Wintergreen

Finally! Snö!!!  It’s snowing!  Big fat flakes are falling outside my office window just now, the first I’ve seen since coming home, really, from California last month.

A single rose... but not the only flower around.

So far, this winter in Stockholm has been wet and relatively warm.  Sure, a few flakes fell in December — in between sheets of rain.  I’ve been walking to my office through the Katarina Kyrka graveyard the past few days, and the grass is green on the graves, and roses, lavender and other flowers are blooming — and it’s January.

Last winter, by this time, snow had built up on the quays and in the parks. We went ice skating on a large lake covered in thick ice near the city, and on the makeshift postage-stamp-sized rink in the Djurgården near our old apartment. I tromped on icy and snowy paths into white woods on sunny afternoons. Ice colonized the sidewalks and snow plunged from rooftops; old folks made a run on these plastic shoe accessories with ice clamps on the bottoms.

But the past few weeks have mostly been rain, or gray skies.  Snow tires crunch along wet — not snowy — streets.  Our ice skating has been limited to the Östermalms Idrottsplatts nearby, where (thankfully, I note) they have the ice frozen no matter the weather. The woods have been a muddy mess, and green with moss and grass!

One of my office colleagues mentioned that this was his first green Christmas, spent with his mother and family in the county where he grew up farther north.  But in general, my colleagues say that wet and rainy winters are not out of the ordinary.  They just expect more snow!

Maybe the stuff falling now will stick — the forecast looks promisingly cold for at least the next day or two.  Perhaps tomorrow (a Swedish holiday, trettondedag for the 13th day after Christmas), I will go visit some paintings of snowy Stockholm at the NationalMuseum.

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