Spring and summer are the seasons most locals in Iceland anticipate with passion and wishful thinking at this time of year.
Weather is most definitely locals’ favorite topic and even more so when spring should be just around the corner. It’s impossible to know which way the crazy forces of weather will take us.
I’ve never liked this circle of disappointment. I like my share of the unexpected; in fact, I thrive in a state of unexpectedness. But when it comes to weather, I am more traditional.
I like stability, a comfortable seasonal pattern. A lush spring with warm rain, bursting flower beds and treetops, and then a hot summer with long lazy days on the beach and a braai (Afrikaans for barbecue) in the evening.
Of course, I can’t change the raving madness of this climate of ours.
This weekend was the first this year with the sun shining and people out and about celebrating the change in the season, after a winter of discontent.
The extreme in weather and nature has a profound effect on all of. We go up and down the emotional scale, feel cold and warm, and somehow learn to cope somewhere in-between the reigning madness.
My theory is that we are in more ways than one driven by the constant harassment from the environment we call home. We cannot control it under any circumstances.
In winter we rush from one shelter to another with the wind in our face blowing the cold air to our very bones. In summer, we wake up to a sunny day and the very purpose to our day becomes the urgent need to escape into the fresh air to enjoy the sun’s warmth on our skin.
On a cold winter’s day, we are pale and sour after being beaten by poor weather and stinging cold. On a summer’s day, we smile to the very end of the world and literally dance down the pavement and wave happily to the drivers who let us cross the street on our walk around town.
What is extraordinary, and something I’ve often wondered about, is the element of surprise, the unexpected beautiful day that comes just when we need it.
I recall the day of my grandmother’s funeral on November 17, 2010. It was a beautiful day. The sun shone so brightly in the clear winter sky to celebrate her extraordinary life, and the crisp air was so refreshing the wind dared not blow a whistle.
The night before she passed away was stormy and the cold settled in my very bones as I ran through the rain while it pounded on my face to get to her hospital room. The whole night I was with her, the rain slammed on the closed window and the wind rang in our ears every now and then.
It was an ominous night that was a premonition of the loss that was to come. The next day, a Sunday, was cold and silent. There was no wind blowing in my face and no rain pouring down on me. It was a quiet walk to the end of an era.
Somehow and for whatever reason, nature’s force was plugged into my life and gave significance to personal moments and left an eternal memento of those days and night that marked an end to my time with a woman who meant the world to me.
It felt as if I was a player in nature’s very own theater of unpredictability. When I least expected it, the world too beautiful for words became a stage to remember a moment in the story of my life.
It’s probably all in my imagination, but I sometimes get the feeling scenes and acts of life are enhanced by say, the loud bark of the wind tears into the tree branches high above and enriched by the sensation in the skin as the warm sun penetrates the cold skin for just a split second on a cold winter’s day.
Júlíana Björnsdóttir – [email protected]