|The Sun in the Dark (PS)|
|Written by Iceland Review|
|Tuesday, 06 December 2011 11:55|
Today the sun comes up at 11:04 am in Reykjavík and goes down at 15:34 pm.
That is four hours and 30 minutes of daylight.
If we look at it from a different perspective, it’s 19 hours and 30 minutes of darkness.
And the days will get shorter still. We will face close to an hour of more darkness before it starts to get brighter again. On December 22.
To some foreign-born residents and tourists visiting Iceland at this time of year, this is hell. Dark and cold.
To me, it’s just normality. A part of life.
You wake up, it’s dark, you go to work, it’s dark, you go home, it’s dark. And if you go to the swimming pool in the evening, it’s pitch black.
But that’s heaven.
Sitting in the dark, soaking in warm water, counting the stars. That is the best Iceland has to offer right now.
It’s even better if it’s snowing at the same time.
As you can see, the clock in Iceland is wrong.
Noon in Reykjavík is at 13:15/1:15 pm and it’s darker in the morning than it should be, but the sparse winter light we have will last longer in the evening.
Yet it doesn’t change the fact that we have 20 hours of darkness in mid-December.
And this is the season we also have jólabókaflóð, a Christmas book flood.
This year’s harvest is one of best ever with new books from Hallgrímur Helgason, Sigurður Pálsson*, Jón Kalmann Stefánsson, Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, Vigdís Grímsdóttir and Guðmundur Andri Thorsson.
And not to forget Benedikt Gröndal’s book Íslenskir Fuglar which was ready for print in 1899 but has never been published before.
The poet, author, illustrator, teacher and natural scientist (1826-1907) drew all the birds he knew existed, or had been seen in Iceland. In total, he did one hundred drawings for the manuscript.
At last, more than one hundred years later, we can buy Benedikt’s great work of art in a book, which is an absolute gem. It was designed by Snæfríð Þorsteins* and Hildigunnur Gunnarsdóttir. Published by Crymogea.
It’s not only in literature we have a great crop of this season. In music, this is the best year for a long, long time. Artists like Mugison, Sóley Stefánsdóttir, and LayLow have released superb albums, to name just a few.
As for other writers, I just read the work of the great Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuściński (1932-2007) for the first time and was very impressed.
He must be one of the best writers of his generation, if not the best. I truly enjoy his writing—reading in the dark.
* The Icelandic letter ð is pronounced like th in that.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 December 2011 15:48|