Friday, July 7, 2006

So Much Sunshine

I saw the midnight sun and it freaked me out. See, there is no way to know what it is like to spend 24 hours in daylight for weeks on end until you do it. I consider myself a pretty adaptable person. And, having put myself in some really weird situations, I must say I have always come out with my wits about me, more or less. Whether or not my wits are currently with me is debatable. I am in Iceland with a mind to stay a while, looking for a job and going apartment hunting. Some might say that of course, I’m crazy. Those people have obviously never been to Iceland. I’m in love.

The last time I was here, in the dead of winter, there was no sun whatsoever, and now, the sun never leaves. It has turned my sense of time completely upside down. On the one hand, you stay up all “night” and go to sleep at 6 in the morning, but you know you won’t sleep through the whole “day” because it will still be light whenever you happen to wake up. On the other hand, you forget to eat dinner because you are waiting all day for it to get dark. Ten o’clock rolls around and you are wondering why you are so hungry.

The main thing I miss is the starry night. A black sky, full of stars, is a marvelous, natural work of art. When I was in Peru, I was amazed that sometimes I could read a book at 2 in the morning under the light of a full moon. Here, as you can see in the above picture, I can read a book by the light of the sun at 2:30 am.

But by far, the coolest thing about summer this close to the top of the world is the sunset. Perhaps “sunset” is not the right word. After all, it never really drops below the horizon. But it does get low enough to cast its fading light on the clouds hanging in the sky, sending hues of pink and blue across the sky. And, as it sweeps in a gentle arc *near* the horizon, it stays that way for HOURS. Imagine a dramatic setting sun for three hours. Where I come from, once the colors get good, the sun drops so fast that you miss it if you look the other way. But no, not here. Those five minutes of dramatic, divine beauty are stretched out for hours, providing a feast that you are free to enjoy at your leisure.

THIS is Iceland.