What is

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

In 2003, I was involved in creating a water project in Biermannsgården in Oslo for pupils in primary school. To get into the building and participate in the project, the children had to solve the riddle above. A couple of years later, I was touring Hvaler (some islands in Norway) with the project «Sea of ​​Stories» – where I told stories about water and ocean for pupils from 1st – 4th grade. Since then I have not worked with the sea as a theme, which is strange, because the sea must have played a role in my life as I grew up on a island, it plays a role in everyone’s life.

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

med Mimesis Heidi Dahlsveen

I could sit on the pier for hours and wait for him. He who came in his plastic boat with a speedy motor. There I sat and kicked with my legs, pretending nothing. He walked by, it creaked in the pier, he wore slacks, and a jacket made of jeans and was black in his hair.

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.

The girl and two pennies

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 the sea and the ocean, are you like me, a bit afraid of the sea, what is in the depths? The movie “Shark” has ruined many a deep water feeling for me. This despite the fact that I once took a license in diving.

What is your memory of ocean and water?

In the introduction to the work «On Collective memory» it is asked what happens to us when the history has to be rewritten. One example is the rewriting of all Soviet history that led to individual and personal crises (Halbwachs, 1992). It tells us that collective memories are of importance to us and the relationships between us.

 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.

As soon as the girl had entered the church well, the woman could not resist herself: horse, coin money, she said and coins dropped  and the woman had not seen anything like this in all her days. This is a splendid horse to have, said the woman and went off with the horse.

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.

The autobiographical memory is based on something we personally experience, this is a memory that tends to disappear, if we do not consciously care for the memory and the relationship with those we experienced something with. When it comes to the collective memory, we often do not have direct experience with original happening of the historical event that forms the basis of the collective memory, but we are encouraged to remember it through events where we gather to remember what happened (Halbwachs, 1992, p. 24). The collective and the autobiographical memory, in order for it to survive, need stimulation through social and moral props and tools.
After a while, she wanted to go back to church and did so. She brought the stick and along the way she met an old woman who was so gentle that it was a joy. It was the same woman she had met before. I would love to go to church today, but I have no one to keep an eye on the stick. I’ll take care of it for you, said the other and she agreed.  The girl said: Now you must not say «My stick beat»; because then you will be unhappy.

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.

I want you to do an exercise. You write down every word you come up with related to water. Choose three words from all those you have written down. It can for example be: clear, drink and stream. These three words should be part of a headline, for example: I drank water from the clear stream. This is then the heading of a story you remember and/or create.
My stick stand, said the girl and then the stick stopped. The girl got the presents back and went home. She had lots and lots of land and everything that was good and then you should know that it was not lacking suitors. There the boys came from all parts early and late, like hungry ravens. But she knew how to show them all away and asked them to not come more. They could be as handsome as they wanted, but they had to leave with sore minds. I marry the one I love, she said, he and no one else, he can be as poor and wretched as he wants, only he is kind, nice and gentle. The choice was made, the boy was found and the banquet was held. There they drank both long and strong and if they are not finished, they are still drinking.
We can never recreate in detail something that happened exactly as it was. Through memory, the event has lost its form and the re-creation of what has happened is influenced by the context in which it is recreated.

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.

Literature: Halbwachs, M. (1992). On collective memory. Chicago og London: The University of Chicago Press.

Virtual world:

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.