Høst

Høst 2017

Ennå er ikke snøen kommet i fjellene. Men de blir ofte vakrere når den gjør det.

Så er vi kommet dit igjen. En ny høst. Noen kaller det fortsatt sensommer, men her i nord vet vi bedre. Min samboer forteller ofte om sitt sjokkmøte med Tromsø – om snøen som kom 5.september – og ble liggende til våren. Så vi nærmer oss tiden for snøens uforutsigbarhet. Selv om det er svært sjelden at den legger seg til så tidlig. Ikke har det vært frost ennå, og det er så vidt antydning til gule kanter på bjørkeløvet. Lett sensommeravslappet, men blikket rettes mot fjellene hver morgen – har det kommet noe i natt?

Høsten er arenaen for nye begynnelser. I alle fall var det slik så lenge man var elev og student. Nye årganger, nye lærere, studier, studenter og steder. Jeg savner litt den stemningen. Asfalten som ble sortere av kald fuktighet, lyden av motorsykler, ungdommelig forventning. Nå må jeg huske å sette inn krukker og andre hageting som plutselig er borte om det skulle komme snø. Men jeg har ikke lyst. Vil gjerne klippe plenen lengre. Lenge. Rake litt, ruske opp i bedene. Denne voksenheten, å være forberedt på plutselig snøfall er litt kjedelig. Det var morsommere når jeg ventet på snøen for å få tatt i bruk skiene.

Jeg er usikker på om jeg skal bli i rutinene som sakte har blitt etablert etter vi kjøpte vårt eget hus. Ideen har jo vært å få ting i orden, få alt til å ligge på sin rette plass. Men det er noe livløst ved det, hvis alt faller til ro. Hva med denne høsten? Hva skal jeg tilføre den – eller hva kan den tilføre meg?

Kanskje skal ikke fokuset være å legge ting på plass. Kanskje skal vi heller lete etter nye plasser. Det nærmer seg 1.september. Da er det #nattinaturen

A Boat is placed on Land

My grandfather was a fisherman. He owned several boats. One of them had the name “Liljen” which means the Lilly, a beautiful boat, all his children loved it. Boats often get a special position in fishing families and my mother and her siblings were proud of this boat. Accidently it was hit of another boat and sunk. The next one was called “Solbris” – perhaps it can be translated as the wind blowing gently in the sun. But it was not of the same class of “Liljen”. My mother use to say; they turned their heads another way when they passed it, they meant it was too ugly. I grew up with that boat and felt familiar with it. I used to join my grandfather when he went to maintain the boat. We rowed to and from, checked if there was water inside. I was younger than five. We had a good time, me and my grandfather.

Winter

This boat was placed on land around 1990

He died suddenly when I was at the age of eight. Nobody had told me he was terminally ill with cancer. I was going to see him that day, but my mom told me he was too sick, I had to wait till he got better. There would be another chance. They left me home alone; some women in the neighborhood were going to look after me. I played around; I remember the weather was bright. It was not winter. They say it was in April. But for the most I remember me jumping up and down in the sofa, having fun, and the sound that appeared when the others returned. I did not understand it; I had never heard it before. My grandmother was crying in a terrible way. They told me and my world as I knew it fell apart. I did not get the possibility to say goodbye.

I love boats. Sailboats, wooden boats, small boats, big boats, ships, rowboats and so on. One of the coolest things I see is when fishing boats dock. It is cool when they do it gently; it is cool when they are in a hurry. Looking at handling boats, and ships, make my heart beat. Deep inside my dream is to dock a really big boat.

When I see boats standing on land, I get curious. What happened, who owned them, what where they used for? As a historian I can do research about that. Now I am also photographing them. I think they are beautiful. I really want to capture them, and I want the world to see their beauty. They have been workhorses as we call it in Norway. The relationship between men and their boats are in my interest. I have done some research about that. How does this kind of relationship develop when they are fishing or hunting in dangerous areas? For example polar areas with special strong storms and ice? I am not going to tell the answer, yet. Now I am searching for the story about this little boat.

Late autumn

We are all heading to the sunset of life

It is standing on land not so far from where I live. I visit it quite often.

A House by the Sea

Grøtfjord on the outher coast

The outer coast are not far away

When I grew up I always dreamt about a house by the sea. If I ever should buy myself a house, it should be with the wide ocean right in front of it. Behind the house there would be mountains. The best place, I thought, would be Lofoten. Not so far from where I grew up, on the other side of the fjord exactly, laid a shore where I could see myself living. I longed to sit in front of a house, my house, at the stairs, and see the midnight sun touch the horizon. It was the openness which attracted me.

I finished school, got jobs, moved several places in Lofoten, one of my favorite regions in Norway. The houses were all of them placed on the inner side of the archipelago with the view South, South West. But in the north, North West, the big ocean laid. Waiting.

I moved again this time to Tromsø and I have stayed here. I live in a house between trees. My view is great; I see mountains and a little fjord, and the sun when she appears. But it’s not the same. Every time I visit the outer coast and I can see the ocean, I feel ease. I can breathe easier, the smell is wonderful and my heart speaks of joy.

gult hus_Vannøya2

Dreaming of a house like this

The openness still attracts me. The outer coast is not far away, I could go more often.
We have some wonderful artists in Norway singing about life and living in the north. One of them is called Moddi. He sings a song called House by the sea.

You can listen here

Kald på nesen

Jeg har alltid, siden jeg var liten jente, kjent en spesiell glede ved vinteren. Det er noe med klarheten, som om verden står fram på en tydeligere måte. Og det aller beste er å være varm i hele kroppen, mens jeg er kald på nesen. Jeg hadde en saueskinnspose da jeg var lita, men det er vanskelig å si om det er denne gode kroppsfølelsen som sitter igjen, fra utetid i vogna. Jeg er født i januar, det kan være det, at januar er min grunnleggende følelse, av å komme inn i verden.

I alle fall har den vært med meg, jeg husker bestemor strikket ullbukse til meg, med fot. Den ble tatt på over strømpebuksa. Så ytterbuksa. I en periode, 8-9 års alderen, hadde jeg skaller. Jeg husker de ettermiddagene ute, fra middagstid og til kvelds, og denne totale varmen i kroppen, med kald nesetipp. Snøen som lavet ned, gatelys, brøytekanter, masse unger, lek. Den totale tilfredsheten når jeg kom inn og ble varm i kinnene.

Jeg kjente den i kveld, eller ekkoet av den. Kulden mot ansiktet, vind og snø, inne i en varm jakke. Gjennom byens gater, julelysene, bilene. Byen er et gode, jeg kjenner den som et gode, der man møter folk, på tross av ensomhet. Vi rusler rundt hver for oss, men deler disse gatene, inntrykkene, og er sammen. Jeg har ikke kjent byen som tomhet. Derimot husker jeg mørke kvelder, i regn eller snø, i ungdommen, hvor jeg gikk langs veier med lite gatelys. Ingen å se, ingen å møte. Å ikke ha noe sted å gå da, det var ikke godt. I byen er det steder å gå. Da kan man bære med seg disse minnene av velvære og ikke la ensomheten bli total. For her er lys, her er det folk.

winter storm

Mennesker er på vei til og fra

Så en vinterkveld i desember kan jeg gå ensomheten av meg i byens gater, forsøke å fotografere snøen som kommer vannrett på julelysene. Gå innom Narvesen og bla gjennom rekker av tidsskrift, lese halve og hele artikler, og til slutt bestemme meg for et. Der i lesningen kan jeg også kjenne at jeg møter mennesker, at jeg blir berørt, at mine tanker ikke er alene. Det er en takknemlighet over at det er noen der. En ekspeditør, skrevne tanker, mennesker i vinden.

Lilly, my Grandmother

She was a special lady, my grandmother. I lived with her several years in my childhood, and she gave me the feeling of being special. She had delivered 10 children, two of them died, a girl after three days, and her eldest son in his youth, because of diabetes. Lilly was her name, a hardworking lady at a little farm, typical type for northern Norway, small with lean soil. It was located close to Lofoten.

Every time I make a traditional soup called “kjøttsuppe” perhaps translated to “meat soup”, with vegetables and beef or pork, I think of her. Food was her way of showing care and tenderness. Her children are telling stories about her, how she baked eight breads every morning before the rest of the family got up. She was a strong woman, joined her husband fishing prawns at sea, and they worked on the land through the night because the daylight was for fishing.

Lilly 1

Lilly, my grandmother, delivered 10 children and got 15 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren so far.

My grandmother represents the women of northern Norway, poor but strong, hardworking ladies, giving birth to a lot of children. Then they had to fight to keep them alive. Often they had to manage the children and the animals alone. The men left for different type of fisheries through the year; summer, autumn and winter fisheries. Especially the winter fisheries lasted for several months and this time of year was the hardest one to manage both for humans and animals.

I feel so humble for this history, for their efforts to bring us to live, we who came after.
She loved her potatoes, in special a local type from northern Norway called “Gulløye” (“golden eye”). When she got old I used to help her take up the potatoes. I look back at the memory with a smile in my heart.

To honor her we have named our sailboat “Lilly”. The boat has a kind of same attitude of strength and robustness as my grandmother, both in a gentle way. She died right at the start of year 2000, a few hours into it, and had lived nearly through the 20th century. I made meat soup yesterday and thought of her.

 

 

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

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 21.th 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? http://www.saivu.com/web/index.php?giella1=eng

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qjF6qAMvys reading in Sami
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efu-tnZt_mU singing the traditional Sami song called joik

Reindeer

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.

The Norwegian Hike

When Sunday arrives many people find their way out in nature. So do we. Taking a walk and eating lunch outside is a Norwegian way of mindfulness. We love being outside. In the last twenty years it has also become normal to climb the highest mountains both summer and winter, especially in the north where there are a lot of mountains.

But a little hike can also do, happily with a little campfire to eat besides. This Sunday we did that. I texted a friend to ask if they were going anywhere. They were already on the go and we followed in their track. The day was winter clear; with the arctic light we are so fond of here in the north. A bit of snow covered the ground, after some rainy days it was hard, called “skare” – crust.ice

Following a path or walking along a small road is the easiest and most comfortable thing to do. Not to day. We found the way where our friends had parked and went along. A little stream flowed besides the road, and some ice had started to cover it. After a little while we had to leave the road, and walk over a frozen swamp. In my younger days I walked a lot in the mountains, young and strong we just went through any obstacle of vegetation or scree, which there are several places. Now it was long time since I left a road, and the crust wasn’t strong enough to carry us all the way. But I loved it. I went in the state of mind focusing to get through the area, all the other things in my head left. I can’t guarantee it, but I think this is one of the things with the Norwegian hike; we walk through our messy brains. When we arrive at our lunch stop, we also arrive at a place of greater silence.

mountain and the fjordAnd most central – we are very fond of the view. It is a well-known thing to everyone living in Norway. We seek higher places or places where we can see the ocean. Then we breathe a little easier.

It was nice meeting our friends. Minus 10 degrees Celsius made it a bit cold, and we missed our camp fire. We had too few matches, and our proudness got a break when we didn’t get the fire to burn. We decided to go home to eat some apple cake and drink another cup of coffee.

over the frozen swampThe dog ran around enjoying dog life, we strolled quietly back along our tracks. The sky was photogenic so I had to stop a lot.  It is difficult to capture the beauty of the sky, and the bit of sun that stroke over the mountain top.

I seldom use a tripod, even if my photographer in the house is telling me to do so. I love the easiness of just taking quick photos when passing along. This autumn I decided to buy a camera, just a tiny one called Cannon GSX. I am still trying to learn how to treat it. The camera on the phone is easier. But I will learn more. And in the dark period where the light is of most interest, it is necessary with this tripod. So I am going for it.a house by the sea

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.

Muffins and Stuff

Blueberry muffin

Sometimes they get perfect

They are English, muffins. And I did really not grow up with them. They are not under my skin or learned by heart. They get too wet or too dry. It is easier to bake bread. We do that, at least some of us, in Norway, bake bread. I’m good at that, but muffins? And scones? Not so easy either.  I’m still trying. And my man, he has to eat them, him and his friends at work.  I like the blueberry muffin type best, and something named lunch muffins, salty ones with cheese ham and some vegetables. They were both a part of my “how to learn photography” project. I went to it like a former PhD- student.

Preparing a good meal is central for us and dinner is the highlight of the day. I and my man do not quite agree when the dinner should be, but I decide since I’m making it. We have grown up with some traditional Norwegian food, me and my companion. “Fish and potatoes” is a saying here. We still make dinner with cooked potatoes, and we like fish in several ways. One of them is cod, salted overnight. Slightly salted we call it, and we have bacon next to it and something we call “gulrotstuing”, carrot in white sauce (béchamel). But this kind of traditional normal food is not so photogenic, (not at all says my good friend from Finland), so I have no photos. We just eat. On the other side, when I invite friends, I make it more delicate. Tapas are a great thing, with focaccia.

Tapas

When my friends are visiting I try to dress up the food

Photographing food is a work of patience. After a while I understood that all the spectacular photos of food weren’t taken with a mobile camera.

Now, when Christmas is heading up, we eat this “lutefisk”. There is no English word, and we just love it. It is cod, treated with – lye – I think the English name is, and then washed in running water (sounds terrible, I know). We cook it in the oven and have a lot of stuff besides. The last years the dish has been very popular at restaurants in the town Tromsø. If you visit, you should give it a go, but perhaps be prepared to get used to it slowly.

Lutefisk

Norwegian delicacy, cod, potatoes, pea stew, carrot, bacon, mustard