For & Against: The Icelandic Summer - The Reykjavik Grapevine

For & Against: The Icelandic Summer

For & Against: The Icelandic Summer

Published August 12, 2016

FOR:
They say there are two seasons in Iceland: winter and summer. Spring and autumn are so brief, you’ll miss them if you blink. Winters are long and dark. The summer, really, is the only ideal time to be in Iceland.

How can Icelanders pop off to Majorca or the Canary Islands in the summer, I wonder? The right time to stay home is the summer; head south for the winter instead, I say. Not that anyone listens to me. In fact, I would argue there is no reason for anyone to be in this country during any other time of the year.

The Icelandic summer is just the right temperature and, if the skies are with us, offers more than enough sunlight for ten summers elsewhere in the world. Iceland in the winter is, by contrast, dark, windy, wet and miserable. Why anyone would stick around to experience it is beyond me.

If we were smart, all of us would go into exile six months of the year and leave the entire country vacant. Maybe let some NATO warships circle the country while we’re gone. When we return, our glittering emerald isle will be all ours again.

AGAINST:
They say there are two seasons in Iceland: winter and summer. This is a bald-faced lie of Nixonian proportions. Rather, we have winter and winter-lite.

Every May, we go through the same routine: speculation as to whether or not this time we’ll get a proper summer, which we never do. Weather forecasts of as little as two days in a row of non-rainy weather are enough to warrant front-page news. We hope and pray, week after week, that any day now summer will arrive. It never does.

Nietzsche once said that “hope prolongs the torments of man.” Like so many times before, Nietzsche was right. We need to let go of the idea that the Icelandic summer even exists, let alone is on its way. You might cite unequivocal data on global warming as a counterpoint. Thanks, but no thanks—I don’t intend to hang around here until 2050 to experience real and factual summertime temperatures.

We must stop teaching our children that there is summer in Iceland. There may be, in the astronomical sense that, like the rest of the Northern Hemisphere during these three months, Iceland is tilted a little closer to the sun. But nothing resembling our objective understanding of summer ever happens in Iceland.

Give up hope, Iceland. Summer is a lie.

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