He just waited

Sami and Norwegian people had and still have their lives in these northern areas. Some places they lived side by side, other places more separated. Sami and Norwegian, two different people also mixed together in a lot of different ways. The sun in the north, he – or she – is central for living here for all of us. We wait for her.
When she returns we have a celebration, a “sun day”. We even have these buns called sun buns. You will get fat if you eat too many, I promise.

Photographing Christmas Spirit

This night nearly half a meter of snow appeared. Wind stopped in the morning, a bit of bright sky showed itself so we could imagine light. Silence came; it’s a winter sound, when there is a fury blanket over everything.

morning in Polar Night

light comes in so many different colours

As an adult, I often think that the best part of Christmas is the time before. This dark month in northern parts of Norway has its own brightness. Preparing gifts, the traditional food and all the lights; candles, stars in windows, Christmas trees outside. Often the snow is perfect for a couple of days and we think that this will be perfect.

But nature is not always at our side, so Christmas Eve can be a rainy, stormy and not so peaceful experience. In that case this period before can show the real spirit of Christmas.

winter morning

someone have to move away all that snow

I’m not talking about buying gifts. It is this feeling who visits. In the morning when you look outside, or the cats jumping straight in again afraid to drown in the snow, I can have this glimpse of childish feeling, the joy for the gift of snow. It also carries memories of skiing; small feet skiing around the house.

So, I’m going for it and hope others do it too. Just enjoy, play along and celebrate the whole month, whenever nature shows the spirit, welcome it.

There is a saying that when all the women are baking, the heat from the ovens makes the weather mild a period before Christmas. So the cold white snow will not last. It’s of course also a typical coastal climate, these changes between cold and warm days. In the inner part of Finnmark, it is colder and more stable; there can be minus 40 degrees Celsius.

I’m running around taking photos everywhere, before the women bakes too much.

Looking for the God of small Things

The start

Brigde over to the little island Håkøya

When life sucks the medicine often offered is a daily hike. Of course, running, or fighting your way uphill with high pulse, everybody understands that the endorphins are going to cure bad mood. The calm little hike on the other hand, it is not easy to see how it is going to cure anything. But fresh air has been understood as medicine in both Norway and other countries in Europe from mid-20th century. Special sanatoriums of treatment offered patients with tuberculosis the fresh air of the Alps. Thomas Mann writes about it in the novel The Magic Mountain. The book stands in my library, never read. I know I should. But I think about the patients with tuberculosis who struggled to breathe, and decides to put on my clothes and get out.

Close by our house there is a nice little island where I often find myself head to. There is little traffic, the birdlife is awesome and a lot of horses are paddocked outside. And it is ok to just stroll away, not heading for any high mountain. The highest point of the island is about 100 meters above sea level. And in the seashore there are different stones making strange patterns. People are visiting and burning a campfire, perhaps grilling some sausages. It is a good place this little island. I have a separate category in my private photo gallery named by the island. My first photos I am a bit proud of are taken here.

The bridge

The old part of the bridge are graphical

The bridge over to the island, have both old and new parts. There are always new possibilities looking at the bridge, the light change it every day.

When days have been of the kind that the hike has been delayed and delayed, I have a window in my kitchen. In wintertime it gets kind of graphic. It’s a challenge to capture the pattern in the forest. I don’t think I’ve done it yet.

my kitchen window

An inspiration and a challengde