Thursday, June 23, 2011

Midsummer in Norway

Today was the day when the Norwegians celebrate midsummer with bonfires on the beach and staying up late into the night.  The sun sets at 10:45pm and rises at 3:45am which means that there isn't much darkness at all, just a little bit of midnight blue sky, a sort of Jean Muir blue, illuminated with still-pink clouds, some stars perhaps, the shimmer of bioluminescence in the Oslo fjord.

looking out across Grimestad bay, late evening

My mother is in Norway now, in the little house on the island, just down the hill from the house where my grandparents spent their summers, and close to the place that their parents had a summer house at Fjærholmen on Nøtterøy.  The life is pretty much the same as it was a hundred years ago with its simple days, spinning for cod off the rocks, putting out nets in the early morning, finding lobsters in our pots if we're lucky, swimming in the cold, blue sea, making picnics and taking them out in the boats for trips to the little grey islands that hug the coast.

I found some old movies on vimeo two days ago of a family I don't know, but their summer life is much the same as my grandparents was. The films are lovely -- an elegant, tall woman with short, wavy curls, who smiles into the sun, and her husband, a joker, with his bald head and his proud display of fish, and their two little girls basking in the Norwegian summer sun, swimming in the sea, and driving their boat around sunny granite islands.  I was surprised at how attached I became to these people, their simple, happy life, the way they enjoyed themselves. And later on, twenty or thirty years later, we find them in California, on Sunset Blvd. and Palm Springs, visiting their children who have moved there, still elegant, still smiling.


LPC said...

Oh last July I spent a week in the Swedish Archipelago. It was one of the most concentrated experiences of beauty I have ever had. Your post reminds me. I am almost afraid to watch those videos.

Michelle Trusttum said...

Wonderful images, Miss W. We all need a bit more of that in our lives. Hope you are well. Michelle x