Today is one of those January days, the kind I remember in Boston and Vermont. The snow from last week is all thawing out, and the warmer air hangs low on the city after the frigid days earlier. I walked downtown today, and it was a frightening skating-rink of a trip with the snow partially melted and refrozen in solid blocks of ice all over the road. I guess this is the the next level of Iceland's refusal to clean snow from sidewalks and roads- it is the WORST ice I have ever had to walk on. It's in solid stretches of sidewalk, or in sneaky little patches just when you think you're in the clear. There's no sand for traction, and that cool using-waste-heat-water-to-heat-sidewalks thing is only effective in a few places, so I was zig-zagging across the road in a desperate attempt to find a clear spot on the path. Makes a girl want to buy some crampons.
Still, the day was not without its charm. In spite of the scary road conditions, the fresh moisture of the air and the above-freezing temperatures were energizing. It's still a rare moment when I get to walk around outside in the light, so it was a treat to soak in the promise of longer days to come. As I headed up Túngata, I even caught a whiff of black cottonwood, a smell that is now inextricably linked to summertime in Iceland. I know there are many weeks of turbulent weather ahead, but somewhere buried beneath the snow and rain are those days of flowers and green leaves, even here in Iceland.
Ship sighting: There is NOTHING happening today on the old harbor front. Green Atlantic is reported to be leaving at midnight, but I already have stated my doubts about that. The only thing I saw today was the lights of the old sand-dredger in the mouth of the harbor, scraping up more sand. Somewhere I read that Iceland exports a lot of sand to the States, where it is prized for the rich black color. I wonder how much of it has been vacuumed up from the bottom of the harbor here, right in front of my very eyes?