Spring in Oulu

A day or two of springtime sunshine in Oulu and it’s like the city got crop sprayed with prozac. Everyone is happy and has a lot more energy to do stuff. There are more social events on the calendar, more hours spent outside and more runners than you ever knew such a small place could hold (Sidenote: Even with all this sunshine inspired happiness and joy, I heard that the suicide rate in Finland actually increases over the spring time. Not too sure why, but somebody has probably done a study on it).

Spring in Oulu is a funny thing. It’s funny because in many other places that have spring, spring is a time of flowers and green grass and sunshine. In Oulu, it is really only a time of more sunshine as the city slowly battles back from the low three hours of daylight in December/January.

I found that there were different stages of spring:

early spring (March: not much different from winter, there is just more light. This is a great season for skiing and winter sports because you are not benighted at 3pm and you can see your shadow which might be rare in winter.)

mid-spring (April: the most awkward stage: it has sort of stopped snowing but it still can be freezing at night. The snow is dirty and slushy, ice forms easily and the ground that you can see is muddy but the little blades of grass start peaking through the mud which is also grew hope in my heart )

late spring (May: This is when the snow has mostly left, except for those stubborn piles in the forest, the green of the grass seems almost fluorescent, it might rain a lot and you can pack your snow jacket away)

For me, spring in Oulu was a fascinating time. Spring is constantly changing… today there is a massive ice patch outside your door, but in a week or so, it has gone – melted into water and run away somewhere.

You also see piles of snow that start getting smaller and smaller and then you see the tops of sticks poking out of the snow and a few weeks later the snow completely melts and you see that the collection of “sticks” was actually a bush hidden for all those months.

It feels so slow when you see it everyday… I wished for the snow just to melt already… but when you realise how last month you were standing on river ice which is now a flowing river or that your favorite ice rink is now a football field, you see that the change was actually quite quick.

And I had a bit of life lesson moment there – sometimes when things change they look ugly or you can feel like the change is taking forever. But really in a bigger perspective the ugliness is temporary and the change was quicker than you realised.

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