Monday, January 22, 2007
Här kommer vinter i Linköping och överallt i Sverige!
Without further ado, winter. Just when we started to speculate about what a winter would be like in Sweden without snow, just when I started to become resigned to the fact that my first year in Sweden would be missing an experience so integral to this land, just when we were starting to pull out our t-shirts and shorts for spring (or perhaps that was just wishful thinking), winter has hit. This weekend, the temperature dropped, on came the moisture and now Linköping, and all of Sweden, is witnessing the glory of winter.
Darkness, cold, snow, heavy jackets, gloves, boots, snow caps, candles, lights, coffee and warm breads, indoors, movies, ice hockey, alpine and nordic skiing, ice skating, ice scrapers, fireplace gatherings and, as always, singing while eating and drinking amongst friends, these are the hallmarks of a Swedish winter. Scandinavian weather is a testimony to extremes. As cold as it is in the winter is as delightful the celebration in the summer. As dark as it is this time of year is as light and playful the Swedish spirit come July. In the midst of the snow, I remember the never-ending daylight and outdoor cafes in Stora Torget that welcomed me to Linköping last year.
Alas, the hope of summer is what motivates the Swedes through the winter. As a Southern Californian-turned-Seattlite-turned-honorary Swede, I can attest to the extremes of the seasons reflecting the rhythm of life. Life is not about 75 degrees all the time (23 degrees Celsius), but about the endurance through the winter that creates a cherishing of summer unknown in warmer climates. Indeed, as Swedes spoke of the winter-never-to-come, it was akin to the missing of an important part of the yearly life cycle. So, this summer will be all the better because of the winter that just arrived. And there's just something right about being here in Sweden during the winter.
1) A classic Swedish cottage found in Gamla Linköping (future blog).
2) A snow-covered Stora Torget with the Domkyrkan in the distance.
3) The same Viking as introduced last week, but a different season of the year.
4) The Domkyrkan up close.