A couple of days ago, on Easter Monday, as my wife and I took a two-hour walk around the woods near our home, she taught me an extremely precise Finnish word, pälvi. (She claims that she has mentioned this word before, but of course these things we easily forget.)
Pälvet are the patches of ground, usually at the base of a tree, where the snow first starts to melt in spring. They are the scattered spots on the forest floor where green makes its earliest reappearance, and for many people they are surely a welcome sight after a long winter.
Finnish is maybe unique in bestowing this hopeful sign of spring its own name – apparently even Swedes, fellow Nordics with their own generous expanses of snowy woods, don't have a word for it. As you can imagine, we don't have a comparable word in English either, though when you type pälvi into Google Translate, you will get an English "equivalent".
|The challenges of late-season skiing.|