On googling the history of this site, it transpires that before modern times, the peak at Vettakollen was a beacon. That is, it could be lit as part of an alarm system. An alarm system for what, I’m not sure, perhaps Fire or marauding Swedes. The latter is most likely as the historically relationship with Sweden has been turbulent. Norway, Denmark and Sweden entered a union together in 1397 and remained in it for 150 years. Prior to this, Norway owned Iceland, Greenland, part of Scotland including Shetland, and Faroe as well as the Isle of Man, although a good deal of changing hands had happened, particularly since Iceland was settled in the tenth century by a Norwegian chieftain. From here, Leif Erikson (the chieftain) would go on to discover what was thought to be Newfoundland in Canada, the first European to land those shores. Once Sweden left the union in 1523, Norway and Denmark maintained one of the first modern real multilingual and multinational unions, like the European Union. Both had monarchies and shared Iceland, Greenland, and several colonies in the Caribbean, coastal Africa and India.

This relationship worked until 1814 and the Napoleonic Wars. UK and Ireland sided with Sweden against Denmark-Norway who were allies with France. This forced the hands of Denmark-Norway to cede Iceland and parts of Greenland to Sweden, who the UK and Russia supported and rewarded Sweden’s alliance against Napoleon with this land-grab. Norway ignored this demand, declared independence, and was invaded by Sweden in the same year. This was a brief war and brought about the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway.

This was peacefully dissolved in 1905 although within this time, Norway saw a huge exodus of its population to the USA in the mid-19th century. During its union with Sweden, Norway had had a Swedish King, and in 1905, elected to dissolve the union, against the King’s wishes.

In the first world war, Norway was officially neutral though offering services and equipment to UK. In World War Two, Norway was occupied by Germany, its own Government sought exile in London for the duration. In the latter half of the twentieth century would find itself one of the largest exporters of Oil and economically strong without any deficit.

It would make sense then that this site is old, its function as a beacon likely medieval. Very nearby is Holmenkollen, a huge, shiny, metal ski jump that rises into the sky and is viewable from anywhere in Oslo. Around it, on the hills, are dense woodland host to a wide array of Trees. I noted silver Birch as well as Oak and of course Pine, which is the most abundant.

I’m always amazed that you can find pines here in Norway as well as hotter european countries like Spain.

When I visited my trees (I couldn’t commit to just one), they were not sappy, instead they were beginning to rot, I guess only live trees express sap and that was fine with me.

On my second day I discovered another fallen Pine very near to my other one and wanted to play and lie with it. I could have done this for a lot longer. I visited them both on the third visit a week later.

They are are both on their sides, either fallen over or felled. One has been cut by chainsaw, maybe a few years ago, another seems to have fallen over suddenly. Its roots have held there shape, like a hand splayed out wide beneath the wrist. The roots were shallow, spread over the top of the large rocks the make up most of Vettakollen. You can see how shallow they were. I imagine the one that is felled, the trunk of which I stand on, has been felled as part of managing the forest.

In Norwegian, Pinner, means sticks, as in pieces of broken tree branches that you might throw for a Dog or burn. The Norwegian word for Pine is Furu.

I played and laid with my trees. I began to think that if I did this enough then I would be able to recall their stillness when I was without them, lying in bed trying to sleep or on a long journey for example. I know this to be true from spending a lot of my youth playing musical instruments to such an extent that I could dream about playing clarinet scales in my sleep. I knew their weight in my hands and fingers. I know their resistance.

Apparently if you count the rings inside the tree, you can tell how old it is but I thought it was rude to do so, so I didn’t. However I did take a picture.

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