Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It has been so cold lately that I suspect my blood has thickened. I am just shy of stabbing myself to prove my theory, as I am sure I would bleed as little as if molasses ran through my veins. It is not so much the degrees of frost but the wind that has this horrible cooling effect, something I know from my stay in Canada where the outdoor temperature was always and only provided with a wind chill factor during winter time. Here we don‘t do that as it would be too depressing and no one would leave the house. It is bad enough in the mornings to see the pitch darkness of the day waiting outside the window, a radio weather announcer exaggerating the coldness would just be too much.

But a runny nose does not give rise to complaints, in light of what is happening in Australia. The images of the floods experienced there are even more chilling than the dry sound the snow underfoot makes when stepped on when the frost figures hit double digits. I cannot imagine what it must feel like to watch one‘s home carried away by a muddy stream stretching wider than the entire neighborhood, really more reminiscent of a dirty ocean. To lose on top of everything the things that you can never get back, photos and keepsakes from a life lived, possessions of no monetary value but irreplaceable and thus invaluable to the owners.

It is amazing how narrow the band of environmental circumstances within which we are able to sustain life comfortably as humans. The temperature cannot go up or down all that much and I remind the reader not to be fooled by the scale we have attached to such measurements. It can get a whole lot hotter and colder than thermometers imply. We are very vulnerable to rainfall as the flooding in Australia shows, utter chaos followed two days’ worth of heavy rain, arriving in the wake of an unusually stormy 3 month period that left the catchment saturated. Too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet. That seems to be the theme of weather related reports from world over these days. Makes one wonder about what the world was like some decades ago when in retrospect such reporting was much less frequent. Perhaps journalism is now more all-encompassing and less localized. I very much hope this is the case and would be in a better position to philosophize about this if I had not turned off the radio when a weather specialist was being asked about the subject and began his monolog with the words: there is some speculation about the onset of a small ice age.

To me there is no small ice age, especially considering that a regular ice age lasts about 100,000 years. I do not want to spend the rest of my stay here on this planet speaking year round through a muffler wrapped around my head. What the hell happened to global warming? Did they fix this at Cancun? If so they went a bit overboard if we swapped gentle warming for bitter and biting cooling.

But soon it will be spring again and no one here will think about ice or anything cold aside from ice cubes in drinks. Until then I am tempted to join the neighborhood gym. The just advertised “hot yoga” classes, which are not to be confused with “sexy yoga” if such a thing exists, as “hot” refers to the temperature within the room the class takes place in, namely 40°C or 104°F.

I for one will not be doing much stretching in the class, just lounging – praying that the instructor believes me to be meditating about the wisdom of Ghandi.

Yrsa – Wednesday


  1. Yrsa, we are finishing up our second blizzard in a little over two weeks. There is about 22 inches of snow outside our door, although that is probably only a snow shower in Iceland.

    There is the cliche about weather in New England: if you don't like the weather, wait a minute and it will change. It is true.

    There have been devastating hurricanes but we aren't like Florida or the Gulf Coast. We don't have the mudslides like they do in California or the extremely dry conditions that cause the forest fires in the west.

    We don't get earthquakes.

    The weather phenomenon that frightens me the most is tornadoes. They are so unpredictable in their paths and they develop so quickly, that there isn't any way to be prepared. Running to the store for bread and milk isn't going to help. Homes on one side of a street can be reduced to toothpicks while on the other side only a few leaves have fallen from the trees.

    Our unpredictable weather is just fine.


  2. Yrsa, I have to laugh because I was reading "My Soul to Take" this week when we were trapped inside (my daughter's school closed all week) due to snow and ice. I live outside Atlanta in the Southeast U.S. and we don't have snow removal equipment -- I scraped my driveway with a garden shovel. But the book was set in summer so I had more snow than Thora. :D

  3. Hi Beth - I totally agree with you on the tornadoes, probably a fear rooted from childhood in my case after seeing the wizard of Oz. Am I remembering it correctly that she was swept away by a tornado or was it a hurricane? In my mind's recollection it was a tornado.

    Hi KAren - that is the difficult thing about writing books where weather plays a role. Here people would find it odd to read about snow in the summer and summer in the snow. They would however be more fond of reading about warmth when cold than being reminded of winter during the summer. Be thankful your city has not spent loads of money on snow removal equipment that would just sit around for years. There are much better ways of spending money!

    all the best Yrsa