Spring is a relative thing. In emails from England the traditional signs of spring – daffodils and cherry trees – are dangled, virtually, in front of me. I’m never quite sure if this is out of kindness, sympathy, or mischievousness. It is supposed, by the senders, that spring is not here yet, and that I will be depressed and wishing I was further south. Even though last year at this time I tried to explain.
But let me try again. Spring is a relative thing. Here it isn’t heralded by daffs and crocuses waving in a park. Instead we have bird song, rapidly increasing light, bewildering brightness, fluctuating temperatures and patches of lake turning icy blue. The sun is warm, and in the fjäll, green moss pokes through the snow. Some of the rivers have begun to melt a little and the trickle of water can be heard between the clinking of ice moving between cliffs of frozen snow.
These signs of spring bring me the same feeling of uplift, of hope and life, as a daffodil bobbing in the breeze. It’s hard, it seems, for people to understand that spring here is a beautiful thing, as beautiful as spring further south. Though very different.
Of course we have our off days. Quite a few actually. Today, for instance, it’s blowing a snowstorm out there. But yesterday we were skiing across a lake, blue sky and mountains around us. By the side of the lake great tits dipped and dived in the birch trees.
We had lunch on a rock, digging our feet into the snow, faces turned to the sun. Behind us a large patch of ice on the rock was retreating back into the lake – our coffee cups were resting on a natural ice bar. In between the rocks we even found insects. We saw a small spider perched delicately on the surface of the crusty snow. That small spider knew it was spring.