Coded green.

Wednesday 1 November 2000


Pic of the day: The ferry approaches my childhood's village.

Moving on

In the morning I left the home of my oldest brother, where I have stuffed myself on tasty food and slept for 8 hours or more each night. He and Sis-in-law dropped me at Førde Bus Station on their way to work. I planned to take the 10:30 bus to Dale, which we after much pondering had found to be the first. On the bright side, this would leave me over 2 hours to shop in the province capital.

This was of course not to be. Being me, I was immediately drawn to a touch screen near the front door. It claimed to provide route information, and told me that a bus for Dale was leaving in 5 minutes! I looked; and lo! there was a bus, marked "Dale", waiting nearby. After the 5 minutes, a driver came. "You'll have to change bus in Bygstad" he warned me. "I assume you have checked what time it goes."

The bus turned out to be a school bus in disguise, ending at a yellow- painted school out in the countryside. I was advised to enter the only other bus there, a combined bus and lorry actually. Probably it had brought children to the school from the opposite direction. "Do I get to Dale this way?" I asked. "Some time today" the driver replied, smiling.

We drove a little past what I supposed was the center of Bygstad (a small shop) and stopped by the roadside near a small farm by the fjord. There was a quay, and the bus driver (now lorry driver) told me that another bus would come and pick me up "with time". (I guess that was what he had called about on his mobile phone.) And so he started loading goods in the back of the car, which was perched precariously on the soft shoulder of the road. It seemed to me that at any moment it might roll sideways down the slope...

But at a suitable time, an empty bus arrived for me. This was now the third bus that seemed surprised to find an actual passenger for Dale. I guess this is not a heavily trafficked route. And I can see why: The road was cut into the sheer vertical mountainside as it dives into the deep fjord. It is narrow enough for a modern bus even if alone on the road. When occasionally we met a car, it had to wait for us at one of the small "pockets" along the road, hewn out for just this purpose. Lucky thing we did not meet another bus or a lorry...

But eventually we arrived in Dale. I had an hour to catch the next ferry. This was no sorrow; I bought plenty of yoghurt so I know I have that. And I also bought a deodorant and matching shaving gel. (I ran off without my Gucci Rush personal hygiene series too. They didn't have that here, so I settled for something cheaper.)

I also stopped by the library. Long time readers may remember that this was where I, at the onset of puberty, read up on the theory of human sexuality and found several intriguing differences from the goats. Always useful to know. -Now in all honesty, this wasn't my first contact with a library: My family have been avid users of public libraries for as long as I can remember.

Arriving at the ferry itself, I was struck with even stronger sense of familiarity. Many shops have moved or been replaced since I went to school in Dale, but the fjord remains the same. And probably will, a hundred thousand years after all our houses are gone.


Leaving the ferry, I once again set my feet on the soil of Rivedal, the indomitable village where I grew up (at least physically) till I moved out at the age of 15. I still have rather mixed emotions about the place, but it was certainly a special feeling to be there again. I started walking - the farm is only ca 3 km from the ferry. And soon I saw the mountainside that looms over my childhood home. I have lived in the shadow of the mountains for 15 years, and you may still see it sometimes, I guess.

Still, it was a thrill to see the first glimpses of the place that was my home. Almost every step of the way was filled with memories, most of them still inaccessible to me, but flitting around the edges of my mind like ghosts of dreams dreamt long before you wake. As I came closer, I could see changes, on the neighboring farms and my brother's. Oh yes, there is quite a bit of change, and yet some things remain. The old and the new. An almost unconscious continuity. I am more acutely aware of it now than I ever was before.


And then I was "home". I met my youngest brother outside. His wife was inside entertaining a female organist from Russia; but that's a long and entirely irrelevant story. It is just so typical of her. Anyway, I am here. And I have been thinking. (I have also been taking photographs. But all in due time, I hope.)

The young couple lives mainly in the new rooms that are added to the house on the west side. The old rooms where I ran around during my childhood are still very much like they used to be. Some change, but much unchanged. There we have it again. Life is like that, and I felt it particularly as I walked the now empty rooms. I may like to think that I am the end product of history, the final answer, the goal and meaning of it all. But it ain't so. Life goes on, and as one generation lies on the brink of death, another is screaming for milk. The trees that my grandfather planted seem to be about ready to cut now. The children who grow up now will not remember him, and the large conifers will have always been there, mysteriously appearing together in a large patch by themselves.

We continue to build on the generations that walked this earth before us; and in time, other generations will walk here after us. (Unless the Large Hadron Collider succeeds in creating a microscopic black hole and it decides to not evaporate spontaneously. But you already know that, I hope.)

I am an optimist - I think I have reason to be. Each generation comes a little further, climbs a little higher, on the shoulders of those who came before them. This is as it should be. It may be that I shall never take a direct part in continuing the biological chain of life, the fire from dawn of time that burns in each living being and compels us to strive further and bring it on. Be that as it may, I cannot avoid seeing it all around me. All around me, flowing through time, a river of sparks.

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