still intrigued by icy things. still glad for sunny things.

8 03 2015

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This last week has been “Sportlov” in Sweden:  a week dedicated to all things winter sports.  So all the tv channels we have are full of winter sporting events.  And town is full of vehicles loaded with snowmobiles and skis, headed to or from the mountains (fjell) nearby.  It has been great to have a week off school, charging batteries, catching up on sleep and trying to shake off the flu symptoms still bothering us.  We have not been sporting this lov: we are still overwhelmed by how many options of skis, skates and scooters there are, how crazy people get about it all, and how painful blue marks on skin can be if inflicted through such activities. 

We have been looking on in wonder. 

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This was at a ski relay competition over the WWW (Vilhelmina Winter Weekend) a few weeks ago.  those kids are small!   Those skis are long! Those poles go all over!  Those kids do not fall!   I feel embarrassed at my inabilities. 

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One of the big events in Sweden over this whole week is the Vasaloppet.  The main event is a ski ultra race of about 90km. 

My brother and his wife, and her father and brother, participated this year.  I am so amazingly proud of them!  45km of moving forward nonstop over snow, using rather abnormal body motions… these guys rock! 

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Our school puts on its own mini-Vasa every year.  The younger kids participate in races, and some endurance testing, though it is considerably shorter than 90km. or even 45km. 

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Some of these kids were obviously born with skis on.  They show great finesse and ability.  But others get stuck in there, persevere and give it their best, despite it not being as natural as walking or, well, walking. 

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See the knee-meets-ground position there?  And they get up again and go on.  Brilliant! 

So, it was a day of seeing snow scooters dash off across the lake to check that all was good.  Kids stood waiting for final results.  The wind was chilly, and it took perseverance not to simply call it quits.

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But there were those who passionately cheered, and there was the trophy waiting at the end.  So children kept on going.  And the day worked out well!

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So besides for seeing sporty skiing sights, we have been intrigued by the new selection of sculptures we see every morning.  Some of this week’s displays:

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Wind-blown wonder icicles.

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The continental-almost world form.  (I was amazed at how close to the real shapes South America and India are!)

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Pine-cone bird feeder ice installation.

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Corrugation icicle art works.

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The joy on these blue-sky-and-sunshine days is wonderful!  I am learning that we need to capture the icicles early in the day, as the sun now actually WARMS things.  So we have a daily melt and a nightly freeze.  Temperatures go up to about 3 Degrees Celsius in the day, and down to about –5 at night.  If we do have snow falls, that snow quite quickly melts from the roof.  (Except where it still lies thick and heavy, the mass of cold keeping the new falls frozen too).

One of the great joys of this week was something we do not often see.

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With the sun glistening off the edges of shining frost, there was a slight wind blowing through the branches.  Freshly fallen snow was almost drizzling from the trees, falling like diamonds from the sky.  It was not easy to capture on camera but I got a bit of it here.

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Like drops of glory from the heavens, these shows brought such appreciation for the little things to us. 

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And when the sun shines brightly enough we brave a walk.  Out on the ice.  With the sun shining on our faces. 

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But there are still snow showers!  With flakes that get caught in our furry visitors’ tails. 

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And the variable shadows change quickly.  From days where Deon wails at the weather:“Make it STOP!” to brilliant days, like today, where we could even eat our meals out on the patio.

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Notice.  I used to laugh at Swedish guests who visited when we were small, and sat in this position in the sun.  I am sorry, older Swedes.  I fully understand it now.  Really I do.  The sun is a treasure.  LOVELY when he is around! 

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So, yes.  We find the ice fascinating.  But are glad at every sign of impending spring and sunshine which teases us. 

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