Swedish Language Blog

Winter Is Coming Posted by on Sep 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Oh no!

Ceci made a comment about the weather and how wonderful the autumn colors are this time of the year. Yes, they indeed are. But I’m not a fan of autumn. Why? Winter comes next!

In fact tonight is the perfect time to begin writing about winter. It’s the first time this fall (winter?) that the temperature has dropped below zero Celsius. Or at least, it’s the first time that I’ve noticed how cold it gets at night. Soon, it will also be cold during the day. And then the snow will come.

Sometimes I feel, and I mean literally feel, that all this talk about global warming is just a talk.

Last year I attended a very interesting lecture given by a visiting professor at the university here. The guy, sorry, I don’t remember his name now, said some really interesting things about this part of Norrland. He said that we are at the very end of an ice age, and the changes we are seeing here in the north are due to the normal reaction of the land that had been covered with a thick layer of ice for several thousand years. He used the Ume river and the area around Umeå and Holmsund as an example.

Back in the olden days the river was much deeper and even sea going vessels could easily get to Umeå. This is no longer possible due to the river getting shallower and shallower each year.

He explained this phenomenon by using a mattress analogy. (Don’t worry, this is all very innocent.) When you sit or lie down, you’re pressing down on the mattress. Depending on how soft your bed is, the weight of your body compresses the mattress slightly. And then you get up. The indentation made by your weight will remain for a while and then the mattress will spring back to its original state. Well, the professor said that the same thing is happening with the area all over the Gulf of Bothnia. The ice sheet had retreated and now the ground is springing back. Of course, since northern Sweden is not exactly a mattress, we are talking about thousands of years of slow springing back here. But that’s why the Ume river is getting shallower and that’s why the whole Gulf of Bothnia will eventually disappear.

The professor tied it all very nicely with global warming, but I was so taken with the idea of being able to walk to Finland in a couple thousand years that I missed that point completely.

Anyway, where were we? Ah yes, winter. So, because we are at the tail end of an ice age, things are supposed to be warming up. I truly hope that this will be one of those “warm” winters. The last one wasn’t that bad. It was just long. And the one before wasn’t that bad either, except it was super-snowy. And the one before that was awful. But as far as I remember, it was awful everywhere. I went through three car batteries that year. Let’s hope that this year I can get away with only one!

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  1. ceci:

    you are brilliant!!!!!the pic is taken in these days? we had last summer almost 42 degrees!!! and our last winter s days were of about 30 degrees!!! i can live anymore with this hot weather!!! hehehe but yes, you must say: do you know snow and cold weather??? no, not really…but i must say that here in argentina it is sooooo waaaarm….i really dont like that!!!!!
    thank you anna!!!

  2. Dennis:

    We love reading this blog. Beautiful picture of the bridge.
    We visited Sweden in summer of 2006. Landed at Gothenburg, rented a car and drove all the way to Umeå. Visited many relatives on the way.
    We will be leaving Montana (USA) to go to Texas soon to escape the cold weather here.

  3. Christopher Grant:

    That is a nice photograph, well done. I used to live in Umeå for a short time about 10 years ago. I remember that bridge I believe, but never saw it like that. Now a days I’m in Stockholm, but long to return to the north.

  4. Anna:

    Hi Ceci,
    oh no! Not his year. Not yet. I took it last November. Actually, maybe it WAS in October. They dress up the bridge in pink lights for the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I think it must have been the last day of October when I took it.

    Hi Dennis,
    Thank you so much for commenting. Montana is so much like northern Sweden, don’t you think? The forests and the scenery. Well, your mountains are of course much grander than what we have, but I remember Montana and how much it looked like the border between Sweden and Norway! You’re so lucky to be able to escape winter! 🙂

  5. Anna:

    Hi Christopher!
    Thank you for your kind comment. And coming from a professional photographer at that, it makes me feel even much more warm and fuzzy all over 😉
    Your photos are absolutely stunning! Listen, I have a question. One of our readers, Lelia, asked about Swedish landscape photographers. I was going to visit BildMuseet in Umeå and poke their brains about it, but since you are a photographer, maybe you can offer us some suggestions? If you could, that would be absolutely lovely. Thank you!

  6. Lelia:

    Great work Anna. What a lovely photograph. Interesting about global warming in relation to the Gulf of Bothnia, Finland and the Ume river. The BildMuseet in Umea sounds interesting. Car batteries…one would think that car battery manufacturers would have their testing and proving grounds in Norrland and other Artic regions to make a super-strong battery to last more than one winter season. Great topic.

    Cheers and Thank you,

  7. David from Oregon:

    Don’t you have an engine block heater that plugs into conveniently
    located outlets? And a remote car starter so that your car will be warm and toasty for you?

  8. Arsh Jami:

    Hejsan Anna!
    I can see you day dreaming during the lecture thinking about a cross country hike over what used to be Gulf of Bothnia to Finland …. you are so funny!
    Since you brought the subject up, talking of winter, maybe in a future blog, you can share your personal experience with your Swedish friends and colleagues, if you think Swedes have a different personality in the winter compared to how they are in the summer?! Do the long dark days/nights really affect people psychologically?
    I look forward to your blog so PLEASE do not give it up .. ever!
    You have such a captivating and entertaining writing style that I am sure if you write a book, it will be very successful. Seriously, you should consider writing a book about your rich experiences in Sweden like Julie Lindhal’s `My Swedish Island’. I will buy a dozen for myself and to share with friends!

    Med vänliga hälsningar,

  9. Curt:

    Hi Anna,

    Great blog! Love it. Regarding your question about swedish photographers, a friend of mine, Staffan Widstrand, are one of the best. Check out http://www.staffanwidstrand.se or his latest project http://www.wild-wonders.com

    Keep smilin´

  10. Anna:

    Hi David!
    I drive an ANCIENT import, so it doesn’t have the plug for the engine warmer. But after that awful winter I decided to start paying for a covered parking garage. It’s not heated or anything, but still better than leaving the car outside. And I don’t have to get up early anymore to dig it from under the snow! 🙂

    Hi Arsh!

    You are just too sweet, you know that? Actually, whenever someone mentions Finland to me, I immediately start dreaming about Spanish kava and this other drink that they import from Estonia and which, needless to say, you can’t buy in Sweden, not even at Systemet. LOL! A book you say, eh? I’ll see what I can weasel out! Winter is coming and I do need something to do not to go all stir crazy at home!

  11. Anna:

    Hi Curt!
    Thank you so much for the photographer suggestion! I will definitely try to get in touch with Staffan and maybe even interview him for this blog 😉

  12. Christopher Grant:


    Sure, but I’m not sure I know what you mean about offering suggestions? You’re welcome to contact me via email if you’d like to discuss it further, you can of course grab my email off my website if you don’t have it from here in the blog.

    Vi hörs!

  13. Christopher Grant:


    I met Staffan early this year at a convention, he is definitely a great landscape and nature photographer. Nice guy to boot!