“But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in Your hand;” ~Psalm 31:14-15
In 1979 I was in Oslo ~ & it is ~ was~ one of the loveliest big cities I have ever visited. Geographically it has lots going for it. It sits at the head of the Oslo Fjord ~ which is pretty spectacular in itself. Ninety percent of the city limit is national park, which contains 340 lakes as well as farmland & like any of the Teutonic countries I've visited, it is sparklingly clean. The mountains rear up behind it & the river spreads out before it & along the narrow strand lies the city of Oslo, cobbled & modern & breathtakingly beautiful.
'79 heralded in the coldest, bitterest winter in over 100 years so our plans to head above the Arctic circle & round into Finland were scraped after we were lucky not to freeze to death at an abandoned campsite outside of Bergen. The villagers drew lots to see who would walk down in the morning to see if we were still alive. It was so cold, & I became so ill, Dearest drove 48 hours straight to deliver me somewhere warmer.
It was in Oslo, at the folk museum, that I first saw intact a Viking longboat. I'm a sailor. I took one look & fell in love. They are beautiful, with the long curling lines of a wave. To touch that, to see the fitted planks & the rowing benches, to imagine the snap of a sail in a following wind & the slap of water against the caulked hull was incredibly trippy to say the least. Reading about it is not like seeing & touching & if I had had the money my entire idea of homeschooling would have been to put my kids on a plane & trek the world just looking at the wonders it contains.
So I am sad beyond words this morning for the people of Norway. I live with water every day but however cold it gets our water never gets that particular icy hue that is palest turquoise. The bay runs out past the islands into the Pacific Ocean & the Pacific Ocean slaps against the old quay of the Oslo jetties where the longboats once beached themselves laden with the trophies of war.
I have good memories of Oslo: of the city, of the people. I am not an ambitious woman. Little things give me great pleasure, the things common to all mankind: a child's hug; the contented purr of a cat; the cry of a gull following the trawlers home. It does not make sense to me that this is not more than enough for any man. What more should we ask for? And how much pain does it take to make someone think they have the right to inflict pain on others? To take from them the pleasure of the little things, which is all we can expect: sunlight & falling rain, love & hope, the very breath of life? So I grieve for the one who took & for those from whom it was taken. May God in His infinite mercy grant them all peace.