Hardangerfjorden. Cold Water.

I am two weeks here now.  For the first time since my arrival the clouds have parted and the moon shines strong and bright.  I have to squint into its glare to see all the details on the surface.  It’s getting full, or getting less full maybe.

After a day spent trying to retrieve my failing computer from the abyss of nothingness, my morale pulled down by lost files and photos, it is good to get out into the air and be free of digital technology.  I am just depending on my legs pedalling me uphill and momentum carrying me downhill.  I feel renewed and the air is crisp on my face, no drizzle or rain.  I can see mountains in the distance where before there had been heavy mist and cloud.  The sharp silhouette of the bulk of mountain edged with pine trees is black against the greys and blues of the water and sky.

There are women on the other side of the fjord who swim.  Maybe about once a week.  Not for a full minute, one of them told me.  I am having dreams about swimming.  But in my dreams the water is not so cold.

I cycle to the shore to take more photos since all my others are lost.  I use this also as an experiment to see how my hand and arm can handle being immersed in a low temperature for a sustained length of time.  If I do organise to swim with the women, I know what I am in for.

It’s a shock at first. Then my skin begins to tighten up and hurt; a sharp pain that cannot be ignored.

After about two and a half minutes, when I can’t take it any longer, I pull my hand out; it is red and aching.  The way your hands get when there is snow at home and you are too excited to worry about your useless wet gloves; you just carry on making snowballs until your hands are big raw clumsy things that need thawed.

It is midnight and I go outside again to see if the moon is still out.  It is not.  A single weak star is shimmering somewhat pathetically like a distant strobe light through a crack in the clouds which have, of course, returned.

2 thoughts on “Hardangerfjorden. Cold Water.

  1. Thanks! My friend send me a great poem which I hope to use which describes the pain – Elizabeth Bishop, At the Fishhouses. A fragment:

    “I have seen it over and over, the same sea, the same,
    slightly, indifferently swinging above the stones,
    icily free above the stones,
    above the stones and then the world.
    If you should dip your hand in,
    your wrist would ache immediately,
    your bones would begin to ache and your hand would burn
    as if the water were a transmutation of fire
    that feeds on stones and burns with a dark gray flame…”

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