Traveling on the bus out of the town this is the first time I really notice the icicles. Usually I am looking outwards to the fjord and the open space. Sometimes I try to write letters but I can’t tear my eyes away from the changing view.
But this afternoon in the fading light I begin to catch flashes of the dramatic sights on the other side, out of the other windows. This single-lane road has been blown out of the mountain with dynamite. Rock rises above us. And down the rock flows water. Except that all the gushing and dribbling water has solidified. At each turn in the road a greater ice spectacle is displayed for a moment before we trundle past, onwards towards our destination.
These streams and trickles are stopped mid flow; built up, pulling themselves towards the centre of the earth; a lesson in gravity; elegant spirit levels. Some are clear: catching and distorting the light. Some are white with thickness and trapped bubbles.
This place, beyond the bridge, must get less sunlight; there are a lot more icicles here than around Ålvik. I have heard many people talk about spring coming two weeks earlier on a certain side of a valley, or above a certain level, the sun coming into the house on a particular date. The light is so important here and is closely observed and appreciated.
I am not accustomed to such dramatic and novel beauty like this on a roadside. I presume that people must take it all for granted but I am wrong. Later in the week, after a traditional meal of sheep’s head, I am given a lift home. My host points out the roadside icicles and tells me that they are particularly spectacular at the minute, only visible in this brief window of cold, dry weather between rain and snow.
Up the mountain, behind my friend’s house, I scrambled up alongside a frozen waterfall. At the top, the icicles caught the sunlight. Everywhere there were drips. I stood in the stillness and listened to the tips of the icicles melting and dripping onto the carpet of leaves. Sometimes the waterfall creaked and cracked. Every so often a fragment of ice broke free higher up, and tumbled downwards, breaking the quiet like an animal in the undergrowth.