November in February

The weather here in Stockholm has been gray, rainy, and altogether un-winter-like. The ice still rims the Slussen basin, between Gamla Stan and Sodermalm, but I can see thin ice out there on my way to my office in the mornings — and even potholes threatening to open into dark ponds. I wish I had a photo to post of the birds standing in the water, their feet perched a few inches below on the solid ice.

Yesterday was so miserable — cold and icy wind, pushing rain in our faces as my friend A and I walked a block or so to a museum (we were supposed to walk in the Djurgarden, but headed in stead to Bonniers Konsthall with the first raindrops) from the St. Eriksplan T-bana. In that short time, my pant legs became soaked.  We collapsed with relief in the museum’s cafe for a coffee and cake. The art inside was also gloomy and brown and dullish gray, but it made A very happy — she thought it looked like summer in a Swedish forest, with glimmers of emerald and moss peaking through.

Andreas Eriksson, 2013. I see gray looming clouds, and A sees a walk in the woods past a stump.

I have no fond memories of cool Swedish summers, in a shadowy skog.  That kind of color scheme is so … depressing to me.  Summer to me is heat and golden brown dried California grasses.  To Matt, it is most likely cool evenings and hot sunny afternoons in the mountains.

I was thinking of that as I ran in the rainy forest this afternoon, after watching the Olympic cross-country racers in Sochi earlier in the day.  My fingers were cold and I regretted not wearing gloves.  I thought about one of the racers (a Norwegian?) skiing in Sochi in short sleeves.  The first man to go down in the freestyle snowboarders’ competition a few days ago went in a t-shirt.

It’s hot in Sochi: even though the snow froze last night into an icy skin, that turned to slush as the day progressed — the women competing today in the snowboard cross were sending up arcs of slush from their boards. Summer temperatures in Sochi! Even hotter than summer, especially, that is, if you are from Sweden or elsewhere in the Nordic countries.

And here in Stockholm, it’s fall again.  Ugh.

(Postscript: I won’t link this to extreme events and climate change, not yet — but I am amused by posts from friends about all the snow they are getting in the southern and eastern US, and interested to see how ill-prepared communities are — climate change is going to be very very expensive! I read this NYT story about bursting pipes this morning with great interest:

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