07 February 2009

it's not what you think

So yes, I have not been writing much lately, and here's why:
  • When every trip to the store is a reminder of the kreppa as the prices of everything have gone up here by 40isk, there by 200isk, I don't really want to spend more time writing about the experience here.
  • I listen to it on the radio in the car, at work when my coworkers argue about who should do what next over lunch. Again, do I really want to spend more time thinking about it here?
  • The significant themes which are occupying my head lately aren't the sort of thing I share with partially unknown audiences on the internet.
  • There are many others who're covering the governmental and economic details far better than I could ever aspire to.
  • And also partly because from the daily-basis perspective, it's not like a "collapsing" government creates some kind of visible effect. There were no citywide riots, no mass walkouts of offices, no burning cars.
I've been listening to reports from the US regularly, reading the American news, and talking with my family there, and it doesn't really seem like it's a whole lot better there either. I know people who're being downsized in both places, I know people who're uncertain about what the future will bring in both places, people who've lost breathtaking amounts of money from pension funds and 401k's. So, why not stay here where at least the air is clear, where the northern lights finally made an appearance after so many months of black skies? As long as I'm fortunate enough to be employed, warmly housed, and fed, Iceland seems as good as any other place.
So there it is. I like to write about the things here that still make me happy, in spite of the cold weather we've had lately. It's the time of year when the sun's finally high enough to stream into my top-floor home, a time when the sunrises are heartbreakingly beautiful every morning, when my sunset run around Seltjarnarnes takes my breath away, so incandescent is the sea with turquoise glory.
November to January this far north can feel like the worst punishment ever, but the reward is that when the sun comes back and the days are finally long enough to use the light, it's one of the most uplifting experiences I can imagine. It's been rather brutally cold (for Iceland, which means -10c) lately, but the advantage is that it comes with clear air that feels extra-saturated with oxygen. Every day I am lost in the wonder of light as the fuschia clouds mark the sunrise, then Snæfellsnes glows pinkly from my office, then Esja catches that afternoon gold, and then as evening falls the sky goes lavender. I know I talk about it ALL the time here, but for me it's what makes this place so unforgettable, that the magical glow can be yours to witness so frequently, rather than the occasional exceptional moment as a 10 minute treat for only the earliest of risers.
And so in conclusion, despite all the emails I have been getting recently wanting the juicy details on just how collapsed it is here, I am going to write about light or how great it is that I can find a muffin tin to borrow in under 4 hours, lent to me by someone I've only met once in my life. There are still plenty of things to be happy about, even if they don't seem like really significant parts of your day. I still think that if you can't find any joy in those free delights all around you, you're looking in the wrong places for happiness.