Ryten

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Life Lessons by the Transient Nature of Light

On our third day in Lofoten, the rain had started to weaken but still felt reluctant to stop. From the window of a lonely little lodge perched upon the harbour side in Fredvang, we watched the rain haphazardly tumble down into the sea - eventually loosing its gusto and teetering to a halt. It must have been around 9pm, so we quickly laced up our boots and set off enroute to Ryten making the most of this eternal daylight. 

The ground was still sodden, with every footprint immediately filling up with water, hiking across the tundra was no different than hiking atop a giant sponge. As we gained elevation, we were finally treated to a glimpse of Lofoten’s dramatic landscapes but the summit we were headed for still lay covered in dense clouds. Optimistically, we pushed on - the sun had yet to properly shine, but it was by far the most pleasant weather we had experienced since arriving on the islands. With a splash of naivety, we were hoping for some traveller’s luck, hoping that when we finally reached the summit that the clouds would be burnt off by some late night golden sun light and we would be either standing above a sea of clouds or standing far above the Norwegian sea, watching it crash upon the white sand of Kvalvika. 

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When we had finally reached the summit of Ryten, we could scarcely see more than 10m ahead. Thick particles of moisture tumbled around like clumsy bumble bees - but then it all began to happen as we had hoped. The clouds begin to thin and turn golden. We crept to the cliff edge and far below we could see the crests of the wind ruffled sea glow gold too, but this was little more than a dirty trick played by the mountain. Within seconds we were trapped back in a world of whites and greys, but now the wind had started howling at 70 km/h carrying upon it’s gales little pellets of ice. The wind was so determined and full of spite that it was carrying the ice balls up the cliff, funnelling them directly at us and we were forced to stumble for shelter behind a giant and conveniently placed rock. That rock was so great we now joke that if any part of Lofoten deserved a cup made for it - that rock would. 

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When we had finally escaped from the clouds, we looked back towards Flakstadsoya and watched little angry storms blow in and out of the surrounding mountain ranges, while that dense cloud that protected the peak stayed in the exact same spot. It seemed the sun too had decided to join our escapade, shooting a giant spotlight of a sunbeam at the base of a ragged granite sail in the distance. The spot light danced around the landscape, coerced by the fast moving clouds - momentarily illuminating parts of the landscape in glowing sweeps and leaving the rest in the deepest of shadows. 

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It was as though the view from the summit of Ryten was to be kept a secret from us that day and instead we were shown a deeper meaning than just hiking to the top of a peak to look at the view. To only glimpse fragments of the landscape, visually savouring each unhidden piece of the vista before it disappeared and the next revealed itself from beneath the cloud. We realised up there that every view was a gift. Much like life in its transiency, its moments needing to be appreciated right there and then as everything can change so fast.

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