Surviving Finnish winters
After four years, I’ve decided the trick to surviving a Finnish winter is to never, ever look believe in/count on/look forward to its end. The winter just is, and will be, until it isn’t. I have become extremely cautious about marking any signs of the coming spring and have taught myself to just wait until the end of May.
And the thing is, if you’re not expecting it to be nice out until the end of May, then when the sun and plus-temps show up in mid-April, or the end of April, or the beginning of May, or the middle of May, it’s AMAZING. The strategy works!
Here are the signs of spring I am so cautious about noticing:
The bike paths become clear of ice and snow! This is huge for me and my work commute and some years it seems like it takes forever to happen.
The sun is up when I cycle to work in the morning AND when I go home in the afternoon. This usually happens around the same time as the paths clearing up.
The snow melts everywhere else. This leads to the awkward Brown Season where everything is just blah-looking outside.
Second only to the paths becoming clear of ice and snow is when the city comes and sucks up all the gravel. This might be my favorite day of the whole winter-spring transition and that first bike ride afterward on a smooth path feels like a party.
There is One Last Snowfall (takatalvi). It will always happen so it’s best to just get it over with (this year’s was two weeks ago or so).
Outdoor gear gets downgraded from full snowsuit/hat/gloves to just coat and overpants. This seems to happen literally overnight and there is often an awkward week where the kids are playing outside and sweating in their snowsuits and boots…or freezing in their coats and overpants. It’s hard to get it just right.
And then comes buds and flowers and newly green grass and so forth.
Finnish winters are hard but that first (and second, and third…) warm, sunny day in April or May is pure bliss! I appreciate the sun so much now and in these early days of spring I can already feel the summer mania coming on - GO OUTSIDE. RIGHT NOW. Yes!!!