For all my friends abroad who don’t understand Norwegian.
I grew up on an island at the end of the Oslo fjord. A bridge was built the year I was born in 1952, so I never had to go there by boat.
Yesterday on the island
This is the southern part of Norway where there are no high mountains or deep fjords, only soft landscape with water and sand washed stones and the blue sea. The place is very popular with people from the capitol and many come here in the summer to swim and stay in their summer houses.
The invasion of the summer tourists is when school holidays start and that is around midsummer, so we will have them here in a week’s time. Thousands of them, making all places crowded, queues in the shop while it’s almost empty one month before, noise from the sea where all the speed boats show how much the summer people are in a hurry, music and screams in the evening and grass trimmers during day time.
Also from yesteday’s walk
The best time of the year is not July, then it’s too busy, the best time is right now, June and May. We have long, white nights, the sun can be quite warm, grass is green and flowers are coming. You can go for a walk on the beach or in the forest without meeting anyone, it’s so quiet you can hear your own thoughts. The evenings are also quiet and the weather is gorgeous!
It is possible to take a swim but the sea is not very warm yet, so it is best to sit in the garden reading a book or watering the flowers. Or we admire the birds and butterflies. We have a lot of birds and right now they have small ones. The seagulls are screaming while protecting their children on the roofs or some of them have fallen down and walk around unprotected. We only wish we see them alive the next day.
The last weeks I have done exactly this, gardening and walking and watching the birds. I will show you some of the flowers now blooming here on my island.
While we can admire nature and have a lot of joy from watching the flowers grow, this is not the only thing that matters when living somewhere. Nature can be beautiful but it doesn’t help very much if your neighbor is an ass hole. To make a society we need people who want to have a society. The local societies have lost a lot the last 30-40 years.
When I grew up on the island there used to be 7 shops. You could buy almost everything you needed. Of course once in a while you had to go to town for something special, but on the whole people stayed in the neighborhood. There were also more jobs in the place. Very few people traveled a long way to get to work. There were handworkers of all kinds, shopkeepers, teachers, fishermen, boatbuilders, hairdressers, pilots and sailors.
There were a lot of organizations, clubs and societies where people met talking, playing and doing handwork. There were children everywhere playing in the gardens and on the streets because there were very few cars.
Last winter on the island
Nowadays many houses have been sold to summer guests, so in winter they are dark and empty, and many people go to the sun in the south during the darkest months, so the island is abandoned and you feel quite lonely there. You only wait for the lighter and warmer days.
The school is closed down, the post and the bank are gone and only one shop left which hardly survives. There are almost no children in the streets. They are either in kindergarten or in school and come home very late. It is quite empty everywhere.
When summer comes there are people everywhere for 4-5 weeks! But it is often that the summer guests behave as if they own the place looking down on others. That is very frustrating.
In our garden
So you see, we can enjoy nature but it takes people to make a society! The best thing is to have both beautiful nature and beautiful people all around!
Then we can join Harry Belafonte in singing:
This is my island in the sun
Willed to me by my father’s hand.
Have a good summer!