Mondays in Iceland - #96
Special Friday Edition
In a dim light: neither daylight
December darkness is something that I once feared and that may seem like a terrifying thing to people from brighter places. Most Icelanders I’ve talked with find it to be something that one simply deals with, or in some cases, embraces.
On still days and nights when not a single branch twitches nor dead leaf rustles, it’s a time full of witching hours, these hours that stretch from black to sunup—the blueness of the predawn that makes white blankets look aquatic, the white simplicity of light on cloudy winter days, the rich and magical navy of dusk, the purest black of nighttime. Even a clear full-day sky is deep glacial cobalt, and then the snowed mountains across the bay emanate the most perfect kind of frigidity I can imagine. Whenever I want to think of the coldest temperature imaginable, I am sure my mind will go to the black mountains to the north, etched with glowing snow and edged by Arctic sea waters.
Offsetting this chill is the delirium of lights that cover the city–every tree that can hold a bulb is draped, stores staple entire illuminated evergreens over the doors, and windows are festooned with candles. A Saturday stroll becomes a festivity of greetings, street caroling, pepper cookies, and cocoa. It's a tiny glowing oasis in the midst of the miles of darkness beyond, where one single car light over on Kjalarnes can be followed on its entire outbound journey around Esja, a dot of bright in deepest black.
By ECS, 10 December 2007
Re-posted by permission