Greatness in the Small

In that very moment, Mother Earth was speaking to me.

Kornsjø, Norway. Photo: Tom Thowsen 2020

Sounds a little bit odd in your ears, I guess. Mine too, for that sake. Like a hippie or a member of the alternative society.

However, it is comforting. Healing, as well. It could protect you from anxiousness and depression. I highly recommend this medicine. To walk in nature and listen to mother earth. It is where we belong. It is where it all began. Not in a humanmade artificial environment, remote from everything natural. So, let us get back.

Kornsjø, Norway. Photo: Tom Thowsen 2020

Late September, I woke up early in the morning, curious to catch the rising sun. Not all mornings are the same; the light conditions can differ a lot. It could be too bright or too cloudy. But this morning was outstanding. No wind at all, the water lies like a mirror. The mist over the lake. The bright clouds. The clean air. The smell of autumn. And the silence was overwhelming. Lucky me, I thought. What colour cascade. What a magic moment. And there was I equipped with my iPhone 11. My only camera.

Kornsjø, Norway. Photo: Tom Thowsen 2020

Everything glows—the contrasts between light and shadow. In the east, from the Swedish side of the lake, I can hear a wolf scream in the far distant. Besides that, just silence.

Kornsjø, Norway. Photo: Tom Thowsen 2020

Look at the tiny cabin, floating on the mist. It lies on its small islet, separated from the island where I stood.

Kornsjø, Norway. Photo: Tom Thowsen 2020

The clouds sailed in convoy over the sky, stretching out its fingers from Sweden towards Norway.

Kornsjø, Norway. Photo: Tom Thowsen 2020

So near, but still too far distant – some places I can toss stones at Sweden – nevertheless Covid-19 makes us parted. That is a surreal situation.

But if the very bedrock under my feet could speak, it would say this is a small and short-lived problem. A glacial period of hundreds of thousands of years made a more significant impact when this bedrock was lying under the pressure of a two kilometres layer of ice. A vast amount of frozen water that melted away just some ten thousand years ago.

Quite impressing to know.
It makes me realize that Mother Nature is a strange mother, indeed, and we must live our lives under her conditions – follow her rules. We need her, but she does not need us. We`re just lucky to be here.

CROSSING THE BORDER

Midsummer 2020 has been one of the strangest in my life, filled with silence and a lack of cheeriness. I even got a sense of breaking the law.

Midsummer night at Kornsjø lake, 2020. Photo: Tom Thowsen

On the brightest day of the year, when the sun barely goes down, there was a shadow hanging over me. All thanks to the Covid-19 virus, which has parted us Norwegians from our dear neighbours in the east. The Swedes, known for their joyful midsummer celebrations, were almost absent at Kornsjø — a lake on the border.

Well, I must confess: Yes, we crossed the border. More than once. Most on the lake. We even went into a narrow channel, under a bridge, where some of us got worried.
Flying trouble in the air.

«Look out! There’s Batman!»

«Oh, is he that small. I’m not impressed.»

Not quite like that, these quotes were from another trip, but we joked about it now as well. Nevertheless, this time it was different. Now there was mention of bats and Covid-19 virus, and we decided to turn back to Norway again.

Should we have been sentenced to a 10 days quarantine?

No, I do not think so. We did not meet any Swedes, other than on a safe distance, only on the water.

Midsummer day at Kornsjø lake, 2020. Photo: Tom Thowsen

Some places Sweden is exceptionally near, so close that we can toss stones at each other. The island to the left is Sweden. The pole in the foreground, and the cabin as well, is in Norway. Hey, you`re bound to break the law when travelling by boat. There are no markings on the waves.

Midsummer day at Hisøya island, 2020. Photo: Tom Thowsen

Next day we visited «riksrøys» number one, a border marker from 1752, situated on Hisøya island. As you can see, the trees are chopped away along the borderlines — all the way down to the watershed.
Here some noblemen greeted us. — Yes, it is true. We saw their monograms carved in stone, placed at the top of the cairn. Strong guys? Yeah. It must have been a difficult job for them, to stack all these rocks into this fantastic pile. Just look at the photo, how proud they look.
The guy to the right, he with the sword in his hand, is the reflection of Frederick V. He was a freemason who loved to party. Besides that, he was king of Denmark and Norway. He would surely have joined our midsummer celebrations if he could.


Hm, one other thing that caught my attention — his sword. Did he cut down all those trees on his own? All by himself?


The guy to the left, Adolf Frederick, was also a freemason. But as a Swede, he loved snuff. His favourite hobby was to make snuffboxes, which he allegedly spent a great deal of time doing. Supposedly a good husband, a caring father, and a gentle master to his servants. Besides all that, he was also king of Sweden. A hard-working man!

Hisøya island and the borderline. Google Earth.

To make borders is a troublesome business—no wonder why they look so strange. Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes have argued about them for centuries. They have fought numerous wars and have been moving them back and forth and back again. Somewhere it follows a creek, and otherwhere it follows unexpected turns.


However, as this monument show, they came to an agreement in 1752, or more precisely, one year previous, in 1751.

My wife at the beach of Hisøya island, 2020. Photo: Tom Thowsen.

After we met with the kings, we headed back to our boat and left Hisøya island while the wind whispered gently in our ears: “Everything will be fine. One day the borders will open again.”
Until then – Carpe Diem!