The night air is starting to get frosty,
And with the cold and the blackening of nights
Comes clarity and a gentling of afternoons
Mellowing into autumn.
With a skim of white before our breaths
We float our summer selves into a sea
Of purple and gold.
White-painted wooden houses stand on gentle slopes on the green, wildflower hills of the southern coastscape of Norway. We locals call it simply «Sørlandet» meaning “Southland”.
All around, in every nook and cranny, the greenest grass you have ever seen creep up; emerald and windswept for the three months of summer.
June brings a flush of warmth and there are daisies in every possible patch of green; beside brooks, trails and roads.
Then, later in the summer, the trees ripen and spread their leafy branches up to the doorsteps of the white houses and the villages become lighthouses in a sea of green.
Two miles down the narrow road, just out of sight of the village, lays the sea. Here the scene changes. Large, open cliffs give way to little beaches and Sea Pinks and tiny streams looking for home.
Little lost islands, much smaller than they look, without shops or schools, dot the horizon. The only thing you might find here is a mooring pole crouched behind a cluster of Sea Pinks. Centuries of use has worn it down to a rusted sunset, yet it still clings fast to the land.
Next comes the farms, buried so deep in wheat fields and strawberry patches you can only see the rooftops from the road. Surrounded by open oldtime iron gates, these farms greet you with signs of self-picking strawberries and a rusted box for change.
This, with the schools, Farmers Markets and white wooden churches surrounded by windy birches, make up the Southland. Even with a few towns strung out by the seaside, it is still a land sunk in greenery and wildflowers, spun by its inhabitants, of love and unfailing kinship.