hard enough to crush the rock
mild enough to soothe the skin
high enough to touch the sky
it can relieve your pain
and cool your heat
I remember the ocean and water, the trips by boat to the island Akerøya when we were to follow the sheep to pasture and aunt Anne – Marie who fell into the water every time, the boat to Strømstad in Sweden, or to lie on the beach calles Olastranda and to feel that the warm mountain become part of my skin after I have been in the salt water for too long.
I remember him. No, I don’t remember him. I remember pieces of him.
The ocean does not remember
That’s all I remember of what he looked like. Maybe because I never looked at him more closely. But he had a boat, which was a status, then you did not have to wait for the bus like t I had to do. It is nothing like sitting in a boat with the hair blowing backwards and salty drops whipping the face.
I don’t know what his name is.
I also sat there when he came back and I heard how he loosened the rope, jumped into the boat, started the engine and was gone. I sat there when he came again.
I remembered the feeling of sitting alone on a pier, day after day waiting and longing to grow up.
A Norwegian folk tale
There was once a man and a woman who had a daughter who was both nice and fair. They were poor, as poor as one can be and when they died, the only thing they could give the girl were two pennies. The girl was fond of these two, she was poor, but as happy as if she owned a manor. She played with them wherever she went. One day when she was crossing a bridge, things went so badly – both the pennies rolled into the river. She cried and searched and searched and cried again up and down the river. But she couldn’t find them.
Suddenly, a woman came up from the river. What are you crying for? she asked. My two pennies, my two pennies, the girl boy moaned. You will never see them again, said the woman, but you will get a horse of mine which is better. All you have to say is: horse coin money and you get lots and as much of money as you wish. But you have to make sure no one is tricking you with your horse, she said. This the girl promised. A horse rose from the water and the girl took it. The girl said: Horse coin money and out of the horse the money dropped. She bought herself a piece of land for the money and lived as well as anyone else.
Time passed and the girl grew. Then she decided to go to church like others. She wanted to hear the priest preach. She sat on the horse and rode off. Close to the church she met an old lady. I would like to go to church today, but I have no one to keep the horse, she said. I’ll keep it for you, said the woman and the girl thanked her. Then the girl said: But you must not say: Horse coin money, you must promise me, said the girl. She promised
What is your memory of ocean and water?
The French philosopher and sociologist and author of the work mentioned above, Maurice Halbwachs (1877-1945) believes that collective memory is mental images we have of the past that arise in the face of the present and is not something we inherit, it is a social construct for us to have a common foundation.
When the girl came out of the church she saw neither horse nor woman. The girl was crying and sounding bad. For many days she searched for the horse and inquired about both here and there, but she did not find the horse. Then she decided that she should go back to the bridge where she had lost her two pennies. She went there crying and searching and suddenly the woman got up from the river and wondered what it was. My two pennies, my two pennies, the girl cried. You never get them again, the woman said, but you will get a tablecloth and a bottle of me. If you say cloth give food and bottle give wine, then you have food and drink of all kinds, as much as you want. But now you have to take care so no one tricks it away for you. She promised to make sure of that.
Happy as the bird in the spring, she rushed home with the tablecloth and bottle. She asked for food and wine when she returned home. There was food and drink on the table. Rumors of all this food and glory spread both far and wide and more than one poor one came to the farm and was welcomed to drink and eat. The girl had enough to take off and no one should suffer.
After a while, she wanted to go back to church, she saw people going there and she longed to follow. She left and took the cloth and the bottle with her. On the way she met an old woman. I would love to go to church today, but I have no one to hold my tablecloth and bottle, said the girl. I’ll keep them for you, said the old woman. This the girl agreed on and she said: But you must not say cloth give food or bottle give wine. She wouldn’t. But the girl had not gone far before the old one wanted to try the tablecloth and bottle and when she discovered what it really was she took it and “gave the actual owner a good day”.
When the girl came out of the church she had nothing. She searched but the thief was nowhere to be found. Then she cried at the bridge and began to dig and look for the two pennies. Again the woman rose from the river and wondered what was going on. My two pennies, my two pennies, the girl cried. Dear, you will never have them again, but you will have a stick of mine which is better to have, said the woman. You just have to say: My stick beat, then it beats. And when you say my stick stand, it stops. But, said the woman, now I sincerely ask you to take good care of the stick. This the girl promised and then she went home with the stick and was both happy and satisfied.
No, she shouldn’t do that. But the girl had not gone long before the woman said: My stick beat, and the stick to hit and knock the woman so she was almost beaten to death. She shouted and screamed to the girl that she had to take the stick. You will get the horse back, she screamed. But the girl was standing and looking, because she thought it was time the woman was paid. You should get the tablecloth and bottle too, if you help me, she begged and now it was like she could hardly speak.
This can be a comfort, we should not remember everything and we are not alone. Our memories keep us in a community.
The answer to the riddle is water.
Experience is like the sea, to avoid the experience from drowning in oblivion, the memory must save it.
Place: Eden Photo, Lappock Rock Lighthouse
Outfit: Yummy, Epic, Katat0nik, Coco, Ane, Clawtooth,
Sound: source: Sigurd Nergaard: Gard og Grend Folkeminne fraa Østerdalen I, 1921. Sound of whales are from free sound.