Wednesday 27 April 2011


Just three weeks ago, the sidewalks in this picture, showing the quay opposite mine, were still  covered with snow and the two willows showed naked branches, hanging hapless along trunks darkened by windy winter slush. A week ago, the first signs of green appeared and now we can witness the delicate beauty of newly budded twigs. So dear is this green marvel to us Swedes, that we even have a wording for it, "skir grönska". In English you would call it something like "delicate green", but this does not have the same flavour to it, since you are missing the Northerners´ longing for spring, so nicely encapsuled in our expression.

It is intriguing how quickly the mood is adapting to this newly seen color. Winter seems far away and you almost have the feeling that it will never come back, in this pastel world of great expectations. No hardships anymore, the world feels anew fresh and inviting! This gets me to think about a trusted German adage "Wenn die Not am Höchsten scheint, Gott der Herr die Hand uns reicht". Believe it or not, this is the text of a famous aria in the opera "Hansel and Gretel"; that notwithstanding it expresses the mood of the day: just when you are completely worn down by a loong winter, salvation comes with the first budding of trees and flowers!

Am I the only one to feel uplifted by the delicate scenery? By no means! Have a look at the second picture. It shows two workers having climbed the large crane adjacent to our apartments, which has been left standing as a memento of the busy harbor that once occupied the quays. Their task was, I trust, to clean the crane of bird droppings accumulated over the years. Suddenly, they stopped all activity, getting entrapped by admiring the glory of our early spring. It took them quite a while to tear themselves away from the scenery and get back to the task they had come to carry out.

Friday 1 April 2011


"No!", this is not a prank on April Fool's Day, this is the real thing. All night long, there was a steady drizzle outside my, always open, bedroom window, brandishing welcome humidity to my thankful nostrils. And the drizzle did not stop at day-rise either. Whilst we are shivering in all that cold wetness, we are also grateful to get rid of the banks of icy snow that still adorn most of our sidewalks. They will all be gone within the day.

Hammarby Sound, with its brackish water, is already completely free of ice, but the freshwater lakes feeding into it aren't yet. But it is a question of hours now until their white blanket, already turning grey-ish due to rotting ice, will be completely gone. The seagulls and ducks are already rejoicing and looking forward to a healthy swim in fresh waters.

Readers on the continent certainly may be asking themselves how we Northeners cope with our seasons. The answer is simple: we have learnt how to ENDURE. After the looooong, dark and, respectively, slushy and icy winter, we are sliding into our summer, which, being short and rainy, gets us to look forward again to the next nice cold winter.

To round up this optimistic post, let me make an exception to the rule by showing some pictures taken from the opposite side, that is, from the side I usually am looking at from my balcony. It shows the ice still lingering, blanketing the outlet from the upper small freshwater lakes into the Sound. I had to hurry to take those pictures, tomorrow the ice will surely be gone!