A Farewell to Winter, an Ode to Snow

It felt like I hadn’t seen you in ages and I began to worry that you must despise this city. It was another Christmas without you, in the year of social distancing. It’s been a New Year’s Eve with no fireworks and full of online reunions, but still you didn’t come.

Otaniemi Campus dressed in Winter

Some said maybe this time you wouldn’t visit at all. But in the first week of January, you finally appeared. You appeared over night and then you kept on falling. And you fell and you fell, and you stayed and you stayed. You visited us longer than I would have dreamed and maybe you began to like Helsinki after all. 

Now it’s already April and only a few last piles of your frozen magnificence are left on the sidewalks and street corners and people are fast to forget all the light that you brought. You have to forgive us for it’s the spring sun that makes us restless. But when I look back at the pictures and videos of these last three months, I look back in joy, because I see you in every one of them. 

It wasn’t a good winter. It was the bestest. Here’s to the crystals of frozen water and all their impossible shapes that made grown-ups act like children. Here’s to all the temporary sculptures and halfpipes that appeared all over Otaniemi. Here’s to all the footprints that I got to discover. The traces of hares, deers, foxes and wolves (I know dog footprints might be more likely but in my head, it was always and most definitely wolves!). Here’s to the slick cover that made people dance ever so often completely involuntarily. The slippery surface that’d sent my ass to the earth whenever I needed grounding. Here’s to long hikes in Nuuksio and frozen feet around cozy bonfires. Here’s to hot bowls of Studio Kipsari soup on a day with -20 degrees. Here’s to walking on sea ice and frozen bays, ice skating and sledding, and lazy mornings with hot chocolate where you do nothing but staring out of the window because that’s all you need. Because that’s all you wanted to see, for you had been waiting for so long. 

Now that you’re gone, I will wait again. Maybe more patient this time because I don’t expect you to return anytime soon. Definitely not before November. But when December comes I will be looking for you. I will be longing again for you to visit again. And if you’re looking for me, I gonna be easy to find. I will be the guy starring at the sky with big hopefuls eyes, wishing for snow.

Walking the Laajalahti trails. The Nature Reserve is right next to Otaniemi’s student housing
Walking the Laajalahti trails. The Nature Reserve is right next to Otaniemi’s student housing.
Footprints between the reeds of the frozen Otaniemi bay and the Helsinki Cathedral.
Footprints between the reeds of the frozen Otaniemi bay and the Helsinki Cathedral.
Little snowperson by artist and VCD student Amy Gelera aka @spicycarrrot
Little snowperson by artist and VCD student Amy Gelera aka @spicycarrrot.

Dominik Fleischmann
MA Photography
Aalto study options
Contact email: aaltosquad(at)aalto.fi

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