Markus Naerheim
Markus Naerheim


A Perilous and Fantastic Journey

He had been in the forest for many days, and he was hungry. The canopy of pine and fir trees shielded the sun, but now it had gone away entirely, so that not even the filtered light shined through.

Photo by Odd Kåre Wiik

He needed the sun to warm himself. It was nearly Winter, and all the creatures of the forests were gone. The insects had been born, mated, and had died or been eaten. The amphibians and mammals had gone to hibernate through the cold, dead months. The deer, moose and fox were still about, but these were not food for him. He needed to eat and store up energy before he, too, settled down for the winter.

The snake continued his solitary sinuous journey through the undergrowth of the forest floor. The abundance of summer had passed and now his territory was barren of life. He would have to hunt elsewhere.

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On the Rocks


It was nearly midnight and Henrik was blissfully alone. He was on summer break at the family cabin, which provided the perfect setting for him to pursue his research in peace.

Photo by Markus Naerheim

The cabin was located on a peninsula between the fjord and a small bay. The fjord was wide enough so that the houses on the other landmass were not visible. During heavy storms, the far shore would disappear completely.

The bay itself was surrounded by mountains on all sides. The peaks of the mountains were a blend of blue-gray depending on the cloud cover, and even appeared purple in stormy weather. Below a certain altitude, they were shrouded in green scrub that gave way to a thick skirt of forest, which extended nearly to the waterline.

The forest also had its moods. On warm summer days, the trees were light green and distinguishable one from the next. During a storm, they huddled into an opaque dark green or black mass for protection. In the north, the weather changed like a man’s mood might change with his fortune; its arrival could mean the death of a fisherman out in the fjord, or the difference between a pleasant hike in the highlands, and a hastily built fire in the shelter of a cliff.


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Grappling Hook

So I decided to buy a grappling hook. You know, something handy that I could keep in the car in case of emergency. In case I might need to scale an imposing cliff face or the wall of an office building.

Image from eBay

None of you will be surprised to learn that there is a lot of variety in the grappling hook market. It seemed I wasn’t the only one who wanted to connect with his inner ninja. After some deliberation, I went for a smaller collapsible four-claw variety, mid-range in price, deciding that it was most appropriate for casual use in a suburban environment. Not only is a grappling hook a handy tool, but it is also very satisfying to say. 

At first it was just reassuring to have it in the car and know that I could grapple at a moment’s notice. I had never grappled anything in my entire life, and I decided it was about time to start. I first began to put it to use grappling the morning paper from the driveway, then at the grocery store where I grappled fruit and vegetables from the produce displays. Which generated some odds looks. It didn’t take long before a clerk came by and told me that in spite of my obvious skill, I couldn’t grapple in the store. Really, since when? Was that documented company policy? In fact it was. He turned and pointed to a sign on the wall with a grappling hook with a line through it. Grappling Forbidden! How could I have missed that? 

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