31 January 2006

Springtime confusion

These past few days have felt like real and proper spring here. The air is balmy enough to open windows and let the chilly-but-invigorating flavors of moisture, things growing, and the sea drift in. It's actually been marginally sunny too, in that capricious Icelandic way, and the snow on the mountains to the north has receded to all but a few veins in the gullies.

Civil twilight now is already the same time as in Boston will be on the first of March, so even the light is beginning to linger like spring. For those of you who don't know, civil twilight is the dusky time before sunrise and after sunset when you can still see enough to go about your business (of course there are all kinds of technical definitions too). This dusk-time is twice as long up here in the north, thanks to the lazy angle of the sun relative to the horizon, and it is much-needed extra light at this time of year.

Yesterday, J and I left work at 4:45 to a fully, properly bright afternoon complete with sunset-colored clouds and big expanses of blue sky. With such a day we had to be outside while it lasted, so we pulled on sport clothes and headed to the path in front of our house. This paved seaside walk heads out to the Seltjarnarnes lighthouse and beyond and is protected from the sea by piles of lava boulders. Regardless of the weather, there seems to always be a few people out walking, biking, and pushing baby carriages (yes, even in the scary snowstorms we do get here), but it requires more diligence while walking than the average seawalk. Only a few steps in, it’s evident that the sea here cannot be contained by the rocks, and big chunks of the pavement are shifted, torn up, or missing altogether. Even yesterday, a relatively calm day by Ice-standards, the waves sprayed up and over the wall frequently, and the path was strewn with still-soggy kelp and seaweed.

Walking out there reminded me of why I always, always want to live near the sea. The flavor of the ocean and the irrepressible breezes are things I never want to be far away from. Of course, being near the ocean also means being near all sorts of weather fronts, so halfway through the walk, it started to pour. I have learned quickly enough that no matter how clear it may look when you leave the house, you will almost never regret wearing rain gear, so I was ready for it. J took off to finish the trip home at a run, but I pulled up my hood and kept walking, watching as darkness fell and the rain melted into the sea.

Ship sighting: Such thrills! The sand dredging boat Sóley that’s always drifting around at the mouth of the harbor is in the slip for repairs! I will have to go get a closer look at it while it’s up on blocks like that and see if it is really dragging in the water like it looks. There’s also a tank ship with the fascinating name of Aqipi Ittuk, another one of the Royal Arctic line with the Greenland connections. While I was looking for the photo of the last ship, I also came across this other site, a German page of ship models. Unlike your usual ship-in-a-bottle schooners, these are workboats- cargo ships, tankers, dredgers, fishing boats, and the like. I particularly like the Coast Guard model’s action shots.


tsduff said...

When my Icelandic Love and I explored Reykjavik last year we walked along near the lighthouse. It was beautiful, with the changing weather you described. It is a lovely place in any weather. Can't wait to revisit it in June when we come back for an Icelandic family reunion.

ECS said...

you should like the latest photo at the top of the page here then! I can't wait until the sun comes round the corner far enough that we can get this view from the house again.

Anonymous said...

Happy to see you're getting more light :-)

and that you're a sea-loving girl living on an island

and coast guard ships