Thursday, 17 January 2013

Jyväskylä: Snow and Castle

The footpath by the lake at Kortesuo, Jyväskylä is easy to walk on - surprisingly, there's been a snow plough - but I turn my eyes towards the frozen lake Tuomiojärvi. There are some people skiing on the ice. For me, this means that it must be safe enough to be walking on the ice as well so I step down on the lake. The shadows that fall on the snow are long around noon; the days are still very short.
My boots don't sink too deep in the light powder. Often there is less snow on the frozen lakes than in the forests and fields. There is a light mist hanging over Löylyjoki-Kivelänranta area on the opposite shore. I wonder whether I should look for a trail made by people walking here before me or make my own track?
Actually, there's no choice. Of course I'll make my own track. It is so liberating to be sauntering on ice and go anywhere I want to go and not even get exhausted, thanks to there being so little snow. I turn towards Laajavuori where the mist is rising towards the sky like a cloud of smoke. Do I hear an announcement through a loudspeaker? There could be a skiing race going on. Perhaps the mist is artificial snow in the making, for the ski slopes.
I spot a couple of other walkers on the ice as well. It means that there will be more and more trails on the snow that was almost untrodden for days. Finally, I end up at Viitaniemi where the mid-day sun is glistening on the snowy trees.
The closer to the shore, the more there is snow. Above me the alders are dressed in their most beautiful, lacy winter outfits.
I start looking for a place where it would be easiest to climb to the footpath on the shore. When I see the frozen reeds I freeze myself, if only for a moment - to admire the fragile union of the reeds and the snow, so transparent in the sun.
I feel so elated when strolling through Viitaniemi park that I almost forget to look around me. Luckily, I slow down and turn my eyes towards Kasinonmäki hill which has a new, temporary building: a snow castle! The footsteps heading towards me are not only made by human feet; a hare has also paid a visit to it.
The builders of the snow castle seem to have checked exactly the right time to make their move: the snow has to have the right consistency and the weather has to be not too warm and not too cold, if you want to use blocks of snow like these people seem to have done. Snow engineering.
I enter the snow castle through the entrance at the back. There are small peeping holes to different directions that give a new outlook to Viitaniemi - framed with snow. I really hope this snow castle will stay intact as long as possible.
Farewell, restful Viitaniemi; I will head towards Jyväskylä city centre. To my pleasant surprise, it is also calm and almost sleepy there on this afternoon. The winter mist and the sun paint a somewhat eerie scene on the sky at the end of Harjukatu street. It is as if the solitary bus parked by the side of the street is waiting for passengers to a journey that would take you somewhere beyond the sun.

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