Of Storm and Ice (JB)

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julianabjornsdottir_dlMy family and friends know how much disdain I have for the cold and windy winter season. If it weren’t for the fact that I have a job I love and a dog which needs exercise, I’d be hidden away under a blanket.

But this year, I’ve been joined by other family members and friends. We are all tired of this absolute nonsense of weather that has been our foe for the last few months.

Now, I don’t mind snow. White and sparkling, soft and fluffy, it shuts me up for a while and I simply enjoy the exquisite beauty it brings into my world. Most of December was stunning like that and the holiday season was in the air.

But then came the dreaded month of January.

Unless you live close the equator or in the southern hemisphere, January is more than likely your least favorite month. It’s the month when getting up in the morning is a burden; even with the most fabulous of plans for the day or a job you love, waking up is a hard thing to do.

It feels as if it has been a weekly event these past months of winter to see a storm warning issued. 

Yesterday was no exception and overall it was a miserable Sunday. Standing in the blasting wind while my darling dog Emma ran with her friends in the local dog park and with her four-legged upstairs neighbor later in the day was absolutely horrid for us humans.

So far this winter, we have had several avalanches fall and strong winds have repeatedly blown cars off the highway in the worst of weather.

The holiday season was shocking with storm warnings day after day and a number of people were either unable to go home or visit relatives in other parts of the country or were stuck somewhere for longer than they had planned.

It’s fair to say we have had enough.

In these worst of times, it’s about time we re-evaluate the calendar year entirely and make some drastic changes to fit the conditions we can expect in the height of winter.

My suggestion is to change the school year. I am not saying we turn it around and do it the way it is done in southern hemisphere countries, such as South Africa and Brazil, where the school year starts in January or February and ends in late November or December.

No, nothing that drastic.

But we need to do something to revive our spirit and change our way of thinking in the process. So, in my opinion, the simplest solution is to have a winter break in January.

Travel agencies could offer a greater variety of holiday packages to warmer destinations. This would mean that students could go backpacking in places such as Thailand, Australia or one of Latin America’s riveting countries and return with a broader view of the world and more ready than ever to study hard.

For parents who can afford to take their kids on holiday, this could mean time together somewhere warm or at least somewhat more humane in terms of weather extremes than what January has to offer in the midst of the North Atlantic Ocean.

For non-attached adults and couples, this could be a great time to travel and reflect on the year that just passed and make plans for the new year while traveling where the sun shines.

For those who could not afford a holiday, the option to take time off to stay at home and enjoy watching the weather rage away from their comfortable habitats might be just as appealing.

For those who actually don’t mind these extreme weather conditions, life could just go on as usual, while for those of us who are a little tortured by the dramatic and swift changes in weather during this time of year, could escape and come back rejuvenated after a bit of sun.

The school year might extend a bit further into the summer but wouldn’t it be worth it if January is made more tolerable?

I know from experience just how much it helps the soul and the body to spend at least two weeks away in a warmer climate. The visits we have made to my in-laws in South Africa have all taken place in December and January and we always return refreshed and revived.

The rest of the winter is so much more enjoyable and the darkness not as daunting.

Júlíana Björnsdóttir – julianabjornsdottir@gmail.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.