Spring always represents a clean break in the season. Suddenly I wake up early in the morning because the sun is piercing my eyes. It’s so warm outside that I only need a fleece jacket to go around. God forbid, I have to take sunglasses on tour, I need them for driving, I need them all the time. It’s spring. The long winter is over and it’s time to get nostalgic about things.
A winter season in Lapland is a roller coaster of emotions with many ups and downs. In the cold, dark days or during peak season when things get hectic and overbooked there’s anger, frustration, maybe even an urge to leave from time to time. Then on a good day out on tour with great guests there’s this euphoric feeling of that I’m on top of the world, of never wanting to leave this place. I still haven’t gotten quite used to it and it happens every single season again.
Yet in springtime, all is good. It’s too nice to be out here in the sunny woods to be angry. I love the birdsong now that the sleepy forests are waking up. The reindeer are passing through the area and we see them almost every time we’re on the road. Though the beginning of March probably held the most consecutive cold days we’ve had all winter, it’s mostly plus degrees during the day now. I’ve never seen so much snowfall so late in March but if anything it has prevented the tracks from getting dangerously icy like they normally do.
And so, even with the hardships and the exhaustion it’s going to be hard to leave from the woods. I will miss those quiet, sunny mornings, where all we hear is happy dogs barking when we step outside the door. I will miss the sweet water from the lake, the rays of sunlight on the trees, the birds whirling around, the squirrels running off with the bits of meat lying on the snow. I will miss being so close to nature all the time, I will miss standing on the frozen river and driving down thrilling hills.
But, then again. I am also looking forward to life getting just that bit easier again. Not having to beg around to wash my clothes at a friend’s place. Having a shower at home. A toilet inside. Running water to wash my hands. Electricity. I can’t stop imagining all the things I’m going to cook when I have electricity again.
Most of all I’m going to miss the dogs. It’s been such a great experience being just PJ and me working with a small group of them. Now that we’ve been here together for a while I feel that we have really connected to them. A good few have slept inside the cabin with us on cuddly dog evenings. They are so relaxed out here.
Though we don’t have fences we can let most of them run around loose and they’ll just stick around us and their house. I let my lead dogs loose before each run as well. It’s a great warm up for them and it’s good obedience training. I just love how loyal they are. Neither of us ever has to worry that they’d run off. That’s what I’ve always imagined being a great way of working with dogs.
I’m trying not to think about it too much yet but it will be a really sad goodbye. Then again, that’s how it always goes when the dogs are not your own.
I thought that after this season I’d be ready to leave it behind and try other things. But the experience of this winter made me change around again. I’m not done yet. I’m not ready to say goodbye to them. I want to learn more, see more, and do more. For the future, we’ve been talking about getting our own dogs. Doing our own thing. We’ll see what happens, but now we definitely have something to save up for.