Remember my telling you what a dream Easter is in Norway? How the perfect Easter is brilliant white snow and brilliant yellow sun? We have that right now. I wore wool underwear and sunglasses for my walk home from the store, carrying a generic automated coffee machine cappuccino which tasted surprisingly good if not cappuccino-y. I just had to take the long way home, around the pond. The weather outside is too beautiful to ignore, to not want to wander around in for a while. Ice underfoot, and warmth on my face.
I did not bring any camera. Of course, with birds out and about, beautiful snow and sunshine, that was a mistake. But I’ll take my inspiration from Unphotographable – “a text account of pictures missed”. And in that vein, there will also be sound bites.
Unphotograph 1: The pussy willow’s gray female flowers are larger and plumper now and as the sunlight hits them, they turn into glistening silver eggs, turning the tips of their tree into precious metal.
Sound bite 1: I hear what sounds like someone pulling on a spring door stop, a subtle “thwong”, accompanied by some clicking sounds. I follow the direction of the unusual sound to a tree 10 yards away and see a crow. “Do that again,” I say to it in a stage whisper. It hears me and freezes. “I want to hear it again,” I whisper again. The crow eyes me. “I just want to hear that sound again,” I plead breathily to the crow. A second crow appears on a lower branch and clicks and thwongs. The “thwong” is actually a sort of soft caw done in a bass voice.
Unphotograph 2: Our local mountain, Løvstakken, is drenched in powdered sugar, the dark tops of pine trees and still leafless birches and craggy gray rock poking up in the sugar. The mountain is fully lit by the sunshine, and stands gentle and beautiful above the valley like a mother modelling her Sunday best before her admiring children.
Sound bite 2: For a moment, no car drives by, no voice is carried across the pond, no wing flaps across the sky and no bird calls. In that moment, there is silence, a moment of no activity whatsoever. And in this moment, a sound not there: The soft whoosh of an unseen breeze brushing against my ears. The breeze exists only in my hearing; it is too gentle to impact anything larger than the surface of an ear drum.
Unphotograph 3: Above, whispy clouds drape across the blue sky like voile curtains. The tendrils of the clouds criss-cross each other transparently, making a shape that makes me think of an X-ray of a bird, with the bones of its chest and wings surrounded by a diffuse blur that is the bird’s flesh.
Sound bite 3: I am absorbed by what I see, the sun halfway up the sky between its summer zenith and the horizon, still casting long shadows, but also facing us on the planet surface more directly, melting the snow and ice on the ground, creating a multitude of lilliputian rivers and lakes. I am made aware of a background noise, so familiar it doesn’t register at first, but when it does, I am delighted. It is the sound of a family out in the sunshine. It is the sound of children laughing, shrieking with joy in their play on the snow, nearby mothers making goofy noises to their toddlers, and adults talking amiably with each other. It makes me feel good to hear people not yelling, chiding, grumbling, just enjoying each other’s company and enjoying the day.