06 November 2006

All hail

Last weekend was the perfect weekend to do Not Much with proper style. We had a lovely storm on Saturday night, which I spent as it should be spent- candlelit dinner with friends followed by lying on a windowseat with a wooly blanket, 80's movies and a purry tabby cat, while the wind blustered and the rain and hail clattered outside.

Of course, one must not stay inside all weekend, and the grand thing about Iceland is that the pools are always open, even when hail threatens. So, K and I went to Árbær, where I remembered again how much I love swimming. It's odd how many things have become part of my life in the past year that I can now not imagine being without. Crunchy onions on my hot dog, red currants, quick access to the freshest of air, and swimming. I love the smooth feeling of the water, the way a slight change to the angle of your head or hips creates a totally new streamlined effect, that rewarding zoom when you kick up the pressure against the pool. Then there's the frisson of movement at the end of the pool that results in a quick change of direction, the constant evaluation and reassessment of the timing so that the breathing and strokes come out just right at the end of the lane. I love the rhythm of the breathing, and how I can feel the difference in my singing control when I've just been swimming before. Yesterday, there were leaves on the bottom of the pool, so every sweep of my arm sent them swirling in a subaquatic tornado across the blue tiles, and the snatches of view when I turned my head above the surface were tree-filled and swiftly moving.

But I digress. I had that can-swim-all-day feeling yesterday, but as my arms just started to go leaden, the mushroom-gray clouds that had swept in started to shed prickly hail. I ducked under the water and rolled on my back so I could watch it fall on the surface. If I was close enough, I could feel the moments of cold as each ice-pebble dissolved on the warm water. When I nudged under the lane dividers and made my way to the nuddpottur, the kids were all ecstatically scooping up handfuls of hail from a corner where it had collected, and watching it melt in the hot water, delighting in the frigid/hot contrasts.

Weather here is certainly a participator sport when you know you can be almost naked out in almost every variation there is to offer. A bit different from the pool of my youth, where a sniff of rain was enough for the lifeguards to sound the everybody-out for fear of lightning. It's rather a non-issue here, so you're welcome to swim at any time- high winds, snow, rain, or hail. I already liked to be aware of the cycles of nature around me, and my childhood lesson on how to survive winter (do stuff outside regularly) still applies here.

As I type this now, the wind has kicked in once again after a relatively calm day, and I can see that snow has begun to spiral and hover in the streetlights. Perfect weather for a swim!

No comments: