May is miessemánnu – a season of its own

In other words I’m sure the only people who enjoy May in Sápmi are the reindeer herders: miessemánnu stands for the month of the reindeer calf. This is the month when they are born, often en route to the summer pastures on the coast (at least in Norway, in Finland they closed the border long time ago and made the annual migration impossible). For rest of us, May is a month of stagnation and freezing winds. But when you know it, you don’t expect it to be any other way. Gone is the warm sun that embraced us around May Day and melted most of the snow. Ever since it’s been snowing and zero degrees…

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P.S: The swans just arrived!

They just landed on the partly open river this sunny but cold and windy evening. My first thought was that aren’t they supposed to arrive on the mountains from wherever they’ve been wintering – as they do in Ohcejohka area. Then, of course, I remembered that we are on the mountains! We had to rush to greet and welcome them – see below.

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Skiing in Biedjovággi

Considering the amount of snow just two weeks ago, I was convinced that this year skiing season would continue until mid-May. Alas, the May Day brought sunshine and a heatwave that left us in a wake of huge puddles and quickly vanishing snow. However, yesterday we found out that if you go even further up the mountains, to Biedjovággi which is 40 km from Kauto and where there a few decades ago was a gold mine (!), the skiing is simply awesome. It was almost a ruovdecuoŋu (“iron-crust,” the hardest kind of spring snow crust, hard enough to carry a car) so it was possible to ski wherever you liked. The quiet vast open space that opened in front of our eyes and the gufihtar-eallu (a reindeer herd of the underground people) which we could hear but not see…

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Frozen waves

Morning glory – this is a view from our window on Sunday morning when the glorious sun was just above the mountains, adorning the world with soft pink garb with sparkling diamonds…


It was minus 30 C which meant a gorgeous day that couldn’t be spent inside. Enough layers and goikkehat – reindeer boots – on our feet we rushed out to soak up the rays and check out the frozen waves on the lake.

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Here comes the sun!

img_1802.jpgYes, finally! The weather has been mild, grey and cloudy for weeks so we missed the first day of sun some days ago. It was not until today the temperature dropped to minus 20 C which gave us a clear day and a couple of hours of sun peaking over the mountains, enchanting the world and greeting everybody.

Buresboahtin ruovttoluotta beaivváš!

Welcome back, it’s been a while! You make the world so beautiful and steps so light! It’s been many ptarmigan steps since the skábma of December! Hopefully we get more crisp and clear days like today so we can enjoy your luminosity and grace – this year has been very different from last year when it was minus 20 or more for January and February. But as they say, a year is not another year’s namesake.


Winter solstice in Sápmi

img_1737.jpgThe light changes from one moment to another and a camera cannot capture all the shades and colours. In photos, it looks darker than it really is. But from now on, the little window of daylight – from around 9.30am to 12.30 pm – is going to get longer. Gradually yes, but longer nevertheless. According to a Sami saying, the day gets longer one ptarmigan step each day. I can already feel it, and I’m sure I could smell spring in the air for the first time today when I went out. The air was full of promise. Aim for the light – even with ptarmigan steps.

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