When I say chilling, I mean Nothing. Let me relent here because there are the basic functions of living to be considered. Breathing, eating, checking into the loo and the works. Then there is the glorious prospect of gazing dreamily into the fjords beyond the windows, sighing from time to time, because you could live with such a view for a long time. As long as you lived.
Add a lifetime’s supply of books, coffee, tea, husband, hikes and two dogs. Now did I just describe Els’ life?
But before you get down to the art of perfecting nought, there is a condition that has to be met. The weather gods will have to conspire to make the heavens burst asunder till you will have no option but to sit tight within. If you are in a cottage by the fjords would you even consider complaining about thunders and showers?
The first day of our Norwegian vacation was about sparkling blue skies adorned by billowing clouds. As a cloud chaser, I could not have asked for a better start to the vacation. The second day materialised into an overwhelmingly grey one. That dirty, washed out hue which can only cast equally grey shadows upon the mind. But happiness is a state of the mind. Here I shall quote Anne (of the Green Gables) whose words firmly stuck in my teenage mind as I was growing up: “It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” You do need inspiration to make light of the weighty moments in life.
But you shall need to give into sadness and woe too because those are inescapable emotions, isn’t it? What kind of a person would you be if you did jigs at a funeral? (Which makes me think that I would indeed want people want to dance at mine, tuck into a pile of good food and drink away. In death too, it would be good to know that I have not left sadness behind. Life is too short to allocate enough time to ennui and glumness, is it not?)
Leaving thoughts of mortality behind, it is a Sunday after all, and I do not want to make you too contemplative on a day that should be about just nothing really, it is a rare feat to achieve nothing on a holiday. I have rarely indulged in that wonderful feeling and it felt grand. Delicious.
We had to step out in the morning and get a fair chunk of groceries beneath those leaden skies because realisation had rapidly set in upon us during our time in Stavanger. Eating at the cottage and taking packed lunches for our drives were going to be part of the essential ritual of eating in Norway, unless we wanted to head back home as paupers with our heads in our hands. There is that little matter of subsisting upon a pittance for the rest of the month once you get back home. But there needs to be careful planning to have even that pittance at hand.
The mists swirled in and around the bridge like wraiths smoking their way through, parts of the bridge often disappearing behind them. Nature is such an effortless magician. The sight that morning reminded me of the first time I laid my eyes upon the Eiffel Tower on an autumn’s morning, when only the top of the tower loomed in upon me, above a sea of mist. The waters of the fjords looked mysterious. A uniform sheet of leaden blue.
Right, time to scamper back to the cottage, after we had armed ourselves with a decent stockpile of food from the store nearby. There was the added incentive of demolishing a large cache of organic chocolates I had amassed at the store. Those chocolates count high on my list of best chocoholic experiences. They were expensive and Adi did grumble, but later, how he ate his words as he gobbled the bars up with lasciviousness equalling mine.
Upon our return to the cottage, we were greeted by the sight of a cute little pot of mint and a couple of organic eggs with a hand-written note. A welcome breakfast thought from Els. If you have not added mint to your omelette, you would not know the fragrance it adds to the fluffy piece of goodness. We went about a brunch laden with hot dogs and eggs, all the while facing the fjords so as not to lose out on the changing landscape that unfolded right before the eyes. Adi watched movies on the ipad while I sat and read, looking up from time to time to soak in the unreality of it all.
Then came the best part of the day. Els dropped by with organic chicken from her farm. She sat for a couple of hours, her legs folded up on the sheepskin rug upon the couch, and we chatted. It is rare to come upon with individuals who you can achieve a connection with so easily. She was one of that breed, highly unconventional, a bit flighty, a bit wise and a bundle of quirks. We shared confidences during that time to the tune of a few cups of tea, discussing husbands, the importance of fighting in a relationship, meeting the loves of our lives, hiking, travelling and then reflecting upon the art of how to go about making this one life we have a wonderful happy place to be.
Giving into the whims of nature is not quite a bad idea as it turned out.