The Sunday Nature Call, uke 36
The slickers were donned, Meghan made a hasty trip to buy rain pants for the boys, and life went on in Oslo like nothing happened. “It rains, get used to it.” Children play in the trees and grassy area between our flat and the school (because that’s how close we are, literally there is only trees and grass between the flat and the school). With all the recesses, we get to hear and see plenty of excitement during the day. And on a rainy day, we still here and see plenty of excitement because they are outside. In Iowa, it would be an indoor recess; here it is just not even a question, “everybody does it.”
We attended the parent open house earlier this week. One of the reminders was to send your child with a change of clothes. One, the teachers expect students to have full rain gear because they will be going outside. Two, even with all that kit, the teachers also predict that enough students will be so active and enthusiastic playing in the rain that they’ll get soaked anyway.
Ask someone where they are from vis-a-vis the weather and you will get some sort of bragging about how tough the locals are: Georgians handle the humidity like no one else, Minnesotians brave the cold, in Maine they laugh at Nor’easters, and so it goes. I used to think that Iowans were pretty hardy and had cause to be humble but proud about their ability to deal with the weather.
Maybe we are. But you’d think our kids were made out of sugar the way we keep them inside when it rains. Kids learn a lot of things in school. Here, I think they learn that rain is just “liquid sunshine” to quote a Boy Scout leader I had. In Iowa, I wonder if kids equate rain with legos and bored games?
Week 36 Tally:
Rødstrupe (Erithacus rubecula)
Bofink (Fingilla coelebs)
Toppmeis (Lophophanes cristatus)
Names, what do they mean? What is a Robin? Says who? The delightful reference book i’m using from the apartment’s collection had the Toppmeis genus as Parus, Ornothologists have since changed it due to DNA. Last Sunday I sat under Linneaus’ tree, I think he would be pleased that the advance of science has displaced some of his claims.
I heard from the fly-over people that it was hot and humid in the Midwest. The heat got so bad that many schools let out early or canceled the day. We’ve worn some wool off and on this week in Oslo. I feel your pain.
The rainy streak has broken. Clearing skies yesterday afternoon promised a perfect day today, and the promise was delivered. What a cap to the week. And to physically cap the week, we capped Olso by going up the mountain for a hike. The forest was pulsing with people. Old people with trekking poles, ladies dressed remarkably well for strolling in the woods, families pushing prams and little kids riding scooters that you woudn’t think could get back so far.
I thought we would hike to inspect Oslo Vinterparken as a preview for the snow season, but our wanderings took us down another path. The path we strode will be groomed and illuminated for cross-county skiiers when the time arrives. The boys kept diving for the blueberry bushes for just one more taste of summer. I was there to hike. The compromise became a stroll instead of a forced march. I need to relax.
Just about when there was becomming the rumblings of disent and a desire to return, I was able to lure the little walkers on with the possibility of hot chocolate. I just had a feeling we were close to a back area ski hill cafe. I thought about all the very causal looking walkers in this area and that there must be some drawn, some destination with something to eat. Oh course that’s a dangerous stereotype to make in Oslo.
My hunch paid off and we arrived at Tryvannstua; a sod-roofed collection of alpine buildings set on a little lake at a ski lift. If I imagined a cool little place to get a coca back in the mountains, I would have fallen short of this reality. Coca for the boys and to share, a roll and traditional waffle with strawberry jam. The walk out was mostly up but bouyed by our refreshments. There were no complaints.
The hike out did get me thinking more about walking and being. There is a sense of a place you capture on foot that cannot be equaled by other means. The awareness is more ancient and abiding. I will devote a future Sunday Nature Call to this topic, John Muir will be our guide.
I now can see the sunset from our terrace, last night I recorded it at 293º magnetic, where will it fall in December? Our first day in Norway had 16:36 of daylight, today will be 13:43. This has been a dramatic change that will only continue. I am ready for the Blue Time.
Looking ahead, looking up, and keeping my pencil sharp. -jlh