Norwegian Wood

Fisherman's Cottage, Harald Sohlberg, Norwegian, 1906

Fisherman’s Cottage, Harald Sohlberg, Norwegian, 1906

I once had a girl
Or should I say she once had me
She showed me her room
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?
– The Beatles

This painting was photographed at the Art Institute, when we visited Chicago earlier this year. Sohlberg’s Norway is close enough in latitude to Michigan’s UP to share some similarities. Both locals are part of the boreal forest that rings the Earth’s northern pole. Both are situated on the shore of a large body of water. Both places have a cabin by this water, his was white, while ours is black.

Riffing off this painting, I was reminded of the Beatles tune, Norwegian Wood. Per Wiki, this song was a collaboration between Lennon and McCarthy. Lennon’s motivation was an affair that he had had. According to McCarthy, his then future brother-in-law had his room done out in wood, “A lot of people were decorating their places in wood. Norwegian wood. It was pine, really, cheap pine. But it’s not as good a title, ‘Cheap Pine’, baby.”

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