One of our readers wants to know what impression I have of the weather and climate in our country. I, who travel a lot in the kingdom. It was John Jonasson who asked me, and he is stationed in Skåne. Skåne, which has been my destination for most of my travels in 2016 and 2017.
It was after I retired in 2014 that I was able to travel around so freely. John thinks I’m a very exprienced traveller, while I would say there are incredibly more places on my wish list than on the list of places I’ve actually visited or just passed by.
I’ve always enjoyed driving far. It gives me a sense of freedom, and it is exciting to visit places that I have just heard of before. And I have often been lucky to experience things that have become unforgettable to me.
As for example, when, in 2010, I drove the 300 kilometers to Vadstena after a night, during which, for some reason, I didn’t get any sleep at all. I still had a wonderful opera experience at Vadstena Opera Academy that day, and I also unexpectedly met the philosopher Marcia Cavalcante, who sees life and our faith as an artist’s sketch. That was unforgettable to me. From that day she has been one of my favorite thinkers.
This, however, has nothing to do with weather and climate, nor does the short spontaneous journey I made to Vänersborg and the Aurora Music Festival in August 2013. There among several wonderful musical experiences I also got a long and deep kiss with an 89-year-old dancing woman.
Weatherwise, my trips to Skåne gave me a lively picture of climate and weather variations within the southern parts of our country. From where I live, it’s a 430 kilometer drive, and sometimes it was actually the same weather in Bengtsfors and Malmö.
The most spectacular occasion, however, was when I drove to Hässleholm late in January 2016. Then it was cold and snowy and frost all the way through Bohuslän, Gothenburg, all through Halland and across Hallandsåsen. This was unprecedented and almost unheard-of. And I can never forget Skåne in winter attire and sparkling mid-day sun.
At other times, I have experienced that while spring is still ony in the making in Dalsland, forsythia, magnolia and anemone are in full bloom at Söderåsen in Skåne.
And in 2016 I remember the autumn was beginning at home while the Lund Botanical garden invited us with its juicy damson fruits and magnolia in a second bloom.
On some occasions, Skåne is so windy. At spring-time this is often the case at home too. As far as my observations of the last 15 years are to be trusted, the calm spring days are few and the windy spring days dominate. But – however much I’ve traveled and observed, whatever conclusions I make will be based on limited experience.
Traveling to Öland twice a year and then claiming that it’s always calm and warm there, that’s clearly a result of unusual timing. On Öland the sun shines and on Öland the winds blow, regardless whether I’ve happened to be there when there was just a light breeze.
The weather is a game of randomness, just like the two times I was in the United States. 1994 and 2013 I was there. Both times on the east coast. And both times, the weather was incredibly, almost tropically hot. + 40 ° C and almost unbearable to get out of AC-cooled houses.
At my last visit there, languishing again in the sweltering heat, I asked my 88-year-old relative in New Haven, Connecticut, if the summers are always so tropically hot there. ”No,” she replied. ”It’s quite rare that it’s so incredibly warm. Last time, I would think I remember was in 1994. ”
So, we’d better not make too generalizing conclusions about climate and climate change on the basis of limited experience. Nonetheless I did have plenty of experiences driving North from Stockholm an early morning in July in changing summer weather in 2016. I picked up a pair of young Slovenian hitchhikers who were hiding from the heavy rainfall under a bridge in Sundsvall at noon.
I visited the restaurant Jazzköket that evening in Östersund and walked back to the hostel in the evening sun. I stopped for a while at Åreskutan a week later on my way home after a trip to Norwegian Steinkjer and I heard on the car radio that they’d noted the first snowfall of the year at the top there.
I took route 321 and then E45: all the way from the mountain there, then west of Storsjön and east of Oviksfjället down through the stony Härjedalen – all in a drizzle.
And then the weather cleared up as I drove through Orsa Finnmark. And when around Lake Siljan and Mora, the landscape opened up, green and with scented fragrances coming through my open side window, the sun gave warmth from a clear sky. Then it felt like I was almost home, though I had more than 300 kilometers left.
But the weather? It’s much like life. Certainly I can draw conclusions and guess what the big contexts are like. But, says my philosophical friend whom I met in Vetlanda, all you think is a sketch. An attempt it is. A good attempt to understand. Understand how the world is connected and how you can live, yet it’s a try and that’s probably the most important thing to understand.
So I’ll continue my trips until further notice. It gives a sense of freedom, and it is exciting to visit places that I have only heard of before. And I have often been lucky having experiences that have become unforgettable to me. And right now, it’s a late January day and I can see through my window, the rain has stopped. It’s a bit cloudy. I’ll go out getting some fresh air.