The seventh Yule Lad, Door Slammer, arrives today.
12.08.2013 | 11:30
Farewell to Thee, Beloved Summer (JB)
The certain but gradual death of summer is a month-long process usually beginning around about the first weekend of August, known as the Merchant’s Weekend in Iceland.
This grand weekend of festivities is often spoiled by cool winds and cold rain, and for some reason, the weather prediction is rarely in favor of enthusiastic festivalgoers, at least not at nightfall.
That weekend has come and gone and as the Augustan month takes on a shape of an in-between season, transformative in nature, the end is nigh.
The Augustan nights become ever so quiet as the passing of time continuously rolls its wheel and early August becomes mid-August and before we know, the month has past its annual turn.
On summer’s deathbed, the warm summer breeze no longer accompanies sunny and warm summer days. Instead, the cool sharpening winds of autumn cool down our bodies in search of one last summer fling with a sun we so desperately desire to keep us hot to a point of mild or even severe perspiration.
The days grow shorter as daylight fades into darkness, until the distinction of evening of night is evermore clear. Each minute, hour and day of leisure becomes more precious as the daunting reality of autumn and winter parade into our lives after a much-needed break from its cold surface.
The humidity with its still, still night becomes a distant dream amidst the fading dream of a summer stretching into the month of September, and even October. Bare feet escape the confinement of shoes on the rare occasions when the little bit of humidity settles in the air providing us a final chance to feel the benign breath of summer’s dying breath upon our bare skin.
The still humid nights are no longer filled with merriment of children’s gaiety and replaced by the eclipsed shadow of night that is almost silent.
Children’s bedtime thus return to normal in preparation of another school year and their parents prepare for another winter of routine and schedule, some in discontent while others with a smile on their face.
But in the eclipsed shadow of night, sleepless creatures of the night gently walk the abandoned streets. In-between the trees they encounter eyes as yellow as the stars on a bright winter eve but rarely encountering another fellow late-night walker of the human race.
These are the people whose lives are uninterrupted by duties of the traditional family life. Perhaps a couple unable to sleep on an accidental walk upon inhaling the freshly scented air of a still night. Too tempted to seize the opportunity to bathe in the humid night air, they walk the familiar streets of a borough still lush with green plantation trees and the verde garden grass moist with cold cold dew.
Magic is in the air.
For one night, the mild humidity of the Icelandic summer strikes back with an awesome force of retaliation to attempt once more to defeat the inevitable destiny that is a long dark winter.
The sky is a soft blue veil, as blue as the Aegean Sea in late summer and the animated coloring of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In the distant, a glare of light reveals formations drifting toward the horizon behind the rows and rows of homes.
They are clouds that in the reflection of the bright moon and sparkling bubbly stars appear to be shaded in the light hue of the Aurora. In a collision of seasons, the foreboding of time flickers for a moment before the illusion of a summer extending into the autumn days continues with the passing of steps distancing themselves from the strange and irregular linear formations.
Perhaps beneath is a young dog inhaling the air, perhaps sniffing out the inevitable changes to come. In her careless moment of freedom from the boredom of nighttime sleep, she paces her speed to match that of the couple indulging in the luxury of a life free from restrictions of the duties that motor this world from one generation to the next.
But alas, as mid-August approaches, even the dutiless face changes in their schedule; with university classes just around the corner, regular office hours to work and the hunt for the perfect job the leisurely irregularity of summer will soon be but a distant dream, as the wind picks up and the cold air from the North Atlantic Ocean reigns once more.
The town of Borgarnes, West Iceland, has asked daily Morgunblaðið journalist Egill Ólafsson to write the history of the town. The book shall be finished in the spring of 2017, when the West Iceland town celebrates its 150-year anniversary.
The October-December issue of the print edition of Iceland Review is packed with interesting material, such as a travel feature on Flatey Island, interview with chair of Samtökin 78 – The National Queer Association Anna Pála Sverrisdóttir and a guide to spotting the northern lights accompanied by Páll Stefánsson’s photos. Click here to view a selection of pages from the current issue and here to subscribe.