Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunset Treks

The dock at Tveitevannet

I went for a post-kiddush walk Friday night. There were police questioning a car in front of the king’s gate, but they didn’t seem to mind anyone entering. I made up my mind to stroll with purpose, and they looked at me, but didn’t say a word. I made a circle of Gamlehaugen, waved at two guys that I couldn’t identify through the gathering dusk (they’d waved first, so I guess I must have known them), and then climbed down the rocks to sit and muse by the fjord for awhile. I slipped my hand into the water. It seemed quite warm. Soon I’ll be able to swim in it. Then I realized that my breath was coming out a mist from the cold. Yet I was comfortable, in only a skirt, leggings, tank top, and hoodie. Something’s off with my internal thermal system—or else my temperature has always best fitted this climate.

Upon returning to Fantoft I used my shabbat key for the first time. Two entire picnic tables—one full of Asian students, the other the vortex of a group of Muslim women—fell silent and watched me struggle to use the key without taking it off my skirt’s belt. It’s great to feel so absurd that even other minorities stop to watch. As I stepped inside with relief, a guy came in from the back door. I nodded as I passed him on my way up the stairs, but he called to me in a slight accent, “not taking the elevator?”

Tveitevannet with Ulriken behind it
“I live on the first floor,” I told him. He looked quite nice, even though he had engineered his hair to stick up on top.

“Too bad,” he smiled. I half-smiled back and continued up the stairs, thinking about all the moments this year when I’ve walked away from suggestions of flirtation and wondering if I’m now totally out of practice.

Shabbat morning dawned misty, cloudy, and sunny. Glorious weather. I took my regular shabbat walk up Landås and found a path up Ulriken I’d never seen before. Last time I was in this part of the mountains, the snow had come up to my hips, and I’d slogged through in fear of messing up the ski tracks.

Obviously none of these are my pictures of
Tveitevannet, but breathtaking nonetheless, eh?
By the time I reached the top, I was parched. I found one of the streams that courses down the mountain, and limited myself to ten gulps. Figure that what I was drinking is probably as pure as American tap water. In fact, it’s probably the stuff that Americans buy bottled.As the sun set, I finished The Wasp Factory, which had riveted me all afternoon until the overly explicit ending (the surprise was great, but why spell out every little bit of Freudian mush you learned in college?), and went for a stroll around Tveitvannet. The layers of sunset settled softly around the mountains. Near me, I heard a whoosh as a duck plowed into the lake. Ripples fanned out behind it, politely crisscrossing one after the other: first-you-now-me-now-you-now-me. The reflection of sky turned from blushing azure into a more serious blue, and the lights at Montana twinkled on as though the Bergenser were accomplices in the pulchritude of the evening, trying to turn it all into a painting to be captured in the impressionist brushstrokes of Tveitvannet. 

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