November is supposedly the worst month in Finland. Everything (and everybody) is getting ready to hibernate and days are getting shorter and darker. Snow, rain and all those things in between for which Finnish language has dozens of names, are part of the package as well. However, I found out that November had some surprises in store for me.
First of all, when the sun shows up the light is pretty incredible. Around 2 or 3 p.m. the sky has pink and violet undertones, like a belated dawn, and the way the light enhances colors and casting shadows is unique. I love how Finland is one of the few countries where seasons (and mid seasons) are really a thing, and not a mythical entity from the old good days.
Waking up and seeing the light peeking below the curtains makes me excited like cake on a festive day, it means going out and bathing in a light that I have not seen anywhere else. It means enjoying those precious hours of sunlight like there is no tomorrow.
These flowers made me happy. The colors, the bench covered in iced remains of last week’s snow, the idea there is still life bursting at the edges of winter is a happy thought when I am dreading the arrival of darkness and ice.
Dawn or sunset? Pastel colors seem to make even familiar building more whimsical.
I love Christmas, I get excited when decorations start to show up and even if Finland does not seem to be as in love with Christmas as Denmark, there is still a lot of pretty to be enjoyed.
I am also happy because I have been offered something special, and I am grateful for the chance to savor life in a different way and in a different place than I expected. Winter is sneaky, slipping behind our backs when we are not looking, and even though I am scared, these little things make it easier to try and welcome it. Will I survive the icy streets? Falling again scares me so much, but I’ll face Finnish winter once again, and hopefully this time I won’t have any broken bones to prove my survival skills.
For most people, Finland is not love at first sight. Casual visitors may not see its beauty, nor understand its spirit. Finland is like a fire growing slowly, it needs time and patience to be appreciated. It is mostly not concerned with appearances, it is not interested in showing off, but for those who stay there is a lot of beauty to find.