15 May 2008

final rewards

I've mentioned that in the deepest winter there's that time that happens here in the summer that makes it all worth it, and yesterday was one of those days. Since I returned from Oslo, the days were solidly and nearly unrelentingly all about the cloud, so yesterday when it was warm enough for t-shirts and with only the slightest of breeze, the entire Icelandic nation went outside. I arrived at choir practice early and spent the 15 minutes I had lying in the fresh grass outside the church, eyes squinted in the sun.

This is my fourth May here and it's just as magical as the first time, except now I know that the spicy scent in the air comes from the newly unfolded black cottonwood leaves, and the rich scent of the plants in shade reminds me of camping trips and hikes, bonfires and endless days of Icelandic summer. It all happens so quickly too- in the 2 weeks that I was away, Iceland went to the ordinary gray most-of-the-year look to blossoming with green and perfumed air, and night became eternal sunrise/sunset. The birds returned, leaving evidence on the top of my car every morning, but bringing songs that, in the still of early morning make it easy to forget I live almost in the center of town.

In spite of what I've written here that generally exudes positivity, my life in Iceland hasn't always been easy or overflowing with awesomeness. I miss family, I miss times of guilt-free native language speaking, I sometimes swear at the impossible weather, the ongoing paperwork that allows me to stay here, and the tiny size of the community can be claustrophobic. But when it all comes together there really is no better place. When I'm swimming in the sun and the timing is just so on each lap, the turns a smooth ripple of interruption with a view to my toes, when I'm learning a new song with this choir that's become so much a part of my experience here, finally able to laugh at the jokes and when the weekend's full of plans with friends, it all does seem worthwhile. I know nobody's life can be great all the time, but here the moments of down are more extreme, and the ups equally or more so. For one thing, the past three years certainly have not been boring.

(we will return to Finland in next post, I promise!)


Professor Batty said...

"What am I doing here?"

Whew, that is THE QUESTION, isn't it? Thanks (again!) for sharing your good times with us. It is appreciated. Your posts really give depth to the telling of the Icelandic experience, I've got to get back...

ECS said...

batty- I think about it a lot more living here than I did in the US, which is partly a good thing. Sometimes I'm kind of annoyed with myself for feeling the need to always question it, but maybe that's part of why and how I enjoy it so much when things are nice.