Next morning we were up early. Before attempting any of the tasks that lay before us to get the cabin up and running, I wandered out to the side patio and breathed deeply of the fresh pine-scented cool summer air while looking out and down at the sun playing on the water. Even in the south, Norway has a special quality of light I have never seen anywhere else. A slow sensuous rhythm began to rock my spirit.
It took us the whole day to find the water hook up in the woods. I began to think of it as “witching for water.” Then it took another half day to get hot water. But slowly, we cleaned out the winter dirt from floors, walls, and windows and the cabin began to shine. Before too long, the visiting began. These beginnings were so memorable for me I penned these words at the time:
Here we are again in Norway…smiling broadly as we walk the short path to the outhouse, smiling as we lay out the white table and patio chairs while the sun does a mazurka across the dark shivering sea. Here again in Norway, once more drinking in this country’s natural beauty with our eyes, our noses, our ears and our tongues and skin. Last night Paul and I were invited to a ryppe (grouse) dinner at Lillebeth’s house along with Grace, Joan, Wendy, Katia and little Barbara (10 1/2 months old). Lillebeth began by showing us a memory quilt she had someone sew together of the embroidery work of Mormor and Mormor’s mother, and I believe other female family members. It is mainly white…very delicate in appearance…an exquisite piece of art work of the “work” of women in the family. It lies draped over the keys of her white grand piano for special occasions. Lillebeth provided a family feast for us of ryppe accompanied by lots of gravy, peas, chanterelle mushrooms, potatoes and Russian peas (little round almost black beads…quite delicious and unknown to me before). Her husband Erling poured red wine from a ceramic pitcher. Our dessert was, can you guess? Multaberre with sugar and heavy cream. and then, guess again…pommes d’amour – the rich, moist cake, full of black currants, the icing white with a hint of rum. This cake could be eaten with port. We sipped and ate, a combination of culinary tastes not to be missed in this life. The meal was Proustian for me – the ryppe brought me back to Mormor’s table, the pommes d’amour to teas with aunt Tatti. And then, Lillebeth brought a pink rose to my nose…one from Mormor’s originals…and suddenly I was back in Mormor’s garden with Mormor, so happy with her grandmotherly love, so happy in the pink loveliness of her garden among the delicate subtle aromas.