– I want to go on a trip! She says.
– Ok, let’s go, I say.
– Yes. Promise.
And I really do promise. Some promises you just have to keep. Even though December is probably even more jam packed with busy days than in the autumn, when we didn’t manage to go on any trips.
– Your backpack is bigger than when we went hiking across Norway last year, she grins when I put my backpack on my back.
– A bit of comfort is in order, I smile. It is winter solstice after all. And it doesn’t matter if we’re a bit slow getting out the door. The longest night of the year is ahead of us.
I tried to get hold of a couple of kerosene lanterns before leaving, thinking it might be cozy to bring them with us, but my search ended in vain. The closest I came to in our little town was a lantern at the local Clas Ohlson hardware store. It definitely looked like a kerosene lantern, yes, I would easily have thought it to be a kerosene lantern had it not been for the fact that it ran on batteries and lit using LED bulbs.
– LED bulbs? Bah!
I went for two 49 kroner Christmas lanterns instead.
– Should we light our headlamps? I look at her questioningly.
– No! Let’s walk without them! Let’s stick to our Christmas lanterns!
Just for the record: There’s an incredible amount of natural magic in a candle. Especially when it is inside a 49 kroner Christmas lantern. That is apparent the moment we turn onto the small path behind the house and see the pine trunks emerge from the darkness of night in the dim, flickering red light from the lanterns. We tumble into the dark on the black path, fumbling onto a diminutive track, crawl up a ridge, putting our backpacks on a tiny ledge on a steep, small hillside with a view to the sea of forests to the north.
We light a small campfire, eat our simple meal, making ready to sleep under the open sky and try not to think to hard about the fact that we have to be up at six the next morning so Siri can arrive in time for this year’s last day at school.
– See, that’s why my backpack was so big, I say, pulling a small ukulele out of the pack. There is an incredible amount of natural magic in a ukulele too. Even in one that’s not completely in tune. We round off our little celebration of the winter solstice with gentle tones under the thin grey duvet of clouds quietly resting over the forest.
– Play some more, Dad.
I play some more.