25.3.11

A duel in Helsinki

As spring and winter duel in the final days of March, I’m coaxed out of my home more often and for longer. Spring is a time for reawakening, arousal from a cold, dimly lit microcosm that is Helsinki, which is now my home.

As one of best cities in which to live, in one of the best countries, Helsinki has struck a balance between cocooning its denizens in heated artificial environments and thrusting them in the face of nature. Inside my home is failsafe heating and hot water, cheap fast and free broadband. Outside my door is a metro that takes me to one of the most modern, technologically advanced cities in the world.

Also outside are wooded areas that beckon with their two metres of pristine white snow, their trees both evergreen and brown, grey and lifeless. Even in the coldest, darkest days of January how could I resist taking my first steps on the ocean’s ice, marvelling at how firm it held, dodging afternoon skiers, hikers and dog walkers?

It’s almost sad to have to bid farewell to the snow, tainted with mud and gravel, as it starts to subside. Where it once stood tantalising, urging the child inside you “Climb on me, jump on me, roll me into little balls and throw me” it now lays tired waiting for its time.
  
Now it is spring – or so optimists claim. Though the ice and snow linger still on the pavements, the sun shines so much brighter, the birds chip and quarrel and bravest blades of grass awaken. I’m waiting for the bulbs, the flowers and the lapping of gentle waves against the shore.

Photographs; 1969lucy (Flickr)

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