Monday, March 3, 2014


It’s been a prolonged winter where I live, and ennui is setting in. It’s also been six months since we returned from our trip along the Norwegian fjords. These seemingly unrelated thoughts bumped into each other this morning while I was rereading the journal I’d kept during that trip.

There was so much that grabbed my imagination as we slowly cruised past snow covered mountains enshrouded in clouds. It was easy to see how the Norsk myths evolved. Stories of Thor, the tales of the Tomten, other beings who may be friends, lovers, foes or family members of the gods — there’s no doubt in my mind that these stories, like those of other cultures, served a purposel beyond explaining nature's mysteries. They also entertained on long, lonely nights in isolated communities. 

My own imagination was fueled by the many small villages we passed. What must it be like to be a young wife here? So much of what I take for granted — easy access to coffee shops, theaters, parks, bookstores — are hundreds of miles away for families who live along Norway’s  fjords. Before the advent of the internet, email and Skype, how did these folks get flour? toilet paper? meds? I know supplies were brought in by packet boat on a regular basis, but what did the housewife do when she discovered she needed (fill in the blank here)? They didn’t (and still don’t) have the luxury of a grocery store 10 minutes away.

So what has this to do with my ennui which, I’m certain, is directly related to our currently unforeseeable spring? Why can’t I be like those stalwart Norwegians? I can’t imagine them sitting in front of a gas fireplace reading for four hours at a time or, even worse, staring into space while chores pile up. But then, my chores are hardly anything that have to be accomplished before the end of the day…or even the week. Prep a canvas? Clean my studio? Not likely; not right now. Even dinner can be put off; after all, I live within a 15-minute drive of some darned good restaurants, and area grocery stores have remarkable deli's.

I’m certain that not all of those hardy fjord-inhabiting folks soldier on with no complaints, but obviously enough of them do in order to keep the fish farms, etc. going. Perhaps their secret lies in the fact that what they do is essential; I’m not so sure that what I do fits that category.

There’s an answer here somewhere; with any luck I’ll find it when I’m no longer living in Narnia. (By the way, I’ve been looking up the temperature in Kirkenes, Norway, which is within the Arctic Circle. It’s been warmer there than in Minneapolis. Go figure.)

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