Finnish Winter

DietmarTallroth-0002.jpgAmong the seasons, winter could be arguably called the most Finnish one.  Not because it would be the most beautiful. I’d be hard pressed to select one as the most beautiful one even though I have already admitted that I favor autumn most. No, I think winter is maybe the most varied of all the seasons.

Somehow, it feels this country was made for winter. Except, of course, for mid-summer, when again the midnight sun washes its crimson watercolors over the sky and a blue scent is woven into the air; the landscape is definitely also made for that.

Winter starts out in the dark, with less than six hours daylight here in the South and no daylight at all in the North. But even in the South calling the dim illumination “daylight” is already an euphemism, like calling a dying light-bulb a chandelier. Snow at that time is often thick and heavy and gives trees and the scenery a rounded, puffy complexion.

The real cold, but also clear, skies often arrive in January. The lakes then turn into expanses for cross-country skiing, ice-fishing or having a walk to an island. These kind of conditions seem to me often the most surreal ones, as one can easily get a heavy sunburn at -15 degrees (Celsius). There is this old joke that in Finland -10 degrees is not so cold (outside), but 60 degrees are rather cool (in sauna). But one has to experience how warm -10 degrees feel after a cold spell and how inviting to spend hours outside.

No doubt, there also can be very drab weather during the Finnish winter – and it seems global warming is gifting us with more of it. But even these rainy and too mild days can produce wonders in form of fogs that shroud the forests, the rocks and the sea into a mysterious woolly blanket.

At its most artistic, though, is winter on its hoarfrost days. Then, the landscape turns all by its self into a black and white (or rather: white and white) photograph. The only remaining contrast is between the conifers and all the rest. But on the leafy trees nature reminds us of the importance of each and every single little branch in the stately stature of their form.

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Today was such a day and in the morning the effect was even enhanced by a whip of foggy cream added to the sugar-cake. On such days, wonder follows wonder, one doesn’t know where to look first. All of nature is suddenly dressed like an ice-princess on the day of her debutante ball. Let the music begin, let the dancing start! Let the ice crystals settle and sparkle on everything and everywhere!

Ah, yes. Finnish winter does have its pleasures.

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