Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Could it be magic?

Tjøme, 3am, July 5, 2013
As we get closer to the middle of July, we get closer to Norway and the magic island I've spent almost every summer since I was born. Its mythical status dwells in the heart of my brother and me, although my cousin and mother and aunt no doubt feel the same way but are less inclined to admit it. For them, it's a summer house, a summer place, for me it's long days and pink and white nights and warm rocks and picnics and wildflowers and magic. As a child, I would dream of bringing my dogs there, and still now that would be the only way to make it even more perfect. (The truth is, it often rains for days on end, with no let up, and there are slugs out en masse, and one can often wake up to a sea of orange brenn-manet (jelly fish) or the sea is far too cold to swim in, even for old Vikings like us). There are little pine beds with simple white cotton sheets and pale blue seersucker duvet covers. There are shelves of books - Somerset Maugham, Agatha Christie, Martin Amis, Zadie Smith, the Brontes. There is the sound of the seagulls on the roof at three in the morning, spitting out cherry pits or digging through bags of shrimp carcasses we've accidentally left out the night before. There are picnics of hardboiled eggs and kaviar and shrimps and firkløver chocolate. There is a place on the other side of the island, near the world's end, with more kinds of wild flowers - vetches and daisies and orchids and tiny red raspberries - than anywhere else in Norway. There are endless pine woods and blueberries and tiny green lucky sorrel you can suck on for a refreshing sour taste in the middle of a walk. And it smells like saltwater and strawberries.

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