After what felt like weeks of never ending Nordic darkness accompanied by constant rain and a wind that had you fearing the walls would break apart, the light suddenly came through and this morning, we woke up to a world reborn.
The cool air finally ushered in the first snow of the season and now at 5:30pm it’s still covering the ground, so fingers crossed it decides to stick around. We are all in desperate need of the lightness it brings. Seasonal depression is no joke.
I remember clearly how I as a teen would go to school in the dark, watch the light slowly make it’s way into the classroom just before lunch break and then, at the end of the day, I’d get out just in time to watch the last rays of sun sink into the horizon.
I had my horse Sylvi back then so even though it was dark when I got home, the day was far from over. The evenings were always spent around the stable, which was 5km straight into the woods. I’ve done countless of trailrides in pitch black darkness. Thank God for reflectors.
So I got home, grabbed a snack, changed clothes and then braved the cold once again, either on my bicycle or moped. Neither was a particularly fun choice (in Swedish we would say “the plague or cholera”) so the pick of the day largely depended on whether I felt like risking a fall with the moped but get there faster or just play it safe and struggle through the snow with the bicycle.
The type of snow mattered a great deal too.
Believe it or not, the best kind was when the entire world looked like a giant ice skating rink. When everything had frozen over so quickly that the snow hadn’t yet settled. Either that or when the snow had become so thick and firm that it too turned into something somewhat resembling white ice. The two tie for first place.
You’d think it would be crazy slippery but the thing is, we have special tires for weather like that. Everything gets a winter makeover. The bike, the moped, regular shoes, horse shoes- everything is covered in tiny spikes and let me tell ya- it works like a charm.
The kind I always despised (and still do) was the way too wet snow that always came too soon and in too great an amount, making it feel more like an brutal ambush than the lovely white blanket people who don’t live in a country with proper winters make it out to be. It doesn’t even look pretty; before the day is over (if the snow is still there, that is) it has already turned all grey and muddy and gross. All it does is turn all roads into a maze of deep-set swirly tire tracks that are so hard to get through that it leaves you cursing the damned winter and wondering why you ever decided it was a good idea to live in such a wretched place. Every time.
But then a few days (or weeks) go by and the real winter sets in and you forget all about it because then, it really is as beautiful and magical as all the people who live in countries with no proper winters make it out to be.
I kind of feel like I should end it on such a happy and delightful note, but now that I got so invested into rambling on about different kinds of frozen H2O there’s no way I can leave out the absolutely worst kind. Okay, the wet, mushy kind is the worst if we’re talking appearance and feel, but if you’re actually trying to get somewhere the worst kind is when you are hit with a mixture of everything.
When it first rains a ton and then freezes, creating that world wide ice skating rink we talked about, but then also snows just enough to turn the otherwise innocent ice skating rink into a mine field of slippery spots you are utterly oblivious of until you inevitably step on one and your world is quite literally turned upside down. Or you are.
No tires are ready for this devilish surface.
In this kind of weather it’s best to just ditch all vehicles and just go with your own trusted two feet. You’ll probably still fall, but at least you’ll go down in a much more survivable speed.
Well, this wasn’t at all what I planned to write about. All I really wanted to say is that I love the light and the life it beings and that, even if these Nordic winters are in many ways brutal with their long months filled with darkness and bitter cold, I’m so thankful that mother earth has so gracefully provided us with the perfect remedy to conquer it. There’s nothing like a shimmering white blanket of pure soft delight to help remind you that even on the darkest of days, life is pretty magical.