The church of Vårvik in a summer’s night

It was raining when we arrived. This dry, dry summer. Rain. Large drops fell sparsely on the surface of the lake. We had come on the narrow gravel road through the woods. The uninhabited forest where owls and night jars thrive. And here the field of vision opened. The forest receded. Further on, small farms and meadows were seen. And down by the lake lay the church. Here, near the border between Dalsland and Värmland, Vårvik’s church is located on a promontory in Lake Västra Silen.

Dalsland is crossed by flowing water and lake systems. From the Östra Silen, the water flows through Västra Silen and then through the long narrow lake Svärdlång and further through Laxsjön, Råvarpen and Upperuds älven into Lake Vänern. The names of the two Silen lakes refer to a Swedish word ”sil” meaning strainer in English. People in northern Dalsland say that Svärdlång has the purest water because of that, for ”it flows through two strainers”. Here, at the church of Vårvik, we are far from the sources of pollution of civilization, and everything feels clean and untouched.

It was already evening when we arrived, but summer nights in July are bright. Rain dropped slowly, slowly from the sky. The cemetery’s flowers have been bracing themselves against the drought, and they were trembling now, to receive the drops of moisture from the sky.

For a short while, the rain increased. We heard fish splashing in the lake. As we walked to the end of the promontory the rain ceased and in that hot evening the moisture quickly dried away on the stones and the ground. We sat watching the view of the quiet lake.

The bright summer sky reflected in the water in pastel, gold and platinum.

Slowly fell a summer dusk in the quiet evening. Just behind the cape, invisible to us, but still close, the loon called his ancient alarm. A swift struck its swirling flashing hunt over the water surface.

As the sun was slowly sinking behind the mountains in the Northwest, it appeared for a moment in a gap among the clouds and everything was transformed.

After the setting of the sun there were new shades of light painting sky and water to our eyes.

A long time, we sat watching the shifts of light in the warm summer night. Vårvik’s church was breathing slowly. Was this a dream? Was it dawn already?


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