2. A lovesong for Norway, a longing for Home

Patches of green and yellow emerge from underneath the snow. This white blanket that has comforted the fields for almost half a year now, slowly retreating. At a glaciers pace, making way for spring. First the bravest little flowers stick their heads out of sturdy footing. Fanning out into little yellow suns. On the harsh days retreating back as much as they can. Today I walked barefoot on straw. Soft skin carefully feeling out where to allow weight, in unison with spring flowers softly sensing, sticking out their little toes. Unsure birches rekindling their blood at the heat of the sun and stopping cold at the freeze of the night. Temperatures are going wildly up and down. Summer meets spring meets winter. Even a hint of autumn as old leaves preserved by snow, dart around a last dance on stormy winds. So my skin carefully treads on ground, still soaked where snow has melted only a day ago. Moisture trickling up through my toes. Crisp and dry where sun has burned and burned, small patches of summery France. I am missing home.

Being in a different country makes me realize to the depth of my core, how much home has seeped into my being. How the Netherlands infiltrated my skin, burned into my dreams and saturates my blood like oxygen. How it build up my bones and flows from the pores of my being. If I stay away for too long, I brittle and break, I dry up and slowly suffocate. I am not made for this country. Although I dearly learned to love snow, in all of its forms. Weathered by cold and wind, crisp on top, skin breaking like creme brulee at the touch of my boots. Or fresh, soft like desert sand, boots sinking deep, with every step snow playfully snowballing in front of me. Hanging heavy from the trees, bending sleeping stems almost to a break. Bulbing on branches, packed closely together, coloring even the last evergreen branches bold and white. Sunlight shimmering like diamond everywhere you look. The palest white clinging to birches, broken white, even beige in comparison. Even the palest sky becomes wild with color against this shiny white world.

How the little streams slowed down at the touch of winter, singing their eccentric, wintry songs as little by little the water shrinks to a trickle, sounding against crystal blue ice. Hollow ice-weaved caves creating sound effects, shaped by the seasons array. And then, when spring is coming, gradually increasing. Drops dripping from icicles heated by sunlight. Each drop emerging like little diamonds, mirroring a ray of sunlight straight into my eyes. A little wink from mother earth, before they drop into the stream, slowly but surely growing back into a roar. If I listen closely, she whispers to me of beauty and impermanence.

In Norway there is space, space to be and space to get lost in. I am made for small places, where I can sense my neighbors. Where I can walk between houses, where the roads are small and many. I am made for this small country packed with people and opportunities. Where everything around me has the ability to move me. Where blood runs thicker and even nature seems more busy. Buzzing around, chirping, waving. Growing green and abundant. Home for me is brimming with life, between the stones and trees and in its cities. So full of it that it can overwhelm me. I went away to be filled with silence, enough to nourish me back home. It is time.

So now I miss bicycles, the buzzing of people going places. I miss small roads walked the whole winter and parks filled to the brim. I miss spring flowers sticking their heads up as early as march. The smell of spring and the hope in my heart at seeing the first baby green leaves. I miss wandering about the streets of Amsterdam, its canals. The songs of peoples lives singing all around me, behind the windows of their houses, running by in a jog, briskly pushing bicycle peddles down and forwards or lazily slumping their feet. I miss the imagination this wakes up in me, the movement of creation.

However much I wanted and needed to leave Holland, she always calls me back home to her. It is time to say goodbye. The wind storms around the trees. With their unique and iconic bare shapes they wave at me. Some dance with loosely fitted branches. Others wave grand waves or bow to me gently. The symphony of nature is loud and clear in these northern forests. But I missed putting my bare skin on ground, her touch brings me home to myself. To feel her under my feet is to feel how I flow within her and she within me. To not be quarantined into boots by snow but allowed free embrace. To lay down in prickly grass.

So it is that I drive off for my last weeks greetings. Revisit places as they shake off their winter coat. Warm sun shines on blueberry leaves and skin. Warm perfumed air surrounds me. I climbed up a steep hill, one of those sandy ones, where every step creates little avalanches of sand and stones. Coarse feeling of sun-warmed sand running past the skin of my hands, guiding me upwards. This too reminds me of France. Sunny days, ants running about crawling over my feet, the sound of the river, views of rock and snowcapped mountains. For this Dutch girl, France is the feeling of holidays. The smell of blueberry-leaves bring me back and so I find France in this small strip where the snow has melted. A thin line, bordered by fields of snow on the one side, on the other a long lonely road. It’s easy to wander back into Norway. Big and grand, long winter coat. I’d been missing home and somehow in a roundabout way that makes me think of France, summer holidays. Perhaps I look for something cozy, something familiar, something small. Warm and inviting. Sand that grazes my hands, sun that warms my face and sweet smells that fill my heart with joy. Spring is calling me home.