Wednesday, January 13, 2010


There really IS a God! I just knew it! He has sent snow to Southern Sweden; not just snow that comes one night and melts by morning, but frozen ground to receive the white stuff and keep it on display in the fields. Now this is the Sweden we expect to see (because we think of Sweden the way it is up north, not this close to the Baltic Sea).

Because this cold snap has remained since before Christmas, there has been enough to make long hills desirable for sledding. You’d be hard-pressed to find more than the mound of an ancient king’s grave around where we live. We had to drive where there were hills, but that was fun, too.

We were invited by friends in Lund and we said, “Yes,” though the idea sounded reckless and body damaging. Hunter thought he was going to be as scared as he is on roller coasters (we’ll work on that, too) to go down a big hill. He kept looking up the sides of tall buildings in Malmö asking, “Will the hill be that tall?” We’d just tell him we didn’t know, but probably not (because we didn’t really know).

“Will it be really cold?” he asked. We told him we’d make sure he was bundled for warmth and padding. We took note to do the same for ourselves as we were in our thirties when we used to make a regular habit of careening down the birch studded hills of Fairbanks, Alaska. Needless to say, we are no longer in our thirties. Sigh.

After taking the time to bundle ourselves up, then remember we should use the toilet, we hopped in cars toward the hills of Lund. If you’re from there, I don’t know the name of the area. Phil was worried we were losing what light would be left after three in the afternoon. Hunter was scared into silence and I was nervous about my tailbone and back (but not too nervous to make the attempt!).

We started the climb. First we climbed a brick stairway; typical for Sweden. Then we saw the sledding area as we scaled the side of the hill to the top. Those taking the hill head-first finished only moments after they took off. We heard no yelping, only delight. We kept trudging. Some of us decided we might not really be going down, especially since there were only two plastic sleds. Furthermore, the snow was so thin that the hills looked like hairy white legs. I wasn’t so sure the ride would be anything other than hard and jolting.

Hunter and his friend David had been dragging the sleds. They seemed to need no instruction at the top of the hill. They sat in a sled and slid down. David had been there before, so he knew which hill would take him the farthest. Hunter took what he thought was a more sane hill. No sooner would they go down and climb up than we’d see them ripping down the hills again. Would we have an opportunity to try? What happened to Hunter’s fear?

This hill rose up out of seemingly nowhere to look out over miles of surrounding winter landscape under a pink-hemmed blue sky. A cluster of houses typified those we see on greeting cards with orange and black roofs and twinkling porch lights neatly planted against rolling hills and the now bare bushy willows and beeches (can you hear me straining not to use the word “nestled”?). It was a picture worth painting, so I enjoyed that while I waited for a turn to go down the hill (first reluctantly, then expectantly).

When the boys finally surrendered the sleds for fear of our threats (three adults waiting), I was granted a whirl as long as Hunter could go with me. Where do kids get such power, anyway? At the bottom of the hill a snow packed sidewalk creased the hill, complete with three inch edges. I was sure it would hurt. As I sped down the hill, I noticed how difficult it was to steer, that people left broken pieces of plastic sleds and spent fireworks all over the speedway and that SOMEONE BUILT STEALTH JUMPS throughout.

Do you know we made it to the bottom? Nothing hurt. To boot, I was able to climb the hill without panting (a few aches expected the next morning, but who cares?).

The sleds were a bit small for Phil and his hunting boots did not grip the ice/snow well, so his fun was laced with some difficulty.

More friends arrived with more sleds and we could go down at will. We watched people don plastic bags and slide on their plastic covered bellies. All smiles, all fun. We left at dusk, the city and traffic lights glowing, our faces numb, to make little pizzas and a sugar cake. Now that’s a great way to spend a January day. What a blessing!

1 comment:

City Hen said...

Hey there! Thanks for being my blogging friend! Love all the pics. You have had some incredible travel.
Happy Day and hugs from Poland!