Norway Spring

by Britta on 12 April 2010

in European Adventure,The Norwegian Experience

Picnic on Lake Mjosa

Picnic on Lake Mjosa

It’s difficult to love spring in The North. Fickle weather, mud and slush, inconsistent temperatures. In Alaska, it’s not even called spring, it’s called breakup. But the one thing I do love about it is its potential: the days get longer and longer, the snow melts little by little.

The thing about spring is that it offers a promise of good things to come. We in the north look forward to summer as a celebration of light and abundance, and spring, especially those almost-long days, almost-warm and almost-clear, that seem to say thanks for waiting so long, the good stuff is coming.

It’s not as if winter is an especially terrible time of year. Norwegians in particular seem to enjoy winter more than most other cultures. The cross-country skis I see lined up outside every back door are a testament to just how much fun Norwegians have with winter. It’s not as if they’ve been cooped up inside for half the year trying not to freeze. And it’s not like spring rain really keeps anyone from doing what they’ve intended to do, because really, if we waited for a sunny day, we might be waiting a long time.

But that doesn’t mean that a little spring weather–a little sun, a little warmth, a few pathways finally clear of snow–isn’t truly appreciated. Winter, despite its numerous activities and excitements, can be hard and long. Summer doesn’t require snow shoveling, ice-driving skills, or multiple layers. It’s easy, and it’s fun.

Lillehammer's Main Street

Lillehammer's Main Street

It’s akin to sacrilege to waste a sunny day in Seward. It seems it’s that way here, too. Walking down Lillehammer’s main street this weekend, I noticed that all of the restaurants had finally set up their patio tables and outdoor chairs, and no one was sitting inside. The temperature was warm enough to sit comfortably, though not quite enough to go jacket-less, and everyone turned their faces to the sun, as if they were flowers blooming toward the light. The same happened in the small town of Hamar, where I spent a couple of days basking in the sun on the still-frozen shores of Lake Mjosa.

It’s the change that’s exciting. Spring, and its promise of warm weather and long days, is the transition season. It’s the period where things go from winter to summer, snow to flowers, northern lights to midnight sun. Spring’s almost-there atmosphere is the butterflies before the roller coaster, the excitement before the next big trip. It’s the anticipation that makes it so much fun.

Fall, of course, holds the same kind of excitement for us: the transition back into winter, when the air gets crisp and the lakes start to freeze and termination dust shows up on the mountains. The transition periods are always full of possibility, and that makes them hand-rubbingly exciting.

And when everyone in town is out on the streets or the trails or the lakeshore, basking in the sun and breathing the fresh air and trying out their new spring clothes, it’s hard not to share in the excitement, and appreciate what could be. Because summer is coming, and it’s rife with possibility.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy Costa April 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Hi Britta-You hit the nail on the head as to Spring’s possibilities. I, too, am looking forward to the depths of its adventure!!!!! Miss you…lots of love and hugs!!! Aunt Cindy

Donna Grosso April 24, 2010 at 7:36 pm

I can really sense winter coming undone the way you describe spring breakup in Alaska, and it makes me want to know more (with more glorious photos!) about seasonal rites of passage in the different countries and cultures you’ve visited. More, please!!

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