Sunday, October 26, 2008

crisp norwegian fall day

Today was one of those perfect fall days where the air crackles with cool freshness. So crisp it burns your teeth.

I always am amazed at the difference between the air and water here and the air and water in Texas. Here it is crisp, sharp, so clear it can cut you, whether water or air. There is nothing soft about it, it's exhilarating and refreshing. It energizes you, but it is not calming in any way. You can see forever and the colors and shapes are so vivid, so sharp. The water is crisp and peaty, it's slightly green in the white bathtub or against the frozen ice in winter. But green in a clear, filtered way....there is no vagueness to it. It's very easy to drink, and so cold that ice is an affectation.

Texas air is soft, hazy, caressing, relaxing. You can feel it on your skin, all around you, like a weight. It settles on your skin like an invisible cloak. Colors are a little bit muted (except at sunset, when they blaze orange and pink on the clouds). The water tastes of where it comes from. Sometimes in Austin you can taste the algae from the lakes west of town. It's not unpleasant, but it can be a bit strange if you aren't used to it. (Makes me think of that old saying, "I never drink water. Fish fuck in it".) I noticed when I was in Austin a few weeks ago it felt like the air was hugging me. So completely, 180% different from Norwegian air. (Like so many things from Texas and Norway.)

Today, in this brilliant crisp bright fall air, everyone in Norway was out walking. Or, at least, everyone in our part of Norway. The trails in the woods, along the pathways, around the lake, anywhere with trees or nature, were crowded with hearty looking people of every age, families of all colors, walking. Moms, dads, kids, grandparents, Texpatriates, all out. Some with walking sticks and Goretex jackets, some with back packs and hiking boots and water bottles, some, like me, merely with an iPod a pony tail and some sneakers.

Everyone walking. A walk in the woods in Norway is the answer to everything, whether that might be a headache, a thrown out back, a cold or cancer. (Possibly the only thing they don't tell you to walk for is a broken leg, at least at first.) Whenever I've gone to the doctor here, they invariably tell me, after my appointment, that I should go out for a walk in the woods to reset myself. My chiropractor was insistent on it, after every session, that I walk for a half hour after the appointment and walk, also, on the weekends. In the States, they give you antibiotics or a pain pill. Here? A walk.

Judging by this weekend, there will be a lot of healthy people in Norway next week.

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