Autumn has arrived and it’s only the end of August.
In most of the European continent, the peak of summer has only just begun to dwindle. September is nigh but days are still bright and sunny and the short days of winter still far ahead.
In Iceland, this is not the case. Already, the wind is stronger and colder, and the evenings grow dimmer and dimmer.
The school year has commenced and the curriculum is still exciting to the pupils, in theory at least.
Autumn is also the time of year when many dogs begin to shed hair in masses and every day the vacuum cleaner, whether it’s the iRobot Roomba or a standard one, must be run every day.
I find myself running my iRobot, that I named Eddie after one of my favorite actors, Eddie Redmayne, almost every day. It is safe to say that our Eddie performs as well as Mr. Redmayne in the cinematic rendition of Les Miserables and the TV mini-series Birdsong.
Another sign of autumn is when my dog Emma stops begging to go out every half an hour. Like with autumn, I know spring has arrived when all she wants is to be outside. Now, that time has come to an end and she goes inside when she has had enough.
Don’t get me wrong, she still loves being outside and she won’t say no to a walk, but she is quite happy to come in with us after a nice walk or be on a play date with her friends in the local park.
For me, autumn makes me think of university. I get excited about the prospect of attending lectures, even though I am not actually going to attend any. I am registered to finish my Master thesis this school year and I certainly plan to do so, but no, that does not include lectures as I have a job, too, that I like very much as a technical communicator.
I live right by the university so I see excited students walk in the direction of the university with volumes of books and laptops on their back. Yesterday, in all my excitement to commence the school year, I found myself deciding to go to the Þjóðarbókhlaðan—, the National and University Library of Iceland— to work on my thesis.
Emma was not satisfied with my decision to go and I suppose it might have been the karma of her dissatisfaction that caused the library to be closed.
For whatever reason, autumn, the predecessor of winter, is the most charming of seasons to me. It is enigmatic and enchanting, but also a little intimidating.
Just the other night, as my husband and I went to bed just before midnight, we had the strangest of experiences. The wind blowing outside had grown strong as the darkness of night cast its spell on the skies.
The writer in me with her vivid imagination was inspired by the mood of the night, and I found myself for the longest of time trapped in that zone between the waking body and sleep. When I finally fell asleep, I found myself in a nightmare that caused me to abruptly wake up the whole family with a scream.
The scream was sufficient to wake up Emma and frighten her as she barked loudly and struggled to fall asleep for quite a while after the event. My husband, equally shocked but quicker to recover, also struggled to fall asleep for quite some time.
As often is the case after a nightmare, I found myself unable to sleep and took Emma out to do her duties. All I had to do was stand in the doorway and she quickly finished her business and came back inside. For a moment, though, I noticed her looking curiously at the door and once inside, she refused to come to bed.
When back in bed, we thought we heard the neighbor’s dog running above our heads in his mouse-like ways, but soon after realized the noise was coming from inside our apartment.
We then got out of bed once more when Emma abruptly stood up and ran to the hallway. What we found was unexpected. It was a mouse or a rat more frightened of us and the labyrinth in which she was now trapped. My husband helped her find her way out and she leaped back to the freedom of the outside world.
After that, we finally all fell asleep, but it is safe to say this strange night will not be forgotten anytime soon.
Júlíana Björnsdóttir – [email protected]