Depending on which quadrant of the sky you choose to look at, the weather could go either way today. Suggestions have ranged from thunderstorms to clement, sunny weather. We have ominous dark clouds to the south of us, clear blue skies to the north, and east, towards Sweden marbled mackerel skies.
The crows have taken over here, but they might be rooks or jackdaws. They make different sounds to those in California, more "blah blah blah" and less "took, took, took". We see magpies too, and I shoot each one with two fingers, because I can't remember whether you're supposed to kill them or salute them in order for their magic to be mitigated. Yesterday, when I walked the dog (my cousin's dog, a two and a half year old brown and white Jack Russell) four of the mischievous creatures flew across my path, and criss-crossed it for a while, as we walked, swooping, hopping, landing in trees and hopping from branch to branch, zooming each other. Four for a boy, I sang, in my head.
The roads and paths are flanked with wild raspberries, and blackberries not yet ripe. Lower down, tiny bilberries and strawberries. Bees buzz in the sycamore flowers. Underfoot, there is chamomile, the spongey yellow flower heads give off that familiar scent when you squeeze them between thumb and forefinger. At first I saw only one or two plants and then I realized that they create a carpet, in cahoots with the pink clover, which springs back as you step upon it.
In Hulebakk on the way towards Engo, is the old farm. There are still the old white greenhouses and the houses with the glassed-in conservatories. Most are painted white or yellow, the ochrey yellow that the Norwegians favor in their summerhouses, just a shade away from aged pine. One house is different. It has a kitchen window framed in colored glass, small rectangular panes of color around the edge of the window. The garden is full of fruit trees, apple, and pear so abundant that you fear they'll merge into each other as they grow, poppy-colored roses, yellow lilies, purple butterfly bush, verbena, climbing white yellow-white hydrangea. Behind it, a gauzy, green meadow. I imagine two painters live in this house, or more, a family of them perhaps. My daughter has inherited my habit of staring and I have to check myself from staring as I walk past this house. There is something ancient about it. That is all I can say.
At six or seven at night, Norwegian families congregate by the sea, on the jetties, or in deckchairs on the coarse sea grass. It is warm in the evenings, before the sun dips behind the hill. Our house is closer to the hill and so we lose the sun behind the shadow of the house at about eight. Out on the water, it is warm and still. There is a formality to our evenings that makes me wonder whether there is a magical, sunlit hour we've missed out on. From seven o'clock onwards we are invested in making supper, laying tables, washing lettuces & the Maharishi starts his magical pasta sauce, the one that invovles grated carrot and celery and tiny squares of red pepper, and bacon from a piece of pork belly, which melts in the pan. There is cold wine on the table, bowls of crisps, a jar of wildflowers on the table, picked by the girls. There are wet suits and wet towels hanging on the railing, queues for the shower, American music, pictures to be taken.