If the seasons of Kiruna are like a giant rollercoaster – gathering speed, unexpected turns, lots of ups and downs – then after the vertical loops, interlocking pretzel turns, and zero-gravity rolls of the winter, in April we’ve finally reached The Brake Run.
The seasons have gone in a flash. Just as we understood what the conditions were, what clothes were needed, and what activities were possible, each season roared out of reach leaving us panting to catch up.
Spring-winter, the last season, we all love – ice lakes, warm sunshine in cold air, and lots of opportunities for skiing and picnicking on the lakes. Then around the start of April the temperatures begin to rise, the skies fill with humidity, and the big melt begins.
When the drip drip starts you can only sit indoors and watch the snow piles shrink. Cycling is possible, if you look out for ice on the path. There isn’t much to see – the days can be misty, the clouds hang low and grey, the snow is slushy or icy, depending on last night’s temperatures. You clear up the winter debris around the veranda. The outdoor Christmas lights are still trapped under the snow and you wait for the cables to reappear, their secret trails revealed beneath bushes along the house wall. You start thinking about the garden, wondering where you left the flower beds.
But spring isn’t a season to be hurried. The rollercoaster has temporarily lost its kinetic energy and is just trundling along the track. Its occupants are looking around them, taking stock, noticing nothing much is happening on this stretch, while still remembering the thrills behind. It’s The Brake Run.
The speed won’t pick up again until it’s reliably plus degrees 24 hours a day. When that happens it will also be light 24 hours a day and the season of spring-summer will do a hammerhead turn, a double dip and double up, and we’ll be hanging on again, breathless.
In the meantime it’s frustrating, watching the temperatures hover here, the wet snow fall, the grass refuse to peep through green.