Last night I went to a friend´s birthday party. I came home around midnight, got a ride home with one of the other women there, she stopped down the main road behind our house and I walked the few meters up the small hill, in through the gate to our garden. It was then I heard the sound, the sound of hundreds of geese. One in the lead honking eagerly.....does the goose honk or whay? First one, then more, then a lot answering as they came closer. Soon the air was filled with the noise. A lamppost made some light agains some low white clouds, and all of a sudden I saw the first plow, flying just over my heads.
Three years ago the migrant birds passed our house on my birthday, at the very same hour as my guests arrived. You can read about it here. One year ago we followed the migrating swans and geese in Iceland. Last night, as we set our watches on summer time, I was outside at midnight, an hour when I "always" sleep, and there they were. The migrant birds.
I have a special "signs of the seasons"-notebook. I will write in it today. And I have a stack of migrant bird books, William Fiennes The Snow Geese, Scott Weidensaul´s Living on the Wind, Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, and Edwin Way Teale´s North with Spring.
Happy Sunday. If you want me today, you´ll find me with my nose in a book.
It is still only March, a winter month in Norway, but the weather is sunny and mild, and when I walked through the cathedral park this morning, I discovered that the blue scillas are already blooming. I walked on a blue blanket, trying to make myself light as a feather.
Grandma Olga´s garden was painted blue in spring, with scillas. My love for blue started already when I spent time there as a little child. And also as I grew up in Blåklokkeveien, Bluebell Street.
My energy level is low these days. Working 50% feels like carrying an overweight suitcase.It felt good to leave the suitcase behind and walk on the blue carpet.
Spring is always eariler at the cabin than at home. Situated in a southfaced hillside, on the western coast, the snow melts fast, nature wakes eariler. The birds know this, and these days, being in the cabin garden is like being inside a symphony.
I don´t know enough about birds. My father is the bird master, and when he is out here, he can tell the different types by their singing.
My most important knowledge is that I love their songs, their singing. They can wake me up at 3am, when the nordic May day is starting to fill with light. I try to stay awake to listen, but it turns out to be a perfect lullaby. The next thing I know I am awake again and it is morning.
By the way, Hanneke has a lovely blog about her travels in Northern Norway. You find it here.
The Snow Geese. So many different books in one. The author travels from Texas up to the Arctic tundra, following the snow geese. It is about the author´s way back to life after struggling with illness. It is filled with information about migrant birds. It is a travel tale.
I learn so much about migrant birds and their amazing lives. I really had no idea!
By the way, going back and forth between the cabin and The House in the Woods these days, give us spring, my favorite season, twice :-)
Spring came over night. No more icy, snowy, slippery, sandy, dusty pavements.
I feel it in every one of my ten toes. They do happy dance steps while the rest of me tries to follow.
What a difference a world without ice means.
I celebrated by running out in a break to buy myself a new pair of shoes. Nothing fancy. But perfectly comfortable. For my heals. For the front of my feet. For every single toe. For the whole of big me!
These days the island is filled with migrant birds. I guess there are loads of different types, but the ones we see are swans and geese. Thousands of them.
The life of migrant birds fascinates me. Can you imagine. Twice a year they embark on a tour longer and harder than any of us can think of.
Seeking the best conditions for their lives.
We see them all the time here in Southern Iceland these days. When we are out walking, from the car, or outside the window, towards the sky when we eat dinnet at night, or breakfast in the morning.
When we drove back home from Geysir and Gullfoss yesterday, there was a lonely swan walking in the middle of the road. Luckily the roads are straight here and Terje had time enough to brake down.
Today we will follow the migrate birds´excample, and drive north. But first a few hours towards east.
My nose and I spent some time awake during last night, keeping each other company as we do most nights. I used the opportunity to read a few emails, and smiled when I got an amazon gift certificate from Øystein.
When we left at Easter, the flower beds were covered in more than 50cms of snow. When we came back four weeks later, the daffodils were blooming. The first two days I did nothing in the garden, ok, day two rain was pouring down, so there were not much to be done anyway, but on day one I just walked around, loving the ruffy, stubborn garden just as it was.
The old stones carefully put together to make walls for our flower beds, branches fallen from nearby trees, bulbs sprouting through the still cold spring soil, simple melodies of yellow, blue and purple.
Creations of art. Stilleben by Mother Nature.
The flowerbeds share the property with us. I started to make them already the first year the cabin was ours, 13 years ago. Now they lavish us with colours and beauty every spring, summer, autumn.
I have plans for more beds, more primulas, more roses, more herbs........but no hurry. At Rastarbo everything happens in her own time. And nature is so wisely made. When she waits for us to fulfil our plans, she offers her own carpets of colours.
White anemones in early spring. My childhood's favorite flower.
The beds are all weeded now. And before we lock up the cabin to go back home later today, I will add natural fertilizer and more soil as a farewell for now gift.
We did a long walk last night. Give me a few weeks out here, and I would and up fit as a fiddle, with just as much music in my strings.
The birds are always most active in the morning and at night (I was awake at 3am one night, it was almost dark outside. I lay awake in my bad for a long time listening to the birds symphony) I had been reading Frances Mayes' Bella Tuscany during the rain earlier in the day, and remembered one of her sentences:
Dense ficus trees along a walkway bordering the water are home to thousands of birds singing their evening doxology (Frances Mayes on Sicily) I have no idea what doxology means, and google translate could not help me, but the words fitted anyway ;-)
You must live through the Nordic winter to know what spring is. Really know. Year after year with long, dark, icy cold months. Telling yourself again and again that winter can be beautiful. Fleeding the darkness for a week. Counting days till spring.
Two weeks ago I was sure the snow in our garden would never melt. Never. Marta's confirmation is coming up the 14th of May. We will have a big party and I want The House in the Woods to look its best. That day. And always. "Terje, the snow in The Blue Garden is never going to melt this year. Everything will be gray, dirty and dead on Marta's Big Day."
Then, wonder over all wonders........of course I know that's the empty grave on Easter Morning, but for the sake of my blog post.........wonder over all wonders.....Saturday was a glorious day and when the night came, all the snow had melted.....well, almost, and wil a little help of my man.
Sunday came with lovely sun and almost summer temperatures. and Monday was perfect for more garden work. Now it is starting to look like the garden I dream of out there, the dream I garden.....
In between gardening I sit down with my books. And my dreams. With Tasha Tudor I create the rustic charm she mastered to perfection, with Gertrude Jekyll I paint with flowers and with Frances Mayes I dream, dream, dream.........of gardens, of travels, of Italy, of books, of art, of words, of travels.
Before dinner I gather nettles and use them in a carrot stew I am making.
If only........I could invite you all to our forest where we have our cabin. To listen to the hundreds of birds praising spring, praising creation. What a feast we would have.
My father is coming out here on Wednesday, and then he can help me to find the tunes of Vivaldi, Verdi, Chopin, Beethove, Grieg and all the others, made alive by the different birds. My father is a master to know the different composers, and also the different bird songs.
Spting has come. We can hear it through the bird songs. WE can see it through the nature growing. Crocuses, primulas, rhuburb, chives, mint, daffodills.
My absolutely favorite time of the year.
The time when God bring out his palette to try his colours yet another time.
But bring wellingtons and a thick raincoat. Nature is having a shower today and shares her water generously.
The morning mist covered part of the world when I started my walk. It was hard to see what kind of day it would be. It didn't take very long though untill the mist started to weaken. Soon a bleak sun could be spotted behind the clouds.
I started my walk along the canal, wondering what the day would bring. A bit unprepared of what I actually found
The winter must have been quite hard, with ice thick and strong enough tro drag this boat under.
I turned away from the canal, walking up towards the small mountain, or hill, with the old catle tower. And there they were......the tiny little signs of spring I was looking for.
All texts and photos by Britt-Arnhild Wigum Lindland
I am living in a red house surrounded by a blue garden near Trondheim, Norway. I love everydays and post about my steps through life. Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods is open to everybody. Welcome over!