Barely a week ago I was in Pohojanmaa, experiencing afternoon temperatures of four to eight degrees, as May turned into June and the Finnish “spring” turned into the Finnish “summer.” I was wondering whether a proper spring would ever arrive, let alone a proper summer. I thought of the old adage that the difference here between winter and summer is that it snows less often in the summer.
Only a couple of days later we were basking in sunshine and temperatures of twenty degrees. Summer always comes, eventually. The changing of the seasons in Finland never ceases to amaze me. I watch the spring evenings getting longer and longer, the blossom suddenly appearing, almost overnight, on the trees, the new leaves and fresh grass ripening. Then there is the human effect: the winter clothes disappear as if by magic (although I suspect my wife has something to do with it), to be replaced by summer ones; I search for my hay fever medication, the schools break up and suddenly there are all sorts of celebrations and other events to go to.
The image of summer is very positive: good weather (less snow, at any rate), a well-earned holiday, trips, Linnanmäki, ice cream and so on. But still it is like any other time of year, with its worries and difficulties too. Can we afford a holiday this year? Who will look after the children while we’re at work? What will pensioners and the unemployed do when their various clubs and courses wind down for the summer break? Hot weather is harder to bear for many people than cold. It’s the worst time of year to get important jobs done, as so many working people are on holiday.
Let us keep in mind those less fortunate than ourselves this summer, and offer a helping hand without waiting to be asked. It could make quite a difference.