It’s unusually early in the year for me being struck by the summer season panic. But it’s because the snow already is barely covering what’s hidden inunder. January was very cold with temperatures around -13°F (-25°C) for a month. But February, on the other hand, was unusually mild and we haven’t had much snowfall this winter so the snow pack hasn’t been that thick, only about a foot.
And now it’s April, temperatures are mostly above freezing point even through the night. And this week there was this heavy rain helping the snow transform into liquid, making the basement under my kitchen a swimmingpool and revealing all the must-do, can’t-wait-one-more-year around my place painfully visible.
Generally and basically I have a fundamental love for this time of the year, here in the north, the spring-winter. So do most every Swede. When the light returns and the sun is finding us. When the promise of nature coming out of hibernation is real, once again.
They say Sweden is the most secularized country in the world. That might be true, by conventional meaning. But we worship our nature. The forests, fields, meadows, lakes and the sea is our church. That’s where you will find us on a Sunday. And that’s where we found our family names.
Every third Swede, 3,4 million people carry a family name connected to nature. And it’s a type of name you don’t find anywhere else in the world. Unless it’s been migrating of course.
Lindberg, Marklund, Ekdahl, Rönnberg, Ahlgren, Grankvist, Barrlund, Furmark, Björkman, Ängström, Strömgren, Sandberg, Asplund, Holmkvist, Ögren, Sjölund, Blomgren, the list of combinations from two words out of nature for a name is pretty much endless.
And then we have the monosyllabic ones like Berg = Mountain, Lind = Linden, Holm = Islet, Björk = Birch, Lund = Grove, Ström = Stream, Ek = Oak, Blom = Bloom, Dahl = Valley and so on. These types of name are actually more common than names ending on -son. And they are even more frequent in northern Sweden where 60% are carrying names inspired by nature!
Why is this? Well, a lot of people moved north during the 18th and 19th century, and most often they took themselves a new name, related to nature or place of origin. And during the urbanization in the 19th century people left their peasant tradition -son names behind for a new life. But maybe they couldn’t leave nature behind?
And is there anywhere else in the world where the political parties’ logos are all flowers?! Let me know if there is. So here are all the Swedish parties and their symbols:
The Social Democrats - a red rose (that’s common in other countries too)
The Green Party/Miljöpartiet - dandelion
The Left Party/Vänsterpartiet - a white V in a red carnation
The Liberals - cornflower
The Center Party/Centerpartiet - four-leaf clover
The Christian Democrats - wood anemone
The Sweden Democrats - hepatica
The right party/Moderaterna - a blue M (the exception that proves the rule)
Isn’t it cute? No banners, no coats of arms, no geometrical shapes. Only a simple flower for this nature worshipping people when it comes to politics and running a country. Although I wish the xenophobic and racist Sweden Democrats would be more honest than choosing the innocent hepatica as a deceptive logo.