Lest anyone think we’re independently wealthy and that’s how we travel the world, two things:
Why Norway? I asked Karl on our way home. Norway wasn’t on my radar at all.
If someone asked me, I would say Israel — but that’s not a trip that can be safely done on a whim. It’s my dream, though, to go to Jerusalem. I want to pray with my hands on the Western Wall. I’d like to go to the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, the Garden Tomb. I want to visit Yad Vashem and I want to eat fish on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
Instead I ate fish soup on the wharf in Bryggen. (It was amazing.)
Karl’s reason? “The pictures looked cool.”
I guess that’s reason enough.
In retrospect I can see how much I needed Norway.
My father’s world shrank significantly while I was away. He’s afraid to go into rooms, and when he enters, the door must be closed behind him. He throws his hands up in fear or anxiety when I open the door to leave.
“Sally! Don’t DO that!” and he grabs my arm if I’m close enough. “Don’t go out there! You don’t understand!”
He’s right. I don’t understand.
And he can’t explain it.
So we stay in stuffy rooms watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.
And I think about the vistas of Norway.
The mind can be so fragile. While I was gone, the fragile balance was upset, and I don’t know how to put it back.
So I think about the piles of rocks I saw along the river, and the raging waters that were so close, and how we all teeter at times.
I drove in Norway — not something I recommend. The roads can be narrow and winding. My father would have remarked on the switchbacks that we saw from the train.
When I drove, I was too busy worrying about running into another car to try to imagine the switchbacks. I drove roads barely wide enough for the VW Golf I rented, and would come around the corner and meet another car going in the opposite direction.
I quickly learned to throw the car into reverse and back up to a broader area where the other car could get past me.
Or be grateful when the other car did that for me.
Life has been like that for me, too. I can’t see what’s ahead and I don’t have much wiggle room.
But I have Norway, and it was beautiful.
So I’ll cautiously proceed.
When my father tells another switchback story, I’ll have some of my own now.