Most of the snow has melted and the ski-lifts rise over grubby white slopes as Jackie drives us towards Hardangerfjord, where we might just catch the distant glitter of a glacier between the peaks. We're curving through tunnel after tunnel, or sweeping along lakesides, past ranked conifers and scattered weekend cabins. I'm vaguely reminded of a trip decades ago through lumber country in British Columbia (Powell River? Prince George? ) but this somehow seems less managed, wilder in its contours, deeper in its mysterious vistas. I point and click the camcorder, trying to scoop up the inscape, then give up and let the actuality roll over me. Blue skies, strands of cirrus like ghost kites. Just keep drifting...

We stop and picnic at the base of a roadside waterfall. The little cafe nearby is closed and we're the only visitors. You can walk up a path under the lip of the fall , so James peers out through the tumbling water-wall, cartwheels through the prismatic mists. We are immersed in the moment.

Back in the car, huge wedges of mountain slide past and the expanses of water expand. Jackie is still searching for the elusive glacier - maybe we're in the wrong fjord - she can't quite remember which. She pulls over into a layby to consult a map - but it doesn't really matter. We look down and discover black cliffs. A steep path leads to a little stony beach with a squat stone boathouse. There's a tourist notice about ancient carvings on the rock face

Glyphs of the Boat People: tribal totems, territorial markings, stylised Old Norse logos advertising the skills of a master boatbuilder/skipper? Jackie's son has a pet rodent nick-named "Boatman" but this little synchronicity doesn't get me very far; and it's time to stop lecturing myself and descend the path. More important to taste the air, look across the waters at the skyline, watch James skipping stones across the crests of the wavelets. Light, matter, energy. All good stuff.

Bergen 4: Virtual Academy »»

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