As March comes, thoughts of spring come to mind. This spring is not a conventional spring but a hybrid of winter and early autumn fever. Its tides are rarely smooth—more often than not rough—as the temperamental wind continues to throw a tantrum.
The Icelandic spring is an ideological token for the light as the dim winter is at last behind us, and despite the potentials of a snowfall and frost lingering in the air, it is the light that rises and shines upon us before we leave our homes to attend to our daily duties.
To many of us who at some point in our lives chose to live in climates where spring is mild and warm, and where spring is truly the beginning of a summer as most people around the globe have come to understand it to be, the Icelandic spring breeds disappointment.
It shouldn’t of course. We choose to be here and we understand the reckless nature of the Icelandic spring. But for whatever reason, within us lives a hope for a Parisian spring where everything comes alive and the population enjoys leisurely days along the Seine below the high-rising Notre Dame, with bare arms and legs exposed to the comfortable warmth of the awakening sun.
After almost seven years being back in Iceland, prior to which I spent living in various locations that at each time savored my curiosity for discovery, I still experience spring as a melancholy season.
Its heights are subdued and its lows a return to winter.
The breeze on seemingly warm and sunny days is cold rather than just cool, and the ever-so-surprising April snowstorm a confinement from the fresh air.
But it is the light, the very light of day that is the bringer of hope and for some a long-awaited reason to rise out of bed and start the day with a walk, jog or a run. Anything to bathe in the morning light after its long sojourn further south.
As these words are typed, my Labrador Retriever sits comfortably outside the kitchen window feeling the wind in her ear. Physical transformations occur as its force replaces the thick wintry pelt for a lighter one better suited for the mild temperatures of summer, and loose white hairs from her pelt now drift out into the world.
To her, this time of year is the Parisian printemps as the warm spring transforms wintry nights into an eternal summer day. The ocean in which she swims is no longer freezing cold and with the sun out, she is the queen of discontent when made to rest on the kitchen floor while her two-legged mama types these words into a strange little box with a screen that constantly changes.
Her mama, now barelegged in a summer dress, who fetches Emma from her garden of content, feels the goosebumps crease the skin where the cold wind attacks, even though she spends but less than a minute in the al fresco air.
It is perhaps a relief that at least the Icelandic spring is the time of hope for some Icelanders. For the rest of us of course, this is a time of a blurred transformation.
The cold is still cold. The wind is still fierce. The conditions of weather play by no rules of seasonal propriety. The only thing that has changed is the light of day and its victory over darkness.
Life in Iceland is a strange mixture of constantly expecting the unexpected, of hoping for a fairy tale spring and summer while expecting the conventional unforeseen state of peculiar weather changes.
It is a whirlwind of a life.
Júlíana Björnsdóttir – [email protected]