Norway – Yrifos pouring down from the glacier

See how clear the pearly-green waters are ! Dwelling and barns and that little boat-house down at the edge of the water are all repeated in the mirror be-low. Even the tumbling waterfalls have their reflected duplicate.

Imagine being here on a midsummer night when everything is hushed, and yet the sky overhead is not dark, but full of the pale glow of a ghostly twilight. That sort of experience made a profound impression on Bjornson when he was a boy, a few miles from here, over in the Romsdal. He afterwards put the feeling into words in the story of Arne, already quoted :

“It was one of those light summer nights, when all things seem to whisper and crowd together, as if in fear. Even he who has from childhood been accustomed to such nights feels strangely influenced by them, and goes about, as if expecting something to happen. Often the sky looks out between the pale clouds like an eye, watching . . .”

One calamity which really might easily overwhelm homes like those, would be an avalanche of snow or of rocks and earth from that steep wall up behind the gaards (farms). Another of Bjornson’s stories* be-gins with the destruction of such a farmhouse, and the survival of just one little girl out of a whole family. During the bewilderment of this tragic turn in her fortunes, Magnhild is struck by one remark she hears a neighbor make about herself : “She must surely be destined for something great,” and for years afterwards that idea haunts her like a vague invitation and command. Life in the family of the country parson, who adopted her, seems to bring no opportunity for great things. Marriage with an eccentric man many years her senior brings disappointment. The story itself should be read, in order to appreciate how she finally came to realize that her life was not so narrow as she had thought it, but rich in unsuspected blessings and opportunities.

Let us look now up towards the head of the lake. Our sixty-ninth position is marked not far from those last taken. Better find the place on the map and observe where the red lines reach off.