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Is It Winter or Summer?

Freda Isaksen

“So this is what real snow looks like?” I told myself. I had seen falling snow before in London, just white flakes descending onto the streets and becoming a gray mush. That was quite an unpleasant sight because it meant dampness in the air and dirty mud on the roadways but provided a good reason to stay indoors by a warm fire.

What I was presently looking at through the window pane in my home in Trondheim was quite a different experience. As a newcomer to this northern country it was my first sight of heavy snowfall. As the snow hit the ground it remained white and crisp and as I watched I could see it steadily build up on the icy ground. There was a serenity and calmness about the falling pristine flakes, they were even beautiful in their simple color and form. This bank of shining white ground cover would grow higher and higher as the winter season advanced in this country of the northern lights in the night sky and would remain to cover the whole city and even the whole country like a soft blanket until the spring sunshine and warmer temperatures would create a thaw, then the snow would be replaced by green grass and verdant growth.

Every year there is a great deal of anticipation from the populace as the snow begins to fall because now the winter’s sports season of skiing and skating and tobogganing will begin. Light weight clothing will be stored away until next year and be replaced by warm wool garments that are water proof. A Norwegian family looks forward to the day when they can take out their sports equipment and make every moment of daylight count during the short days when the sun seldom shines.

Inevitably the cold winter will pass and I will remove the double storm windows and wipe away the residue of the snow and look through the newly washed glass panes and this time greet the sun which never fails to return to warm and cheer and bring many long hours of welcome daylight. The trees will bud with new growth and the birds will be returning from their sojourn in warmer climates to build their nests.

Then as I watch, the sports enthusiasts will appear with their boats and their hiking boots which have been taken out of storage, to use for different kinds of summer activities on both water and land. Again every moment of light through twenty four hours of summer daylight must be enjoyed because it only lasts for three months until autumn arrives and brings darkness and cold.

The window always reflects the changing seasons.

Copyright Freda Isaksen 1986–2006. Permission to reuse for non-commercial purposes is granted, provided that the text is unaltered and the original source is acknowledged. For more information, contact isaksen at

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