My parents live in a rural town of about 6000 inhabitants. I was raised in this town and spent 19 years of my life there before leaving it behind. Naturally we often visit, as both my parents and grandparents still live where they ‘always’ have. It’s only an hour and a half away from here.
They’ve had Son visit them alone for a few days at a time the past weeks, as I have started work and Husband is offshore. I spent part of the weekend with them before taking Son home again. While there I made time for a hike in the mountainous area surrounding the town.
Five minutes from my parents’ front door I find myself at the foot of the mountain. Up a small hill and I’m in the middle of the forest, junipers, birches and grass dominate the landscape as well as smooth and often slippery roots. The path is not very well thread, I wade through high grass and often have to climb over knee high rocks to continue on the path. The first part of the walk is steep. I realise the treadmill I use to get my heart pumping is nothing compared to the real deal. I can feel my pulse, I pant and increasingly find myself leaning my hand and upper body on my knee as I climb the largest rocks. After a few minutes I find myself on the first plateau. I stop to catch my breath, sit down and eat a few blueberries. The proper kind of blueberries that make your tongue and teeth blue, while the fingers are left with purple stains. I enjoy the scenery and fresh mountain air before I get up again and walk towards a clearing at the edge of the plateau.
The town is stretched out beneath me. I call my father who takes Son out in the garden to wave at me. We then hang up. Son calls me from the porch. His voice carries all the way up to where I stand. I’m amazed at how well the sound carries. I raise both my hands up in the air and wave the best I can for him to see me. He claims he did.
I turn off the path and continue along an even less thread path than the previous. I again wade through high grass, climb rocks and even fight my way through tall junipers. I scratch my arms and sting my fingers on the needles. I’m not sure where this path ends up, I have been in the area many times before, but the paths have been wider. The path suddenly comes to a halt in between two tall junipers. I am about to turn, in doubt about whether I have actually found a proper path. I am reminded of a song by the Proclaimers, one line goes “do you want to follow paths or blaze a trail”. I smile at myself. I’m no quitter at least. I barge through the bushes and continue in the same direction. I hear the river roam somewhere in front of me and thus would always find my way, even if my own sense of direction would abandon me completely. I am headed for a narrow, country road, I’m not sure where exactly on the road, but I know I will find it soon.
The sun is high in the sky, it’s warm and I am now on the narrow road. The air is drier than in the forrest, and there is no shade along the road.
I’ve left my bottle of water at home, and am now getting thirsty. I eat a few wild raspberries. The quality and taste is the same as those found by the sea. There are more of them here, outside the city.
The scenery around the road is different to how it was last time I was here. Many trees have been cut down, and a large water pipe has been removed. The forest is still very much the same, and has not suffered much. In fact the changes might even be good for the fauna.
There have been waterworks in the area for many decades. These are now rebuilding and changing their location slightly. I pass an old English looking house. The house was built at the same time as the first waterworks as Brits assisted with their knowledge and a bit of work force in the initial phase.
I continue along the road. Climbing. It is longer than I remembered it to be. I turn right at another dirt road, and soon find myself by the river. It is dammed, but there is still a proper river running down the mountain and hills towards the town. A new bridge has been built. I cross it and find myself in a different world. The descent will follow tomorrow