Lingonberries in December

Winter weather has come and gone. And come again. Ice and snow, sun and thaw, storm and quiet days. And to our surprise, lingonberries in december.

Right now it’s white when I look out of my kitchen window and the thermometer shows just below zero Centigrade. Late last night when I was driving home, it was minus 11 in the cold hole over at Trekanten below Laxarby church.

So it has been changing back and forth lately. Arletta was here on a visit a week ago. Then we stopped in Åmål, and we had a visit to Simbadet and a long walk through the city before dark.

Then it was white and there was snow, and there was a beginning ice crust by the dock in the marina.

In the evening the weather turned and became mild. When we went out into the forest then it was sunny and clear and really like spring in the afternoon sun. With her sharp eye, Arletta saw something red among the twigs a bit up the hill. ”Lingon,” she whispered, and we climbed eagerly up the steep slope to see if she was right.

As always! Her sharp eye does not fail, and there – among twigs and evergreen lingon leaves, where yesterday it was white of snow and frost – there we found them. Lingonberries. December Lingonberries. Red. Some almost transparent. ”Do we dare to taste?”

Arletta always tastes the world. We both tasted. And like wine connoisseurs, we felt how the frost had transformed the slight lingon bitterness into sweetness. We kept the taste in our mouths. Gently squeezing air between semi-closed lips so that the aroma of forest and soil minerals could fill the palate.

Then we tasted this year’s decemberlingon. ”Spätlese” if they had been grapes.

Today, a week later, I still have a twig of decemberlingon in my kitchen. Outside now, it’s snowing big flakes. Increasing all the time. The day after tomorrow we plan to meet again. Perhaps there are sloeberries now. They should be picked in December.

Ellington

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