Snow Day

The last time I was in Sweden over the dark months there was an abundance of snow and temperatures that made it the coldest winter in over 50 years. Occasionally mixing with rain it left the city of Gothenburg covered in a nasty blanket of icy sludge, and my feet freezing in a pair of Reebok sneakers that were unqualified for the winter onslaught. Heavy cloud cover typical for the western region of Sweden made the weeks immediately preceeding and following the solstice an extremely unpleasant time.

But it wasn’t typical by any measure. Normalality calls for a deluge of rain that will keep your feet perpetually soaked (that is, unless you have a proper pair of winter boots) and temperatures hovering just enough above freezing to stick a cold knife through your clothing. If that sounds unpleasant, let me confirm for you that it is.

For most of the past five weeks rain and wind have been around in copious amounts and the glimpse of a soggy and chilly winter that I first saw when visiting here in 2007 has been made very real — until yesterday when I awoke to a curtain of white descending from the sky. Granted, the snow was very wet, the sun covered by clouds, and my jeans did end up totally soaked after a venture out on the bike but for an afternoon it felt like true winter had really come.

Now today, the day after the snowfall, the sun is shining on the rooftops and the idea has creeped into my head that the possibility of a pleasant winter in Sweden could actually exist. The melting snow will inevitably turn into ice over night and I’ll probably curse it as I slip and slide on the roads as I stubbornly refuse to ride the trams (after getting a 1200 kronor ticket for not understanding how to use the new SMS ticketing system… fuckers.) but for the foreseeable future the rain is gone, the skies will be clear, and the moment exists to seize and enjoy. And that’s nice.

Snowfall yesterday morning pulled the dreariness out of your typical Saturday AM.

Still not so much light, but the excitement of playing in the snow more than made up for it.

Staffan basking in this afternoon’s golden rays.

Rooftops lit up but the sun, snow patches slowly disappearing during the day, and a truly pleasurable moment.