Easter Ponderings

Easter is a special time for many Norwegians. Not so much for its religious significance, not at all in fact. Easter is when we seek up in the mountains, to go skiing and enjoy the last spell of winter. It’s one of our major holidays, and as such I think Norwegians are almost alone in the world to have institutionalized the whole week between the weekend of Palm Sunday and the Easter Weekend, included Easter Monday, as days off. That is 10 days of holidays in March or April—depending on when Easter falls in any given year.

For many Norwegians having a cabin in the mountains it what means to be Norwegian. Almost as their birthright. And part of that legacy is the pilgrimage up in the mountain during Eastern.

Certainly, plenty of Norwegian don’t own a cabin in the mountains. Some prefer one along the extensive coastline. And some don’t have a cabin at all. Me being one. I have never wanted the bonds and the limitations owning a cabin impose on you. I want the freedom to roam wherever I desire. Of course, it’s an economical question as well.

Even without my own cabin, I have sought out the high mountains during Easter, but then rather backpacking; sleeping in a tent, snow caves or public cabins or lodges spread out in the mountains. That is another special feature of Norway. An outdoor organization runs a network of cabins or huts all over the country. Some are run like lodges—with full board and lodging—but some are unattended, with only food you may use, stored in the cabins. The system is based on trust; that you leave payment for the lodging and the food that you use.

The alpine region of winter mountains can be quite weather prone. I remember one Easter, many, many years ago. A friend and I was captured by a full storm with heavy snowfall and strong winds. It lasted for almost a week. We dug a snow cave, and spent the next many days inside the cave. Safe, but pretty bored by the time the storm dwindled.

Despite both the danger and the nuisance of possibly bad weather during winter in the mountains, I have learned that waiting for good weather, will only make sure you never get going. In fact, I have discovered that defying foul weather often gives the strongest, most exquisite and most memorable experiences (at least as long as you play it safe). Not the least for a photographer. It’s in the moments of transitions between bad and good—or good and bad—that the mountain show off its best. Besides, I live in the part of the world where, if you wait for nice weather, you may wait for a long time.

And here comes what this is all leading up to: It’s exactly how inspiration and creativity works. You cannot wait for it to show up. You will have to go after it with a club, as the writer Jack London once said. Or as the American painter, artist and photographer put it: “Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us show up and get to work”.

Inspiration isn’t prone to show up when you need it—just like nice weather in the mountains isn’t. If you wait for it, you might wait a long time. Instead, get yourself properly dressed, to use the outdoor metaphor¸ and get going. Set yourself down in front of the computer or the drawing pad, or grab your camera and get outside. It might be hard work and rather unpleasant in the beginning, but suddenly everything changes. Suddenly, you find yourself in a magical moment, the light of inspiration spiriting you away, the flow of creative taking you to unknown places.

Enjoy Easter, whether you celebrate it or not. And enjoy being creative.

The photos in this post have been captured over several Easters.

90 thoughts on “Easter Ponderings

  1. Fabulous atmospheric photos, Otto. While I really don’t envy you the snow there’s no doubt that it can inspire. Have a great Easter in your wonderful mountains 🤗💕

  2. Wonderful pictures with the article, I think you already bring inspiration to many by this post already!

    I know creativity or solution for a problem does not come at will. It just pops up given you keep seeking for it in the background in your mind 🙂

  3. Nice story Otto. Here in Canada (Southern Ontario) we may have just had our last snow. But I doubt it. We used to be able to predict these things better in the past. You know, back when I was a youngster 100 years ago. Your pictures are beautiful and evoke a sense of clean solitude away from the dirty hustle and bustle of a city. Where the only zooming you’re doing is with your camera and skis.

    1. I bet you can still get away from the hustle and bustle of cities in Canada as well. But, yes, the weather used to be much more predictable back whenever. Thanks for the comment, Wayne.

  4. Amazing shots and a wonderful tradition, to boot! I agree… Those days where you are uninspired are the ones where you have to push yourself and end up being pleasantly surprised!

  5. Wise words, Otto. Sometimes when I’m feeling sad I grab the camera and head for a park, any park, and I always, every single time, find something worthy of an image (usually many somethings) and I come home much happier than when I left.

  6. There is something about a fresh blanket of snow that is so beautiful and peaceful if there is little to no wind. With the wind there are marvelous snow drifts to capture images of. Waiting for the weather to change, yah, you will never go anywhere. I had one friend who offered to take me to a park last summer and literally checked the hourly weather forecast. I couldn’t believe it! It took forever to make plans and actually go anywhere. I wish you a safe journey, be prepared and enjoy the mountain experience this spring.

  7. Wonderful photos. There’s something about snow that will always be magical for me….even though I can’t get up to the alps to enjoy it any more. It brings back fond memories of my youth and physical health at that time.

    Hope you have a great time outdoors during Easter wherever you go/are.

      1. Bon Jovi agrees with you both. One of my favorite of his songs — “It’s My Life” — contains the lyrics, “Luck ain’t even lucky – got to make your own breaks.”

  8. I am absolutely fascinated by your mountains, the great pictures and above all, Otto, by your story and this sentence:“Inspiration is for amateurs, the rest of us show up and get to work”. I have grown up in a hilly surrounding and was used to a lot of snow, so this takes me back to my youth!
    Have an Easter time according to your wishes!

  9. Excellent shots, the figure of the skier seems dwarfed by these snowbound mountains, such a different world from what most of us live in. A week in a snow cave!

  10. Beautiful winter photos Otto and I enjoyed your thoughts on how to find inspiration. With life having slowed down and travel limited, looking more closely at the wonderful outdoor places close at hand has been a revelation!

  11. You do live in quite an interesting part of the world! Glad you have had an opportunity to get out from under the craziness of this last year and start to enjoy your area again. Beautiful images! Have a great holiday!

  12. Beautiful images!…and such inspiring words. So true. If we put in the hours then there will be rewards. Wish you happy mountain adventures this Easter! 🙂

  13. Magnifiche atmosfere in questi bellissimi scatti. Non ho mai fatto escursioni sulla neve così belle, chissà se riuscirò prima o poi a fareìne una.
    Buona Pasqua a te e famiglia.
    Un grande saluto, Patrizia

  14. Wow was Refulgent place 😔 definitely I haven’t been in that kind of place before.
    How I wish configure to be there to celebrate my esther 💃💃💃💃💃👯👯👯👯👯

  15. those are stunning pictures!!!!!! reminds me of a dream my husband had of walking across and icy snow bound lake, and losing himself there…. Happy Easter, Otto xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  16. Beautiful. I love the idea of heading up into the mountains and finding creativity and inspiration in the moment. Happy Easter Otto and may you find creativity and magic wherever you are. 🙏

  17. Mountains (and to a great degree snow as well) are a religion in their own right……. enjoy your Easter ‘spiritual’ escape to the tops . Some temptingly teasing images 🙂

  18. Your post has given me new insight as to what an adventurer you are. I can’t imagine spending days in a snow cave! Of course we have a long winter here in Colorado too. I imagine Norway is like Colorado … if you don’t like winter and snow you should probably live elsewhere. All the photos are wonderful but I especially love the last … a good choice for the end!

  19. Sometimes, what we find less pleasing in a photo can be as instructive as what we do like. In this series, I wasn’t as fond of the third and fifth photos. I finally figured out why. The other photos present strong curves — the tops of the mountains, or ski tracks. The standing person seemed a little static, and the parallel tracks in the fifth reminded me immediately of a vehicle! I’m sure they were the tracks of the skiers, too, but still…

    That’s one reason looking at others’ photos has been so helpful to me. Learning what appeals in your photos helps my eye to find similar forms in the world, and I think my photos have improved because of that.

    1. That is a beautiful thing to say. Thank you, Linda. And then I don’t mind your problems with a couple of the images. We are all different and have different responses. As it should be. 🙂

  20. Enjoying the visuals you have shared and the images you painted with your words, it is my opinion that this period of time you have set aside is pretty much as close to a religious experience you can get. It may not be everyone else’s idea of “Easter” but you definitely have to feel closer to God while experiencing it.

  21. Maybe it’s because I’m handicapped now and I am no longer able to do the winter activities I had a passion for..but by Easter I’m quite mad with longing for green growing things.

    Do you travel to the snow? I have friends who, while I am enraptured by my gardens, are chasing what they call the best skiing snow; spring snow. Wild. It’s a great big wonderful world and we all have our passions.

  22. Another worthwhile message and such gorgeous photos! It’s also interesting to learn about the Norwegian Easter traditions – thank you!

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