2021: suspensions suspended
Updated: Jul 11
Greetings from Vestrønningen and Happy New Year! We look forward to 2022 and hope that it brings more opportunities to host guests, hold events, and generally meet more people than we did in 2021! As is the custom, we wanted to recap last year in this message and expand a bit on what our plans and hopes are for 2022.
2021 was a long, strange year. We stayed home, stayed safe, and treated the farm as our island. We do have neighbors but beyond the occasional text message or wave, we have not seen much of them for a while now.
The winter was long, had a good amount of snow, and gave us some great opportunities to get out on our snowshoes, lots of time to think about projects, and otherwise enjoy the downtime that always accompanies a proper winter here at a little over 60 degrees north.
As the snow started to retreat, we started cleaning up some of the property, removing brush and small trees to open the place up a bit. Our goal is not to clear everything but, rather, to open spaces up, give good sightlines and more possibilities for access and egress. This makes the place nicer for humans to walk through and a far nicer place for the deer and moose to roam. We also leave enough patches of young growth (we call them snackbars) for the animals to browse as they go on their rounds through the forest. All together, we cleaned up a little over 3000 square meters (.75 acres).
After the snow was gone, we started foraging for fireweed shoots and young burning nettle leaves. We were able to gather enough to hold us until they grow back again (plus a little). We also made a bit of birch syrup and have plans to try to make more next year because it is delicious!
Summer started with hope and then crash-landed into nope. It became clear to us by the way the pandemic (Did we mention the year started with the whole world in the throes of a pandemic? Yeah.) was developing that we would not be doing much in the way of suspension in 2021. We know that people were doing suspension last year but decided that it was not worth the risk for us or those who would be coming here to hang.
Instead of focusing on what we could not do, we focused on what we could. We started painting the house, built some raised beds for the garden, set up a small cut shop in the barn and got our saw running, rebuilt and enclosed a portion of our front porch, changed out all of the old, downstairs windows, tended our garden, gathered wild mushrooms, and had about a good of a time as two pseudo-hermits and their cat possibly could.
During the course of the summer, we got vaccinated, which allowed us to relax a bit and consider having people out to hang. We planned a couple of rituals for people, in fact, but both of them fell through. We’ll get them done this year, hopefully.
The autumn brought cooler weather and some sad news. The suspension team we had been a part of and helped to organize (literally lending our blood, sweat, and tears to the effort for >14 years) was shutting down. Wings of Desire was a big part of our lives for a long time and now it is gone. While WoD ended in 2021, it will live on with us in several ways: in the friendships that we made with fellow crewmembers and the people who we suspended; in the skills and techniques we developed and honed in the course of the years; and—not insignificantly—in the gear that we took over from WoD. While a post about gear could—and possibly will—be an article of its own in the future, Church of Pain now has artifacts from CoRE, Skindependent (NZ), and WoD in our inventory. The view is better when you are standing on the shoulders of giants. We also expanded our inventory of hooks with a purchase of some new PS Hooks this fall, so we are seriously ready to fly!
Winter started cold in November and has stayed that way since. As the Norwegians would say, “it’s not so bad”, as it gives us time to plan, think, and fulfill our ultimate purpose as cat furniture. We have started planning private rituals and already have a few scheduled for the spring and early summer. We are tentatively planning a retreat for the summer months (more information about that soon) and are preparing for the next level of administrative work that we need to do to get Smertekirken - Church of Pain recognized by the government.
The next deadline for registration of religious organizations is 1 March, and we still need people residing in Norway to join us in order to meet the membership threshold for a religious organization (the rules changed last year). If you, or someone you know is living in Norway and is on our vibe, please join! We need to be recognized in order to have the right to (for example) marry people and we have a lovely couple who would like to do just that this summer (if we can get recognized)! So, please, please, please get the word out!
Also, if you want to help spread the word in Norway and know of a place where you can put out some flyers and or surfaces that might look better with a Smertekirken sticker, we now have flyers and stickers and we will send you some if you will put them out there!
Lastly, we want to wish you all a healthy, prosperous, and joyful 2022!