Winter in Finland is the longest season, one that is just not something a person gets used to. After all these years, I still haven’t yet wrapped my head around it. There’s just something about the night between November and say February, which makes it almost impossible for me to get accustomed to this kind of winter where days are unbelievable short and nights painfully long. The kind of winter where darkness does not have to mean night time, where the taking and fetching of kids from school happens while it’s still dark. To be sure, a unique and unusual winter to someone like me. Admittedly and thankfully there is more than one side to this season, which makes it a little easier to get through the months. There is the beautiful, enchanting and even breath-taking face of Finland covered in snow. The trees in the forest take on a new and magical quality, the vast open spaces become like the stuff of fairy tales and everything has the look of a wonderland in the dreamscape. This beautiful side has been my saving grace and the only way in which I could find a place within me to accept that the days and the months will take as long as they will take to unfold and that eventually the snow would melt. This patience and acceptance took me by surprise as for the last four winters of my living in these here parts, I have always had my eye keenly on the calendar, counting down the days until it would officially be declared springtime! This approach I must admit, has not stood me in good stead, quite the contrary if anything as with every passing month it felt like the goal posts kept shifting. When I worried about how long the winter was, it turned out to have the same effect as waiting for a kettle to boil- the result is that it it just seems to take forever to happen!
I have to confess that even though word is that spring is in the air, I still don’t think I’ve bought into that idea fully , in fact, I still feel pretty much like staying in my cocoon (perhaps out of self preservation) until I see with my own eyes that indeed snow is melting or at least it stops actively falling. What I’ve also learned over the years is that the winter has a way of making ‘the milk of human kindness curdle in one’s veins’ to paraphrase Shakespeare. It just seems hard to be happy go lucky and charitable when the weather is not agreeable and so for many of us we’ve been mainly keeping to ourselves as a result of the impact winter has had on the psyche. It’s indeed very encouraging to begin to see signs of more life in the terraces of restaurants and the outdoors. I guess even the mere fact that I’m sitting in my writing spot at 18:15 and not needing to turn on any lights for my writing, is indicative of a change that is in the air, and similarly I’m finding my long lost ‘sunny disposition’ to be gradually re-surfacing after months of what felt like forced hibernation and introspection ( nudge nudge, wink wink )
Don’t get me wrong, hibernation is a good thing, even a necessary thing, since it allows one to take inventory and to visit places within that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. I do appreciate the time I’ve had to go within and to spend some time ruminating about life’s issues, but truth be told I am so ready to get back into the thick of it and spring time could not come a moment sooner.
To show just how the winter has impacted my frame of mind, I now realise that I haven’t even been blogging since November which is very telling. However to focus more on the brighter side of life, I have noticed that I am beginning to need my slumber mask again to ward of the bright morning sun which seems to show up a lot earlier than before, a great sign, that the days of winter are indeed numbered.
As I’m writing this I am seeing from our kitchen window the remnants of piles of snow heaped on the side of the road, and my heart warms at the mere sight of the no longer pure white snow, because it heralds the dawn of a new season, a season of sun, new growth and green leaves all round. The mere thought of the currently leafless trees turning green in a few weeks or months does give me a new hope. I feel more optimistic, and am even feeling inspired to do many things that have otherwise been shelved during the winter months. If you live in these northern regions of Europe as I do, I bet you too are pretty happy to be seeing the back of winter. ‘Snow always melts’ as one character in a British comedy once pointed out, and it is indeed a truism both literally and figuratively, snow always melts, and darkness must turn to dawn.
I look forward to more unfolding of spring time and pray that you who have perhaps also been under the influence of the winter malaise will also come out of your shells and join all of us who delight in even the slightest suggestion of a sunny moment. To those who have been enjoying beautiful summer days, I trust that you will ease into the next season with grace and peace.
On a parting note, never had I thought in my life that the weather would be a topic of discussion beyond small talk until I moved to the Nordic region hehhhe, talk about a paradigm shift!
Happy Spring time to all and may the turn of the new season bring goodness, love and light to you and yours.
Peace and blessings