It’s over halfway through November. I didn’t really realise that until I read how someone else back home, back in Finland, was feeling because it’s November. In Finland, November is the gloomiest month. Not properly winter yet. The autumn is past. There is mud on the ground, the leaves have fallen and turned black on the ground, the sun never shines. The lack of light makes people depressed and unhappy. Christmas still feels far, far away; the thought of it gives little comfort, even less when you go downtown and every place is full of bright, garish decorations. Yet there isn’t even frost on the ground.

I found myself cursing the shortness of the day the other day here in England. Darkness falls after 4pm. Still, it’s almost sunny today, the wind is blowing, the air is nice and warm. There never is that glorious crispness of November morning in Finland, rarely will there be frost on the ground and on the trees, but at least there is sun. It’s never as dark as in here as it is in the north. Some of the trees still have leaves, and others are covered in ivy, little winter flowers blossom here and there, the shrubs are heavy with berries. The landscape is never uniformly blackish grey. Neither is people’s mood.

I feel often quite lucky to have escaped that dreary darkness of the late autumn of the north. In return, I have given up the first proper snowfall and the blinding whiteness of January, when the temperature falls below -20°C and the world glitters in the sparse light of the setting sun. I guess there is no ideal, perfect place to be – something will always be missing, or fitting ill, never mind where you are, was the place the one where you were born, or the one where you chose to go to.


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