Walking an article – Part 3 – Walking a lifescape

Hazel R. Wright

My first night in Norway I was a guest of Inger-Helen, rather daunted initially by how far she is from the city – a distance measured in bridges and tunnels carved through the mountains and exposing the rocks within – what a geographer’s delight! We were all invited for dinner, but I would have the chance to do the return journey in daylight – and, oh how wonderful, a journey crisply outlined in overnight snow. But I jump ahead too fast for, on the outward drive, she took us “off piste” to visit some special places, the fruits of the voluntary work she undertakes (alongside the full-time academic stuff) to ensure that her community thrives. We went to the “little house” (a historic youth house and local community house) and then the “bigger house” (Storstova, a new-build house on the school site), a hall with a first-floor theatre that both the school and community can use. Inger Helen was a part of raising the funds necessary for their upkeep (even construction), organizing shows, concerts and family festivals that bring the community together. We visited (and bought from) the local cove-side shop run cooperatively as she envisaged. And at her house, a lakeside chalet set on the land her family had lived on for generations, we understood why she has written an article about the story of a local resistance movement to prevent the building of a nuclear plant along its shore (perhaps you heard her presentation at ESREA 2015). It is a tranquil, beautiful place where watching the changing light and listening to the waves could be a full-time job in itself! I feel family, too, now – for her big black cat spent the entire night purring happily on my chest – by far the most comfortable choice from those he offered me!

Hazel walking and talking – in the newborn snow (ph: Inger Helen Midtgård)

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