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  • elizabethpeterson922

Waiting (and waiting) for summer

It's the last week of February. In other places, that means the first glimpses of spring. Not here, not in Finland. I have lived here long enough to know this fact.

February is traditionally the coldest month of the year in Finland. Right now it is a balmy -7 C / 19 F, and the sun is shining. At least there is that: the sun is shining.

During the past week, many places in the world have celebrated carnival and the onset of spring, for example Mardi Gras in the United States. Here in Finland, it was the winter ski holiday last week. Many people are happy that at least there was snow this ski holiday--not always guaranteed, at least not in the southern part of Finland where we live.

I have lived in Finland for a long time now, almost two decades. I am no stranger to the winter, the darkness, and to the sheer magnitude and duration of it all. I am quite certain I say this every year around this time, but this year, it's a niggling feeling in my belly that won't go away:

I want spring.

I want to see the earth and all the life in it, and I want to dig in it. I want to see something green again. I want evidence of life under all this frozen landscapte.

An iron set of two garden chairs and a table in a snowy, frozen landscape. The frozen sea is in the distance behind the chairs and table.
Our garden chairs are waiting for coffee on spring mornings. And so are we.

I look around our property, and all I see is promises of spring and summer taunting me: the chairs where I will sit and drink my morning coffee, the boathouse that needs to be painted, the apple tree that needs to be pruned, the summer kitchen that needs to be cleaned and reconnected to the well.

Many people we know offer themselves a reprieve by travelling to sunny destinations this time of year. People we know are in Thailand, the Canary Islands, the Maldives, Madeira, Florida ... we don't do that anymore. We come to Bastubacka instead.

At this point, though, it feels like we are running out of things to do. You can only make so many batches of pancakes and watch so many series on Netflix before it starts to get a bit too repetitive. Even the forested part of our property, which in the summer yields up surprises every time we venture there. Not so in the winter (Or at least not entirely. There was the dismembered deer leg that our dog happened upon a few days ago, marching proudly through the trees with this floppy, foreign, furry object hanging from her mouth. She was quite determined to not give it up, which presented certain challenges.)

A frozen bay at dusk, with a hint of pink sunset clouds. A tiny moon and star are visible in the sky.
A sliver of moon and Venus are visible during the blue hour: dusk at Bastubacka.

The winter is beautiful here, but now it is enough. We have officially witnessed enough of its beauty and splendor. Time to move one. The only member of our family who might have a different opinion is Edie, whose opinion of snow is much higher than any of the rest of us.

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