21 June 2005

it's all downhill from here

This morning they announced on the radio that today is the summer solstice, and we're going to experience a total day of 21 hours and 8 minutes before the freight train of darkness descends, accelerating to the peak of gloom in December. It doesn't look much different lightwise than it did a month ago, but somehow being here is making me more aware of the cosmic machinations. I can see the sun on its sidways glide into the sea on clear evenings, and in the car, one is very aware of how much time the sun spends hanging low in the sky. It's got an uncanny ability to be just below the edge of the windshield, necessitating much innovative use of the sunshields.

The past few weeks have revealed an Iceland I never knew existed, where buttercups, columbine, and dandelions crowd the edges of the sidewalks, where tulips and unfamiliar space-alien plants fill the yards, and mysterious trailing yellow flowers drop from trees. The trees are in bloom, buzzing of lawmowers and sprinklers is a daily sound, and people spend the endless afternoon in the sunshine, reading and making desultory conversation with the neighbors through the fences.

I'm also more tan than I've ever been, even after summers spent rollerblading on Martha's Vineyard. On Friday I was even wearing a tank top and grumbling about my lack of sandals, all of which are packed in boxes in Vermont.

This weather also seemed to disturb some of those who are more familiar with the country though- yesterday we ran into friends at the pool who commented on how odd it was to wake up in their tent this weekend, barbecued by the early sun. When the clouds descended again yesterday, everyone (J and I included) breathed a collective sigh of relief at having the familiar weather back. Now it's 45f, gray and windy, and the people in the neighborhood are back in their coats. Guess there's no such thing as putting winter things away for the summer here.

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