11 November 2006

renewed vision

I just walked home in the fresh darkness of an animation-perfect snowstorm, the kind that confidently layers itself on your coat and hat in a no-nonsense way and swirls beautifully in the lights. Iceland's definitely figured out how to do outdoor illumination thanks to the almost constant use in the winter, so the familiar places looked strange and different under this snow-glow and mysterious lighting. I took pictures along the way, enjoying the stuttered look of the snow that my camera captured, the vertical columns of snow in the recessed ground lights near Tjörnin, the striped effect where the underground hot water pipes had warmed the sidewalk enough to melt the coating in places, and the way this short city can manage to appear imposingly majestic as it hangs on to this windswept rock in spite of the weather that roars around it constantly.

It sometimes takes a while to fall back in the rhythm of appreciating winter but I'm finding my pace. I grew up with snowstorms but I still fall in love with them all over again whenever I see it for the first time each season. I know it's not always going to be postcard-elegant snow that falls mostly vertically (since precipitation is rarely vertical here) but right now, right here, I'm loving it.

12 comments:

carmen said...

Breathtaking!!! The weather here has been flirting with low temps and high temps lately---for example today it got up to 66°F (19°C), and I've been dreading the moment the weather finally lets go of the higher numbers to plunge us headlong into brutal winter. But your post so captivated me, that now I am looking forward to that cold embrace...and especially the first snowstorm. Two years ago we had flurries on my birthday (nov 13), so Mother Nature: bring.it.on!

Your photos also make me want to go back to the land of Ice to experience an Icelandic snowstorm. They also really make me marvel at the strength and determination of pre-electricity Icelanders. How on earth did they survive such winters??

sb said...

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr is all I can say. I'm not much for winter :( yet I grew up in the land of ice. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr

But I LOVE seeing pics from my old hometown. I miss it

ECS said...

Cahmen! Long time no hear. Funny you should talk about rapidly changing weather, because now, hours after I posted about the winter wonderland, it's warmed up significantly and the wind has kicked in once again.

but back to loving winter... I've discovered that the iPod does have a somewhat significant effect on the whole procedure since it makes me feel like I'm in a movie with my personal soundtrack. For Icelandic snowstorms, I recommend Ske's "Le Tram". Goes well with swooning weather.

As for the early Icelanders, as I mentioned once before, I think part of the secret lies in the Icelandic wool, and the rest can be seen in the slightly unhinged characters here. It's what I like so much about the place.

Sirry! It's not as cold as Boston, as you're always telling people there. Sure, the wind is something special and different but you always know the weather's going to change in a day or two, unlike in New England where the same kind of miserable can last for weeks. I do take these pictures in part for you though, since I know it's one of your connections to home.

Anonymous said...

Nice photo.

Reminds me how happy I am to live in a a place where everyone breaks out the "winter" clothes and lights a log in the fire when it is 48 degreees out at night.

dtw said...

Oi, reminds me why I've always thought the world is at its most beautiful when the first snow falls. Over here it usually seems to happen very peacefully. Often it arrives silently and almost apologetically, and just leaves a very thin layer of pure white on top of the beautiful autumn colors. Kind of like the sky decided to sprinkle dust sugar on top of everything, instead of someone's bakings.

Sarah said...

Hey! We got down to 67 F yesterday here in California... I had to break out the slippers to wear to bed last night. *sigh* Living vicariously through your posts as usual, E. Thanks for the beautiful pictures...

:O)

ECS said...

hi E! It's funny the temp you mention is 48degrees because that's exactly how warm it was here today. I was wearing the same number of layers as I had on in Boston a month ago. As people say about Iceland, you don't get weather here, you get samples, and the wintersample is over for the time being.

dtw- we did have a few trial snowstorms like that earlier in the year, just a bit of a swirl that alerts you to the future storms coming up, but don't do much else.

Sarah- sounds like a tolerable temperature to me- I can enjoy THAT vicariously from here. And I'm happy to oblige :-)

carmen said...

I may be lousy at posting sometimes, but I am always reading! :)

Bo said...

Girl, your pics are EXCELLENT!!! FRÁBÆRAR!! was the weather really that bad? hmmm - /bd

ECS said...

carmen- happy birthday! Glad to know you're still out there occasionally :-)

BD- you left in the clear space between storms, but as you know about Iceland, the weather never stays the same for long! And thanks for the compliment.

tsduff said...

E - you have quite a talent for not only capturing pictures in amazing clarity, but also for finding subjects that lose their ordinary mundane qualities and become magical through your eyes. I especially loved the picture of the church at night... reminds me of the one in Hafnarfjordur near the sea. We (Walnut Creek, CA) got to be about 45 degrees F on Friday early a.m. - had the first very light frost of the season still clinging wetly to the garage roof.

ECS said...

Terry- there's actually no subject that's absolutely not worth writing about. I actually had a teacher once who'd written a well-known book about college application essays who said exactly that- any subject is worthwhile. There are redeeming qualities to almost everything, so it's a nice exercise to look at your daily activities with conscious eyes, and find the coolness in it.

I don't actually have a mental picture of the church in Hafnarfjörður, but I can think of many other tiny churches all over the country that have withstood all manner of fierce weather.