16 years ago, for my 40th birthday, my brother Frode gave me a very special gift, the book Nordlands Trompet by Petter Dass. A few months before that Frode had found out that through our grandma Olga we are related in a direct line to this most known Norwegian poet and hymn writer Petter Dass 1647-1707. On a special sheet of paper he had written out the long list of forefathers which took me back to the great poet.
On our way south from Lofoten, we stopped at Alstahaug where Petter Dass was a parish priest from 1689 and until his death.
Petter Dass wrote about nature, seen from the eyes of the fishermen and the farmers, he wrote about life and death in a way that common people could understand what so far had been only for the scholars. Even today he is the most known hymn writer in Norway, and when The Church of Norway released a new Book of Hymns last year, Petter Dass´most known hymn Herre Gud ditt dyre navn og ære, is in it as a honored numbered one.
Centuries after his death, this forefather of mine is of great inspiration to me. I sing his hymns, I read his texts, and again and again his words, his way of describing life, creates in me a deep love for the God created world.
It was a blessing walking on some of Petter Dass´paths, looking out his windows, smelling the sea, enjoying the wild flowers, imagining what life must have been here more than 300 years ago.
Then, suddenly, as created by my dreams, a young maid, Olava, materialized. She was a maid on the farm when Petter´s son, or was it grandson, was the master of the farm. She invited us in and let us watch when she did her duties, all the time talking about her life and the life on the farm.
This autumn I plan to read more of Petter Dass´books, and let his words inspire me to live my life close to nature and nature´s Creator.