It hasn’t been too cold in Uppsala and Stockholm in the last few weeks. The temperature hovers around freezing which actually feels quite balmy compared to when it’s truly cold. But there’s persistent patches of ice (usually frozen snow) all over the place and this fascinates me. I guess it’s because I’ve lived in California so long that I forgot about the perils of ice.
I don’t own a car so I rarely drive one here in Sweden. (Although you can read about my adventures driving a car through Swedish roundabouts here.) It’s not ice on the road that I catches my attention, it’s the ice on the sidewalks and on walking paths. I can be walking along at a fast clip and then suddenly I come to a section that requires mincing along like tentative little mouse.
I have already had two back surgeries for herniated disks and once, several years ago, I did a cartoon-worthy fall on my derriere when I tried to stand up on roller skates that left me unable to sit properly for months.
No more, thank you very much.
I live at the end of a short road shared by three houses. To walk out to the main road, takes a lot of focus. I must pick my way carefully, placing each foot and walking next to a fence or bushes so I can grab hold of them if necessary.
Everyone, including the municipalities, spends a good deal of time spreading a fine gravel over the ice for traction. I was told that the gravel used to be more of a sand but now it is more like coarse kitty litter. It’s everywhere. It really helps combat the slipperiness but there is lots of it built up all over the place. Because there’s not much snow on the ground, it’s not very attractive. In some spots, it is nearly an inch thick. On bike paths, you can see where the tires have pushed it to the sides. There’s so much of it that the cars kick up fine clouds of it in the streets.
No complaints, since as I’ve noted, I am not interested in the alternative…pulling another foot-on-the-banana-peel move that leaves me injured for an extended period.
And it’s not just we humans who have trouble negotiating the ice. A recent article in the English language online Swedish newspaper, The Local published a story about some moose calves who had trouble negotiating the ice. Whew, it can’t be easy being a moose mother in Sweden…