Finally! After one month of non-stop clouds, grey skies turned blue again.The snow fell off the trees and sunny spring days cheered up all visits to the forests and swamplands. More than 4 weeks early, the winter ended and spring arrived. We’ve had days of +5°C and more. The end of the season is slowly approaching, a good and a sad feeling at the same time.
For me, it hasn’t been the dark days that were the harshest part of the winter. On those days the skies were glowing red, purple, orange and pink and northern lights danced through the skies in the evening. During the short daylight hours the colour shades were undergoing fast and intense changes, in my view still making it one of the most beautiful periods of the season. Some days after the sun came back however, the skies were covered in clouds almost non-stop for over a month.
After looking forward to the light returning in December and January, you could feel the effect of the grey weather on all of the staff. The weather forecast was eternally predicting the sun to reappear on the end of the next week, but the prediction never came close. The further the prediction was moving away, the more the mood went down.The middle of the season has been though at times. When you are unable to take distance from work something small easily becomes something big. Living and working together 24/7 in an isolated community is not easy. And of course, the lack of sunshine (and northern lights) did not make it easier.
At times being here has been much more difficult than I expected it to be. And slowly but steady, I am looking forward to moving to a new place and getting new experiences in the summer. I think this is something characteristic about seasonal work. I did however realise this winter that I am actually very happy living up here and that it was most definitely the right choice leaving political science behind and looking for something more down to earth. A story to be continued.
Ever since the sun came back, we’ve been teaming up to enjoy the final weeks up the season and make the best out of the time we have left. In our free time we’ve been doing fun activities such as cross-country skiing around the village, a road trip to Pallas-Yllästunturi national park (where we unfortunately had to turn back due to white-out conditions), or just a walk on the river or in the forests. It has become really nice again to walk the 8km to work and repeatedly we have been taking a walking beer to cheer up the way. After the recent cold dip the kick sleds made their comeback as the fastest way in and out of the lodge if you would find yourself without transport. It’s a bit shaky, but good fun and currently everybody makes it home in about 40 minutes.
I’ve been wondering if the snow will even last until the end of the season. In some parts of the forests it has melted to the ground. The Ice Hotel is starting to get holes in the roof and some sculptures fell apart because of the warm temperatures. The rivers are starting to break open and the lakes and swamps are becoming wet again due to overflow, as the weight of the wet snow pushes the ice down and water flows over on the edges. Even with the cold wave that has just passed, you can see spring creeping in and more and more of the forest is becoming snow-free.
The sun is also causing everything at work to happen at twice the pace it did before. After a chaotic, bumpy first half of the season we’ve had to extent our tours significantly in distance to be able to fill up a whole day. It’s amazing how much thinking about what you are doing actually slows you down. In a weeks time, everybody went from being overloaded with work to looking for something to do. Everything seems to have found its rhythm and routine, unfortunately around 6 weeks before the season ends. I admire the owners courage to go through the entire process every year.
More than ever being on tour almost feels like going on a holiday. With a good group and blue skies, the day passes by before you even noticed. And that makes guiding such a wonderful job!