Reykjavík
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The Winter Before Spring (JB)

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Júlíana Björnsdóttir's picture

During the last weekend of March, we woke up to an illuminated blue sky with merely a cloud or two scattering across the horizon. The sunny skies experienced sudden shifts in weather during the day with brief snowfall that lasted no longer than an hour or so.

But somehow, blue skies with brilliant rays of sun or the glowing moon conquered at last.

This is the beginning of spring. This is not the pink blossom of the idyllic European spring. The snow is concentrated and seemingly round snowflakes sit on top of the thick layer.

An outing with Emma, my almost three-year-old Labrador Retriever, is the perfect way to spend a sunny day. We rolled in the snow and she leaped into the air to catch the snow balls I threw up in the air. When she got tired at last, I filled her hollow Kong ball with snow and like a child with an ice cream cone, she enjoyed the cold snow while bathing under the warm rays of the sun. When she had regained her energy, I chased her around the garden in an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve the ball.

This is the magic of spring after a long and enduring winter season.

This winter season leaves us with memories of blizzards, storms, and strong winds. On one such day, I found myself in the most inconvenient of circumstances and for a few moments, I wondered whether help would arrive.

During an appropriately timed storm on Friday the 13th of March, warm temperatures melted away the pile of snow that arrayed the city in white. As the afternoon progressed, the wind became stronger and on this day, I decided it would be a good idea to go home early before the weather got worse.

When I parked my car around 8:30 in the morning that day, I stepped out into a deep pile of snow, but when I returned to my car just before 4 pm, I had to cross a river of melted snow to get to it, as the image below displays.

I was in high spirits that afternoon after a lovely day at work and looked forward to a quiet Friday night with my partner and Emma and an eventful weekend.

The wind was already quite strong and with my soaking wet feet, I reversed the car through the knee-deep river and drove home. The wind shook the car every now and then but I was grateful for the absence of ice on the roads and looked forward to coming home to my warm home, and share a cup of coffee with my dad.

As I approached the usual turn off to avoid the heavy traffic on the main road that runs through Reykjavík, I had a feeling I was taking the wrong turn but this time decided not to listen to my generally accurate instincts.

That was my mistake.

I hit the red light, the first car to miss it, and waited for the green light to continue to my journey. But the shock came when the green light lit up and I pushed the petrol accelerator. The car wouldn’t start.

This is the same car I drove when I began my driving lessons in 1996. A 1995 model of Opel Vectra, this car has a long history and I have always been fond of my old pal.

But this was not a moment of fondness. I worried the car behind me would be too close and that I would cause an accident stretching all the way to the bottom of the hill. It was a scary thought.

Trapped up on a hill with a long line of cars expressing their frustration in the first few tries. Finally, most of them just drove past me. Twenty minutes passed before a merciful driver stopped his car and offered to tow me to safety at a nearby car repair shop.

I have never been so grateful and this stranger’s kindness inspired me to be a better person myself.

The lesson I learnt from this less than magical day is that just because the weather is crap and I am dying to go home, I want to be the kind of person who helps those in need.

Júlíana Björnsdóttir – julianabjornsdottir(at)gmail.com

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