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Forest activities

Part one

The hut One cannot get socialised, while sitting in front of a computer. One should neither spend the whole life doing so! Once in a while two of my friends - Njål and Mats - and I undertake a pilgrimage to our forest hut. It is situated in a picturesque and practical spot in our local forest. We are never too far away from civilisation - one can hear cars speeding along a highway in the distance, planes zooming above our heads. And yet the place seems distant from humanity . . . It feels like being on a magic island. Sometimes I wonder if there is something magical about the place! It can rain cats and dogs in the neighbourhood, yet when we come to the spot it is not raining there.

The first thing to do, when we arrive is to see if the hut is there. Well, people do wander in that forest, and you never know what these intelligent animals can come doing. Not that we are afraid of the hut being smashed and crashed - it is a very sturdy construction. Njål (the name, translated from Icelandic means giant, and he has grown up to his name), Mats, and I managed to place ourselves upon the bearing barrel of the hut, and it didn't even bend. The hut is built without use of nails - only mountain ash trunks of various size and rope.

Relaxing by the hut What we do while the sun is high is upto our imagination. We can run around the forest, fight on poles, grind woodstocks, shaping them into different mysterious things, creatures and bodyparts (as Njål does on this picture), chop wood, or just relax (a favourite activity of mine).

Fiighting on poles Well, just as I said - we can fight on poles! Here is me and Øystein in a half-serious fight, when each person tries to block the opponent's pole. The activity is not supposed to be dangerous, although injuries do occur (no lethal ones!) Note the fire, burning in the background. It is generally not wise to step into it while one fights, though fighting your opponent into it is fully legitimate.

Mats chooses his spear Although we usually have some reserve of firewood in our hut, we make some smaller preparations for the fire each time we come to the spot. One of the main points with fire is to grill sausages. And to get a good grilled sausage, one should have a long, strong, and sharp spear to put the sausage on! Here Mats busies himself with selecting a birch for his spear. This activity may take upto half an hour.

The hut stand on a clear spot, not far from an old woodcutting site (and alas a new one has been made lately). Both these sites supply us with wood for our fire. The forestry in Norway is not kept very well, so almost 20% of all wood remain on the woodcutting site and rots there. We just can't allow that to happen. Our fires consume enormous amounts of wood, for our fires can rage to the heights of 4 - 5 meters! We create our own suns in the darkness of night.

The wonder of nature in autumn When all the hustle and bustle is done, we can just relax and enjoy the sight of the Nature. It is especially beautiful there in autumn. The red berries of mountain ash, green firs, and yellow birches, crowned with the blue sky. How wonderful it is to sit on a hilltop and think about nothing. Well . . . After a while some thoughts come into your head, the kind of thoughts, which you would never think of sitting at home, in front of your computer. Philosophical thoughts. Thoughts about books you read, about the things you adore. And suddenly you feel a desire to share your thoughts with someone, An a conversation begins, a conversation, which is a prelude to the fire ring.

And you, the reader, abandon your computer, abandon it before it takes over you, over your thought!!! Go to forest, to mountains, to sea, and feel the freedom, which modern people are about to loose!!!

Whouldn't you rather be there, in that reality, this picture is just a pale reflection of ?!!

Shaman by the fire The dusk comes and replaces the bright light of the day. It is time to burn our fire. Starting of fire is a kind of religious rite for us. Preparing the fireplace, piling pieces of wood, taking a fresh newspaper with useless news of crime, violence and social gossips, and setting it ablaze. The paper burns igniting the wood, and the fire is on!

We do not let the fire be too strong before it becomes completly dark. In the dusk we warm ourselves and get into right mood for the night activities. Here, for example, Njål sits and trains his shaman powers, trying to control the weather and traffic lights in Oslo.

Grilling the first sausages We warm up our spears in preparation for a sausage-feast. Making sausages over the fire is a state of art. One can achieve various hues of red (and black), one can have various flavours. The first depends on how close to the flames one has his sausage. I, for example, like to give my sausages a "blaze bath" - having it in some distance from the flames, but closer to the blazing coals. The sausage gets then pink, juicy, and crispy! We give our sausages natural flavour. One achieves this by putting various plants (fir, birch, juniper) into the fire, and bathing sausages in the particular smoke, which comes from these plants. Have you ever tried making pizza in the open fire? Well, we have, and I must tell you that it tasted much better, than those pizzas you get from the kitchen on the corner!

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