Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Swedish Snow - why it's not so bad

I've never been a fan of snow.  I'm not one of those people who travels to snowy places to go skiing or snowboarding.  Any winter sports I attempt are because others think it's fun and I just go along to get along.  Growing up in Upstate New York, I can remember only a few times where the snow hung on the trees and there was sunshine and blue sky.  Those days were absolutely beautiful, but they were few and far between.  Most days involved slush, gray skies, and my parents making me shovel the most dreadful part of the driveway -- where the driveway meets the road and all of the plowed snow from the street is as hard as concrete.  (Oh and don't think for a second that I'm not going to make Calvin do the same thing. What's the point in having kids if you aren't going to give them the tough jobs that you don't want anymore?
That's what those young backs are good for!)
Not Calvin, but you get the idea. get to work kiddo!
Looking back on it all it's no wonder that, as soon as I was legally able, I fled for warmer climates.  Somewhere of my choosing.  That was really all it was, wasn't it?  It isn't that Upstate NY is a winter nightmare (right?) it's just that I hadn't chose to live there -- my parents had but I was out to make my own life.  As an adult of 18 years, I chose to live in Florida.  Those were the awesome years -- my only responsibility was to get good grades and wear flip flops 11 months out of the year to lord it over those poor unfortunate souls who went to college somewhere requiring boots 6 months out of the year - hah!  Weather-superiority was mine at last!  After college, I moved to Atlanta, GA, where apartment complexes issued those laughable "frost warnings" and told their residents to "let their faucets drip so the pipes don't freeze" the few times the temperature dipped below 32F.  Really Georgia...really?  During the freakishly unexpected snow/ice storm in 2011, Atlanta shut down completely and people took to sledding on cardboard boxes, laundry baskets and whatever else they could find to foolishly rocket down the hills of Piedmont Park.  That was fun - snow was a novelty. Something to be enjoyed for a weekend, melt and forget about.
Atlantas in snow...a dangerous combination
We once did a "Snuggie Pub Crawl" (best idea ever by the way) in November but it was too warm outside! We were sweating in our snuggies and even though it got kind of gross, it's an example of how nicely temperate Atlanta can be in the winter.

To say that I enjoy the winter weather would be an overstatement considering I have avoided it my entire adult life, but I will say that this first full Swedish winter has turned out to be really beautiful and I am finding myself unusually happy with all of it.  (I'm partially writing this so that I have something to look back on and comfort me when it is still snowing in March...)

We had an amazingly beautiful December and the snow is back again this morning.  As long as you are dressed appropriately (3 layers, warm hat and gloves and insulated boots), you can really enjoy the scenery and take in its beauty.  After dropping Calvin off at dagis, I went for a walk in the snow around the lake.  The big fat snowflakes had stopped falling and I just enjoyed the hauntingly quiet scenery.  The snow is light and fluffy - it sticks to the trees - and everything just seems so peaceful. So quiet.

There is nothing more relaxing and conducive for self-contemplation than walking through the snowy woods, hearing your boots crunch under the snow and the occasional bird tweeting.  This sends important, deeply perceptive thoughts into my head like, "Why hasn't this bird migrated south? Don't you know it's winter? Maybe you are a nordic bird from Kiruna and this IS south for you...hmm."  These are the things I thought about...

One Swede told us, "I'd rather have -6C weather than +1C." (He didn't say "C", I only included it for you F temperature folks.)  I finally get it.  It's much (much) more beautiful to have this snowy type of weather than the melted slush-icky-gross-state of +1C.  Since +15C is more than 6 months away, we might as well enjoy the wintery weather.  The minus weather is when Sweden looks it's best - covered in snö.


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