09 May 2006

The heat is on

When April became May and it was still bald and bare here, I started to wonder if there were ever leaves on the trees here, and if the grass is just perpetually that ashen color of dead. I remember in theory that it was leafy and green last summer but after the darkness, the sogginess, the snow and freezing on a weekly basis, it was easy to forget.

And then, last week happened. Suddenly it was warm, with just the right amount of rain in the evenings, and everything opened at once. The trees became a haze of pale green, daffodils and tulips opened everywhere, and the tang of black cottonwood leaves has filled the air. I feel like I'm in a different place, especially since the weather these past four days has been the kind of weather you get in Boston in July. Everything is obscured by a pale haze that has erased the mountains outside our window at home, and makes commuting in the morning feel like I imagine driving in LA would be. The air is so still that this morning Seltjarnarnes was almost perfectly reflected in the slack sea, and the smell of fish permeated even as far as our subterranean garage.

Fortunately, the temperatures do not match the appearance, so although from the inside it looks pantingly hot, it's still the kind of weather where you're going to want an extra layer. It's brought out a whole new side of Iceland I missed last year in my fretting over having no money. Apparently, the correct way to appreciate the weather (all five days of it annually, says everyone) is to go downtown and drink wine at the cafés on the square, so last Saturday the place was jammed. I was there again yesterday, and in the still, drowsy late-afternoon sun, Iceland trotted out all its European influences. Sunglasses on, my wining companions and I watched as people paraded by in their best outfits, lazy cigarette smoke wafting skywards, lapdogs tucked in arms.

There's also a more redneck way to appreciate the weather as well, involving noisy cars, motorcycles, and dirt bikes. Those guys are out in full force too, and many an un-muffled car can be heard revving in the distance, probably kicking up a good cloud of dust in the process. Sometimes I wonder if I haven't moved to rural New Hampshire when J and I pass clusters of trailer-pulling Jeeps disgorging four-wheelers on the road to Hveragerði.

Ship sighting: Pretty quiet on the dock today- Sóley is out of the drydock and scooping dirt again, the Danish research boat is in the prime spot, and a few fishing boats are unloading along one side. Over the weekend I saw something new though- a tugboat came from the Reykjavík harbor side of the view, tugging a platform with two posts on it, that contained an earth-mover and a short delivery-type truck. They continued across the view until they disappeared behind the Seltjarnarnes lighthouse.

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