The First Snow of the Winter
As you are reading this, the first proper snow of the winter has just landed to the ground at Apukka Resort. And there is a lot of it, enough for us to start running many of our winter activities. The thermometer is showing -16 C, and because of the quick drop in the temperature we have just experienced the most beautiful sunset. That’s something you never get bored with here in Lapland, the variation of pastel colours covering the sky. It looks like it’s going to be a crystal clear night tonight, so we are hoping to end this stunning winter day to a beautiful show of the Northern Lights.
This time of the year, when the first snow of the winter covers the ground, always takes me back to the memories from my childhood. It’s easy to have a happy childhood in Lapland, Finland being one of the safest countries in the entire world. There were no worries, not really any limitations on who to talk to or where to go – just a lot of trees to climb. A lot of laughter and joy. When we wanted to go and play outside, we’d often walk 10 kilometers to our friends house. Sometimes just to learn that they weren’t home. But we didn’t mind as the skill of learning to enjoy life also just by yourself is written into the souls of the Finns from a young age. I could sit for hours and hours on the top of a tall tree, observing the surrounding nature. Sometimes I’d get to witness a moose passing by or a squirrel preparing its food stashes for the winter. As the winter got closer and the first snowflakes landed on the ground, it became harder to spot the animals due to the white camouflage many of them changed into for the winter. But in all honesty, my focus was never in the animals at that time of the year. It was in the snow.
I can tell you, piles of snow can make a small child very happy. It was like it would have been all I needed, some white snow and a toboggan. And a kick sled of course, how else would I have gotten to school. Kick sled is one of the most marvelous things in the Finnish winter. When I was younger I used to think that it was faster than any other method of transportation, especially when the weather was favourable. Even nowadays I think that a kick sled, especially if it’s a red kick sled, beats an airplane any day.
So as a child, from Monday to Friday I would travel to school with a kick sled. It was 6 km one way, but it always felt like a blink of an eye. There were exceptions to this routine – if it was colder than -40 C, we did not need to go to school. I remember asking why, and my parents told me something about the cars not starting because of the extreme cold temperatures. Which is true, by the way, – 40 C is cold for any engine. Something you can’t help learning when growing up in Finland. I remember thinking ”That’s weird. It’s not that cold.” And off I went tobogganing.
For a child the snow is pure joy. It piles up to form a snowman and it slides under the skies. It makes the toboggans almost fly and enables the grand snow fight we all are secretly dreaming of. With a white brush it paints a fairytale.around us. And here’s the best part. The snow allows us all to be children again.