One of the biggest adjustments I had to make during my study abroad was learning how to adapt to the climate. With the seasons changing 4 times a year, the transition periods are the toughest parts. Just seeing the sun is out is not a definite sign that it is warm. Nowadays that Autumn is coming up, the sun can be out in a perfectly blue sky with the wind blowing fiercely in single-degree temperatures. I find that a jacket, scarf, and gloves are indispensable. Yet despite having my least favorite combination of weather phenomenon (wind+rain), I truly love how everything looks during Autumn. Chilly as it might be, the trees look absolutely lovely in warm shades of yellow, orange, and red. It is my first time seeing Norway during fall and I am even more in love with it.
So with the cold Autumn winds, people must prefer to stay indoors and stay warm right? Cold temperatures and rainy days comprise our idea of a perfect day to snuggle up under our covers. Well, that is not exactly the case here. I do not exaggerate when I say that Norwegians love to be outdoors and are incredibly active. You see mothers taking 10 km hikes while pushing strollers or father and son pairs taking their mountain bikes uphill. Grandparents almost always overtake me when I jog, and toddlers and teenagers are seen doing some type of weird sport I never even knew existed. “Bad” weather is no excuse for not going outdoors. You can make it through anything with the right clothing. I don’t blame them. Norway’s nature is incredibly beautiful and it makes you realize that the how the world was made was no accident. Plus, going outside to breathe the fresh air, taste the clean water, and walk amongst the trees is absolutely free.
I now make it a point to be outdoors as much as possible. Have you ever wondered what peace looks like? I think it looks like sunset at Sognsvann lake. Sognsvann lake is just a 10-minute walk from the flat and is an area that is filled with people running, biking, hiking, swimming, canoeing, and barbecuing. Despite the tons of activities that can be done there, it is not a crowded tourist trap and that is the best part. Beautiful view with no crazed tourists trying to fight you for a spot= heaven. It is honestly one of my favorite parts of Oslo.
Yesterday, Justin and I went for a jog around Sognsvann and chanced upon the sunset. We always go a little earlier, but this time we ended up going at around 6 PM and were just completely sidetracked by the view. I’d like to share some of our pictures from that day.
When we started running, it was still a bit cloudy. Nonetheless, the lake was extra still as there were no people, ducks, or boats. It was such a peaceful sight. The lake made a perfect mirror image of the trees around it.
Justin and I stopped to take pictures and admire the place. Some people were sitting by the bank enjoying a good book, the company of their dog, or taking photos like us. Only the occasional ripples caused by fish in the lake disrupted its glassy look. Months ago when I was struggling with my stress-related anxiety, I did meditation, yoga, and keeping a gratitude journal daily. My mindset then reminded me of the lake I saw. I was able to reflect and focus on only the present, in this case the trees. My mind was still filled with lots of things, but I was able to prevent the insignificant from coming to the surface. A still mind with only ripples appearing now and then, but never swallowed up by waves of worry. It felt good to be reminded of that feeling and to have some external representation to anchor to.
We kept running and started noticing the sky turning pink. There was this big rock that allowed us to walk nearer the lake so we could watch the sunset. The pictures I’m including here haven’t been edited except for the watermarks. I took them with the camera on my LG G6, so not all colors were distinctly captured. Nonetheless, it was a sight to behold.
First, the pink was very faint. You can barely make it out from the distance, but we knew it was there. You can see it reflected in the water as well.
This was 10 minutes after the first photo and now the sky is streaked with pink and orange. All the while you can see the forest mirrored in the lake. Despite the gusts of wind, the sky and trees looked so warm with their colors. I felt very content watching something so beautiful with a loved one (hala cheesy). Sognsvann was always a familiar haunt for us, but we had no idea why we never chose to see it at this hour.
After 10 more minutes, the sky from both ends of the lake was streaked with red, orange, and pink. The water seemed dark blue under the almost night sky. It was a bit cloudy so you couldn’t see any stars, but the sunset glow made up for it. People were starting to gather behind us. It was so quiet and still. You knew people were amazed with what they saw, but there was hardly any noise. We were all in silent admiration of such a simple thing before us. The sun sets every single day, but it’s hard not to feel blessed that beauty like this is made available so frequently. I always lived in the city and I don’t think I’ve experienced being this still in my life. Yet, I didn’t feel alone. In silence, stillness, and peace, the human connection among all people witnessing this even became evident. We didn’t need to say anything. We all knew we were incredibly fortunate to live in a world like this.
And that’s what I think peace looks like.