No birds in here


These last few years there are increasingly often patches of dark blue and light pink lupines along the roads in the Tromsø area in N. Norway. Today I saw lots of them and they seem to spread a bit for every year. They are the garden lupines, stately and spectacular flowers, that really stand out among the local flowers. So why do I hate to see them there?

I have my reasons for myself; ‘the flowers are ostentatious and somehow too garishly prominent’ and they push out local flowers; they are also officially black-listed here in Norway. But probably the main reason is in reality the same xenophobia, that hits me when I watch the Egyptian Geese in Holland and the Canada Geese in Norway: ‘these are stangers and I don’t like strangers. And this uneasiness seems to diminish over the years: I look at pheasants with equanimity, and at the ‘Tromsø palms’, the gigantic exotic Heracleum flowers (also black-listed) that are so much a feature of Tromsø now, but that were introduced 150 years ago, with only vague displeasure, mainly because the juice from the leaves combined with sunshine can give serious itches.

I know all that, but still I greatly dislike the lupines every time I see them. Not all that civilized, I’m afraid.

Wim Vader, Tromsø, Norway

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