big-melt

Spring is often considered a beautiful time of year.  Not in Norway.  In other places around the world the sun is shining, the grass comes out, the flowers bloom and the birds happily fly back to their summer homes.  Not in Norway.  The Spring months are March, April and May (in the northern hemisphere) and generally a buzz is in the air just in time to celebrate Easter.  Not in Norway.

Because of the long harsh Winters in Norway it takes nature a little longer to wake up.  I’m sure that sometimes nature hears the call but without lifting an eyelid hits the snooze button.  This, of course, depends on where you are in Norway.  In Oslo Spring can seem quite normal but further up it takes a little longer to get kick-started.

In Tromsø, first we see the return of the sun.  This happens mid-February.  Everyday the sun gets brighter and stays for longer but it won’t get it’s warmth back until May.  In April the big slow melt starts.  It’s like waiting for a fridge to defrost – drip, drip, drip.  By mid-April little streams of water trickle down the hill tops and mountains into the fjords.  Quite often we get a dump of snow and the big melt has to start all over again.  In early May we can usually spot Coltsfoot growing in the ditches.  Wherever you live in Norway, this is the First Sign of Spring.  The snow still continues to melt into June and some of the mountains over Summer never loose all their Winter white coat.

So, in Tromsø at least, Spring seems to be the month of May.  Nice and quick –  like a bandaid.  Summer is June-July.  We have a long Autumn – August to November.  And we have two Winters – the dark Winter from mid-November to mid-February, and the light Winter to May.

For me it seems very fitting for Spring to come in May.  It is hard waiting the two extra months but in May not only does nature come out to celebrate, also the people.  On the 17th of May is Norwegian Constitution Day – the National day of Norway – and you can’t help but notice a special buzz in the air.  You can hear school bands practising as they march up and down distant streets, cream cakes and fresh strawberries swamp the stores and the national colours line the city for the big day.  Spring certainly makes sure to frame it all with its life and energy.  I wouldn’t be surprised if nature intentionally held back it’s colours for May so it can celebrate with the rest of Norway.

may-parade