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The turn of the seasons


It is the light that signals the changing of the seasons in Estonia.

In the deep winter it is the long darkness and human life is measured by the welcome candles outside cafes and restaurants. Slowly though, each day begins to bring more light and soon the days grow long and bright.

The low horizons of this flat and forested land makes the early spring sunshine  blinding against the snow- it is almost as though a searchlight has come on in order to banish the winter darkness. The return of the sun is the promise of new warmth and by March and April the days are visibly lengthening from one sunrise to the next.

Gently the grip of the frost begins to fail. The workmen go onto the roofs to shovel the snow so that it does not turn to ice, though still the passer-by must be wary as the thaw drops icicles from the steep pitched gables of the Old Town.

The cafes begin to put out tables on the cobbles- not the elaborate terraces that come out when the leaves do, but still another sign of spring- albeit wrapped in warm woollen fleeces and blankets

From the cinnamon of the Hoogvein or Gloogi that we drank in the deep winter darkness, we might now venture a coffee without a shot of warming Naps. Now we now pick our way along the winding lanes in the clear light of the morning of the year.

Soon we will be drinking the cold beers or light wines of high summer.

Then there is no night at all- only the long twilight with buildings or trees picked out in sharp shadows against the luminous sky.

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