It is now March 22, and there has been snow on the ground for four, full months.
Winter arrived around my birthday in November, and I am not really sure when it will leave. Allegedly, spring has sprung and, yes, I hear birds chirping in the trees. At 5.30 am this morning, I saw the kind of translucent gray light pouring in through the windows that one could expect at 9.30 am in December. And yet, I do not believe it could be over.
This morning, blinded by the sunlight, I walked to our compost heap to deposit some orange peels and spaghetti our youngest daughter had dumped on the floor, only to spy my neighbor sunbathing in his backyard. He was sitting in a chair, lounging in the sun like an Estonian lion, wearing a short-sleeved shirt and rolled-up trousers. "Is it that warm?" I thought to myself as I stood on the crunchy snow. "Is my neighbor a mirage? Am I going crazy?"
Could be. I am told that it's the kevadväsimus -- spring fatigue -- that's been setting in, a crisscross between cabin fever and winter exhaustion. It is the yearning for sunlight and all of the earthly pleasures that you know must be right around the corner coupled with the grim knowledge that nature will find a way to delay your satisfaction for as long as possible.
It seemed like it snowed almost every day last week. Even my stoic Estonian abikassa was reduced to emotional rubble by the kevadväsimus. "I just can't take it anymore," she opined, her face in her hands. "I need to get away." "Honey," I console her. "You grew up here. How did your 15 year old self deal with kevadväsimus?" She looks at me like I am crazy and that she has never been 15 before.
For some reason I felt the strong need to bleed out my fatigue with some punk rock. I brought out a live Clash album and put it on while I made breakfast. To my surprise, my two young daughters loved it. [London's burning with boredom now, London's burning to na na na na night.] I turned it off, but they begged for more. "Keep playing it," the older one yells. "Play more of that crumply music." Could they be suffering from the kevadväsimus too?
I remember my first spring in Estonia. It had been black and icy and unforgiving as the North Pole. My rear was black and blue from all the spills I had taken on the ice. Inside, I felt petrified. Then a hot silvery beam of sunlight touched me on my neck outside of the Hotel Olümpia in Tallinn. I felt like sobbing inside, I was so overcome by the change of the season. The women around me were suddenly more beautiful, the budding greenery more luscious, the chocolate heavenly. Yes, the Estonian climate is some kind of physical embodiment of a mood disorder. And now it is the end of March. Here we go again.