Saturday, February 12, 2011

The huldre and heavy metal

I woke up in the middle of the night, deep in the darkness with thoughts of the huldre, one of the hidden people of Norwegian folklore. The huldre appears to young men as a beautiful maiden and lures them away never to be seen again. One can tell if a woman is a huldre by looking at her back where she will either have a tail or appear as a burned out log. Hidden people inhabit all the Earth and cultures that are still connected to nature know them by many names and forms and shapes that best fit their geography.

There's no reason that I can't find a huldre in the marsh, except that I am no longer a young man. Age and wisdom, such as it is, keeps my course and prevents me from the sideways wandering that makes one easy prey to the charms of the huldre. There is, in Norwegian folklore, a story of a boy who escaped after being lured by the huldre into a den of hidden people. He rode away on bronze skis. It is, of course, only a story.

I start out from where I ended yesterday, my tracks in the mud still fresh. There are few ducks in the south lagoon these days, perhaps the feeding is better to the north. But, it is still a fine bird day with redwing blackbirds trilling more than I can recently remember. In the east channel of the burial island, I watch one feed on the moss of a leaning alder tree. An eagle sits on the northern ugly sculpture and an immature eagle is in the burial island tree that the resident eagles perch in, although it sits on a different branch and looks out of place.

As I move north up the east shore, another eagle crosses my bow to take a spot in an evergreen on shore. It's whistling chirp makes me look again and I find its mate nearby.

The NE lagoon is empty except for a Steller's jay and a northern flicker that is busy hammering away at the top of a street lamp. The dead goose that I found here is gone now and good raccoon tracks are all around.

At the north point I stop and point out the eagles and the two nests to some bird watchers. As I describe what to watch for when an eagle hunts they ignore me...because, as I turn and look over my shoulder, they are watching an eagle hunt.

The annual great blue heron congregation seems to be just starting. There are no herons down on #1 island, the usual spot, but there are at least ten standing on the top of a nearby building.


At the small island near the west lodge, I retrieve the old rusty barrel that I had set up to drain a few days back. I was going to tow it to the main shore, but I find that I can lift it into the canoe, although it is very top heavy. It weighs more than my canoe and sits quite high. I have looked at this thing for a couple years and it is most satisfying to remove it.

The wind comes up strong as I return to the canoe. The 3/8 of a mile to the east end of the ancient portage is an arm breaker.

2 comments:

Kathleen Faulkner said...

Excellent... and a beautiful photo, as well.

sarmila said...

dear mr. scott, i happened to read that reference of yours about the huldre,the hidden people of Norwegian folklore. in my culture, we also have same mysterious charmers. they belong to different catagories ,depending their behaviour. there is a beautiful woman called YAKSHI ,who resides on a tree called Ezhilam Pala(Alstonia Scholaris).It's small white flowers fill the area with great smell.
At midnight hour she awaits travellors who happened to sleep under the tree. she acts like a country girl and attracts the travellor, offering him betle leaf and a little lime...there are a lot of myths like this in our state.