I saw an Arctic tern the other day, soaring above the playground. “Look, the Arctic tern has arrived!” I yelled excitedly while pointing at the sky. My son, preoccupied with having fun on the swing, didn’t know what I was on about.
At one-and-a-half, he takes an interest in birds and is an expert at crowing like a raven, but the Arctic tern was new to him. He didn’t realize the significance of its arrival.
The Arctic tern is the last of the migrant birds to arrive. It travels the longest distance—in some cases all the way from the South Pole—and not until spring is it definitely here. This year, there were reports that the Artic tern was a week late because of strong headwinds.
Among the first migrant birds to arrive is the golden plover, which features in many Icelandic songs as the bringer of summer.
It’s been here for a while already and this year I’ve seen unusually many of them in flocks around town. My granddad—who points out all the different birds when we go horseback riding—says the golden plover was avoiding the cold weather which was still up north.
Birdsong brings me joy and I love observing nature coming back to life after its winter slumber. Sunshine after weeks and months of overcast skies is therapeutic, even if it isn’t particularly warm. The bright season is my favorite—daylight in the evening and night is magical.
He told me that during the brightest months of the year, he hardly sleeps but spends every minute he has spare outside among his feathered friends so that he won’t miss that perfect moment—such as a male Arctic tern with a fish in its beak, on its way to feed the female while nesting—he has pictured in his mind for years.
Another fixed feature in spring is the Eurovision Song Contest. Icelanders are passionate about the contest—even if they won’t admit it.
The second semifinal took place last night, when Iceland sadly dropped out.
My husband had prepared for his usual football practice, which takes place at the same time, but mysteriously his teammates were all otherwise preoccupied. Secretly, he was probably relieved so he wouldn’t miss out on Iceland performing.
The competition is particularly ambitious this year, with many unusually high quality songs. Latvia’s entry is my favorite and I’ll be voting for Aminata in the final tomorrow.
Maybe listeners have become fed up with Eurovision clichés—which might be the reason Iceland didn’t qualify.
Iceland wasn’t the only Nordic nation to drop out this year. In fact, only Norway and Sweden qualified. Both entries are pretty solid, especially Sweden’s who many have pegged as the most likely winner. In my opinion, though, they’ve already won often enough.
The Scandinavian countries have proven strong contenders through the years; Denmark and Norway have also won several times. One of most unexpected winner in the history of Eurovision is ‘Fly on the Wings of Love’ with the Olsen Brothers from Denmark in 2000.
I hope Icelanders will soon recover from yesterday’s shock so that they can enjoy the final tomorrow and proceed with BBQ-ing in the rain, which has been forecast, and partying until late in the evening—or the early hours of the next morning, until birdsong has replaced singing Eurovision fans.
Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir – eyglo(at)icelandreview.com