Otternes Farm, Flåm Valley, Sognefjord, Aurland, Norway
When I sit here, I have sat here before. I am hobbit-like and living. In my sense of belonging, I know: I know this place.
Families are thin, thin on the ground, of the mountain. Long line of families in the mountains, dug in, right into its rock and earth and grass. There are long deep roots which hold us in place. Some say if you chop too many the whole mountainside will slide with us into the brakk below.
Yes here I belong, and feel I always have and if it is so and I have visited before it would have been in ancestral time a momentous occasion.
I still feel, when I stand there now, the haunting presence of one unallowed to love, ghostly appearance in the corner of story. Even with a broken heart one can still be of use up on the farm, never allowed to leave, no matter how the visitor requested. The corners of this history are cluttered with such figures. Then look upon the well. The well so deep and wide it speaks. Its dangers are voiced within its memory, “Do not throw yourself down here, as I did.” “As I did.” “As I did.” “As I did.”
For there is beauty here and love and light…
…and even in the dark-times-long there is the promise; the promise of moisture, the recollections of growth which knows it will return.
Others will come, for such is the way of a mountain farm. Love can be found in such a meeting. Small farm memories of seasons with only each other to survive and flourish for. Yet there will be gatherings and visitation where young hearts can view across the clans-collecting and see eyes; eyes which sparkle only for you.
This is why we bury the salmon. As a promise and a way of surviving. They will leap again, as will hearts.
We shall go down from our steep sides as will everyone among the wide spread hill families.
The leap. The leap will come. Nets will spread and one of us will leave one steep farm to join another. Here and there love will flourish among the catching.
The bounty is there in the grave. The grave of the fish, saving us throughout the winter.
So came the sheep. The flourishing is here too, with care. They also visit. New faces, growing adults, turning from teens, turn their flock this way.
The drove is long and this is a place where we can rest; to replenish. Fish is brought from grave, berry from jar, and water from the well is hung above the fire.
Some of these creatures have journeyed far, as have I. An instinct inside me sees the path. It twinkles elusively in my mind. I believe it is ancient. As the brown sheep belong here I am of a different wool.
Other drovers journeyed over the more flowing lands where I am from. Just as rugged, these moors were traversed to sea-going vessels which sailed up this very fjord I see flowing below to bring the trade.
As these pathways arrive here. I see them glittering as timeless memory moving in upon this land to spread and trade, spread and grow. My path stops here.
As soon as I sat upon this stoop, as my eyes twinkled, my long past had led me here and settled.
A part of me will always be here and always has. My path stops here.
For more on Otternes and Gudvangen including Adrian the Lamb and Johnny Chicken see here Farmer (Adrian) Giles