Spring is a peculiar season in Iceland. In a way, it continues into the summer, apart from the general lack of snow in the summer months.
Spring is a combination of winter and summer, with the elevated risk of inconsistency in a mere day.
April 16, as the media reported on a blizzard striking up north, my partner and I decided to have a barbecue. The temperature was a mere 2°C and for the first half of the day, the sun came out and shone for a little while on the dry and dusty grounds, followed by a bit of light hail, followed by light rain, followed by more sun, and throughout the wind blew the leaves and dust in and out and up and down.
The dust on the streets of Reykjavík makes this time of year rather unpleasant for the likes of me, who with an intolerance of a kind for a dust of a kind suffer somewhat this time of year. In light of the city’s plan to only sweep the streets of the city this year, counting on the rain to do the rest of the job, this spring is proving extra dry on the throat.
But dust or no dust, hail or sun, my partner, who is South African, was determined on doing a barbecue, inviting my sister and her boyfriend to join us. From the inside of our living room, we observed my partner cooking away the homemade burgers he, made, and English sausages he purchased. His defiance of the windy weather was rewarded with sunlight while he cooked away, and the rest of us got to enjoy the delicious taste of his hard work.
The only one brave enough to join him outside was our Emma, our darling Labrador retriever who loves the smell of food cooking on the barbecue. She was not too happy with me and my not playing with her as is customary on warmer summer days when we have an afternoon barbecue, but the small piece of sausage was an apology enough.
Icelandic weather is all about contrasts, and spring and autumn are particularly colorful in this way.
One moment the sun is out, the next it rains in the gleaming sunlight, and in the afternoon, there is a thick bank of clouds covering the skies above.
Optimism is the only compass to get through the seasonal inconsistencies, and one can only hope on the eve of a night that the next day will prove positively delightful, so delightful that the warm winter vest will be rendered useless for the lunchtime run, and the ride on the bike to work will be comfortably free from strong winds.
The disappointment of waking up to snow on a spring day, especially when one is all too ready for a season of cycling to work, is understandably a downer. My countrymen in the northern parts of Iceland are now back in winter land, while those of us in the capital are free of such burdens—for now at least.
After a long winter, we are so excited for the spring and summer to come that even those who love the snow and cold are frustrated to wake up on a snowy spring day.
My Emma, who loves her snow on a winter day, was visibly annoyed by the weather that Sunday as it shifted from sunlight to a brief and cloudy snowfall. She stood up from the comfortable resting pose to a determined stride into the comforts of her home.
Her blatant discontent for the sudden shift was brief as the sun came out soon enough, and the snow ceased to fall . She was as annoyed as my partner, whose determination to have a barbecue was challenged by the brief snowfall.
Thankfully, both were rewarded their patience, and we got to have our barbecue. It was the first one of the season and such a lovely start to the spring.
It was optimism at work challenging the unchallengeable.
With a wide range of rough and gentle weather, there is never a dull moment in this part of the world.
Júlíana Björnsdóttir – [email protected]