06 September 2010

localized memory loss

Last Thursday night the first real autumnal weather arrived, a howling wind that spattered rain on the bedroom windows and tore leaves from the trees. It roared all day Friday, bringing with it a strange high mist that blurred the edges of the landscape. Along with rain, this wind blew in the memory of Iceland when it's not summer.

Every year as soon as the darkness disappears in late spring, the recollection that most of the time Iceland is a dark and moody place also disappears. Surely it's always this warm and gentle and green and delicious smelling, isn't it? And then June and July and the beginning of August roll along, months of camping without the need for flashlights, sunlit afternoons at the pool, runs along the sea without the need for hats and gloves. Iceland is a great place to live! The only place to be!

When I moved to the new apartment in June, there wasn't even a need to buy lamps. The ones I'd had before worked fine in the only spot they were useful- late night bedtime reading. The living room's southern exposure meant it was plenty light pretty constantly until mid-August. That's when the rather decent night view revealed itself- the glowing mushroom underside appearance of the university science building, the twinkle of lights at Bessastaðir and is that Garðabær over there? It was also time for a lamp or two to create the cozy feeling that makes up the other half of Iceland, time for candles and wool blankets and knitting and books and pots of tea, a time when the feeling of summer's endlessness is what gets forgotten.

This selective memory loss isn't just about the seasons though. I've experienced it in the landscape as well, when travelling through some of the country's more amazing landscapes. I can never pick which is really my favourite waterfall since the one I am currently at seems like it absolutely must be the best. At different times this year I've been certain my favourite must be Gullfoss, no, maybe Aldeyjarfoss, did I mention Háifoss, or perhaps the river above Skógar, and did I forget the secret snack spot in the highlands? They're all so differently amazing that it's impossible to choose just one.

Life should be about enjoying the moments as they happen, not spending it always thinking tomorrow will be better, or yesterday was when it was really good. Iceland certainly strives to remind me of that in so many ways, nearly every day.


Anonymous said...

I have fish memory in general... Everything is always happenning to me for the first time, for the good and for the bad. It's a curse :P

The cool fresh outdoors, the cozy warm indoors. That's on my interests section in facebook. It sums it up quite well. To everything there is a season and Iceland is like the whole universe condensed ina tiny rock in the North Atlantic.

Teddy! said...

I took a short trip to Iceland (mainly Reykjavik) as winter was coming to an end last year. The first few days were cold/rainy/windy and it made me want to spend an entire winter there. Then the last few days the sun came out and warmed up a bit and I wanted to spend all spring/summer there.

I only got a little teaser of Icelandic seasons, but that along with this post makes me think of how special the little place is.

(Been reading your blog ever since I got home from my trip!)

ECS said...

maria: I think it's a good thing personally- keeps life feeling very fresh and interesting, doesn't it?

teddy: welcome! I'm not sure you'd feel quite the same about winter after five months of it but there are moments when it's nice :)