Watching Stories

Sedimentation

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There’s a side of Norway I love: you take the boat like you take the bus and in an hour and a half, you go from your door step to a little lost corner at the bottom of a fjord, without having to take your car. The boat drops you at the foot of the mountains, on a tiny dock, with no road and no living soul. This is how I went to spend five days on my own in the mountains, between snow and sea.
On these first days of spring, I wanted to see what’s happening in altitude. But after an hour with knee-deep soft snow I pitched the tent, to return to the valley the next day. Two rooms, two atmospheres (as we say in French) ! Set in a pine forest overlooking the fjord, beneath this blue sky, I feel like I am on the Mediterranean coast.
As usual this time of year, altitude is like a time travel machine. While silence and stillness reign as masters on the high places, downstream it seems like a great exuberance. The Grey-headed Woodpecker’s call gently wakes you up, what a delight! Then the Thrushes, the Wrens and the Chaffinch sing at the top of their voices, while the Great Tits come in pairs a few meters away to summon you out of their territory. In the meantime, the Redpolls and Siskins continue their winter patrols in dense groups.
In the stillness of a windless, cloudless heat, a pair of Ravens is enjoynig its intimacy. Circling side by side, they practice their flight in tandem. Slowly, with great caution, one comes to place on top of the other, in a perfect parallel trajectory. It can see the tiny movement of their wings, the measure in each turn of the flight. When getting very close to one another, they exchange very soft sounds, barely audible. A low voice conversation that concerns only them and that any breath of air would have prevented me from hearing. A breeze slightly shakes the balance, breaks them apart, and the choreography starts again.
On my side, feet firmly grounded on earth, I still carry this hustle and bustle of everyday life in my head. In an instant my mind jumps from the to-do list, to upcoming projects, to memories, music, book excerpt, movies, people to call…etc. It always takes me a few days for it to dissolve little by little in observation and contemplation, in the way of muddy water that only calmness and time can transform into clear water once all particles are sedimented.
At first, I thought it was a funny coincidence, that my first fine observations, first sketches and watercolors, usually only arrive after the third day. But the systematicity of the phenomenon led me to admit that the reason was more inside me than outside. The first few days, I run all over the place to explore, to make the most of the time I have here and maximize my chances of coming home with images. But as always, wanting to apply your schedule to nature doesn’t work! The same mistake over and over again. Instead of forcing our way of doing on the world, we must give away to its rythm, let go and accept to be more disciple than master. So, we stop being purely brain, running in circles in our heads, to give their place to our senses ; we listen instead of hearing, we observe instead of seeing. That’s when the magic happens and here I am with a volley of sketches and watercolors that I love!
Wishing you all a beautiful spring. Enjoy the most of it, it always goes by too fast!
Adrien
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