Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas has been swept out the door at last: the smell of oranges, cloves, saffron buns and sage stuffing, of hyacinth, pine branches and cold winter air, the glitter of glass and metal-filagree ornaments, the guests and the wrapping paper and finally, the tree all rolled up in a sheet, just like the victim it is, hauled out and dumped into the little plaza outside the city library with a bunch of other trees in various states of needledom.

It was the most yulish of Christmases in years: house guests for weeks, lots of dinners, lots of snow. Just the way I like it. And then we jaunted off to Oslo for a long weekend, where it was just as cold and snowy, and we hiked up and down icy hills all through the town, then had a glorious five-hour dinner fixed by a Frenchman and we danced in the new year, sweating and laughing in our fine clothes, swigging champagne until it was too much for me, and I had to go to sleep at 4:30, or was it 5:00?

But taking a long promenade through Stockholm today, after we'd taken down the tree, in the 2:30 p.m. dusk, with all the lights glittering in the windows and people walking on the ice of Lake Mälaren off of Kungsholmen and parents pushing their children in sleds down snowy hills in parks and a lone ferry making its way through the ice out into Stockholm Harbor, I realized: I miss having real winters. It seems to never get very cold, and we're lucky to have a total of two weeks of snow from the end of November to the middle of April. Strange to think that we are so far north, and yet it's a far milder climate than in Chicago. The truth of it is, the snow and cold make me happy.

So, how long will it last?

We've had nearly a month of it already. More than our fair share, it seems.

I'm keeping my cold fingers crossed.

The Swedish word for the day is vintertid. It means wintertime.

13 comments:

Nanc Twop said...

I miss it too... the crunchy, squeaky snow you get when its icy cold. Hope you have some more cool nights!

Polly said...

I miss it a bit, I must admit, but I wish the brits could cope with it better :D Plus, I'm getting married in 3 weeks in peep-toe shoes, so no more here please ;) More next year!!!

steph said...

I do not miss the Chicago winters. But I don't like it either when two inches of snow brings the whole of the Netherlands to a standstill and no one clears the sidewalks because they have neither shovel nor salt.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to correct you, but it's spelled "vintertid" :) "W" is very unusual in the swedish languge.

Francis S. said...

No need to be sorry, anonymous. And I was looking at it seconds before I read your comment and thinking it looked wrong...

Anonymous said...

Frances, you are a wonderful writer, I so look forward to your posts. In three short paragraphs and you have simultaneously captured the love and joy of the holidays & winter. Beautiful. Thank you, I hope you keep writing.

su-dama said...

hey, francis. suffice it to say, i've just discovered your blog and have chosen to, more or less, follow it. you have also inspired me, more or less, to create one of my own. soon. whenever that'll be. i have yet to decide what it shall be about.

anyway, as for the swedish theme of yours, i adore it. it's cool that it's rather helpful for me, considering i currently adore a girl who lives in sweden. i've decided that learning the language would be a fun mental trip, at least. i hope to go there someday, maybe even stay for a time.

and so, i'd like to say, thank you for writing. ♥

Suzanne said...

What a beautifully written piece. Post by post, you are helping me make peace wth winter.

readersguide said...

Snow and cold make me happy too -- Here is California there are daffodils already. Sigh.

takemeoutindonesia said...

:)

Nisa M. said...

Hi Francis, i'm a reader from Singapore (my husband is from Stockholm) .. have always enjoyed reading your posts and for a while, was wondering about the absence. Glad to see that you're back though. Hope you're having a good new year so far .. :)

EYE said...

Nice blog. I visited Sweden last year in April. Malmo-Gothenberg-Stockholm. Though I thought Stockholm had a very heavy and brooding feel to it. I loved the Vasa Museum and the churches.

Paul Smith said...

I'm a reader from USA! I enjoy reading your articles; I'm glad that you're finally back! Bear in mind - our custom essay writing service is provided solely by professionals!

 


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