When I hear the sound, ‘pfftt,’ my ears prick up. It is mechanical but not from a machine. It is something organic and alive. And it is quite close.
I leave my sitting position, stand on the rocks, and shield my eyes. Scanning the flat fjord I look and look until I am eventually rewarded, catching sight of the gleaming black curves of porpoises breaking the surface momentarily, one after the other, calm and quiet with the ‘pfftt’ of their exhaled breaths.
All of a sudden it is both spring and summer at the same time. This long-awaited sunshine makes the plant life burst into bloom after the drawn-out winter and makes the human life sweat and melt in the heat. Distant waterfalls are urgently heaving huge volumes of melted snow into the fjord, creating a quiet roar like that of a far-off motorway. Colour sweeps the view: buds and leaves, cherry blossom, flowers, blue sky, brightly painted tractors. The fjord changes colour before my eyes, as the warm weather makes the algae multiply and turn the water a milky teal. The air smells sweet and fresh.
When I have mentioned swimming to local people I have been met with a wide-eyed look of shock. It’s still far too cold to swim, they tell me.
But finally, the opportunity presents itself, and I am not able to turn it down. We are on a little boat in the middle of the fjord, fishing for our supper. The sun is rapidly drifting behind the mountain. If I want to swim with the comforting warmth of the sun, then I must act fast.
In I go. It is not so cold at all. In fact I am grateful for the pessimistic warnings given to me about the low temperature because I was expecting it to be a lot worse than this. Nonetheless, my breath is taken away for a moment, but it is exhilarating and my body is soon making its own heat. It is so satisfying to be in the water after all this time thinking about it: to at last view the land with my eyes at the level of the smooth ripples; to be fully immersed in this body of water along with the seaweed, jellyfish, porpoise and the rest of the wealth of wildlife under the surface; to float and then propel myself forward.
After several minutes I haul myself out. I feel as if I could take on the world.