Words & Images Morgane Erpicum
I woke up before dawn, awkwardly ensconced in my sleeping bag and our many blankets. I wiped the condensation from the car window and looked out, eager to start the day.
The night was a deep royal blue over winter’s thick blanket of snow. The silence was absolute, save for Doug’s quiet breathing next to me and the gentle stream flowing close to the car.
The wind suddenly picked up, blowing away the dark colours of the night and the cloud cover. I sat there, intently watching the sky turn to lavender, then to the softest of pinks.
“How is that for winter light?” He said, sitting up and tucking his messy hair behind his ears.
“Everything I could have hoped for”, I replied, grinning.
When my husband and I first started telling people we were moving to Iceland, the reactions it triggered were quite extraordinary; they ranged from utter amazement to horror. Amongst the raised fears (and a good load of misled preconceived notions), one issue seemed to arise more often than not. “How are you going to survive the winters? You do know you will be in the dark from October until February, don’t you?” they asked us, their eyes wide with shock.
While we appreciate the fact that their questions stem from concern and love, we have always approached the issue serenely. Fair enough, neither of us are used to living at such latitudes, but we both do come from the greyest and wettest areas of Western Europe. We have spent several weeks in Iceland, both at the beginning of winter and in the midst of it. Every single time, we were struck by the quality of the light and the uncanny realization that we had had more sunshine over the course of one week in Iceland than during the entire length of winter in Belgium.
“Shall we move on?”, he asked, stretching his lanky body as much as the confines of the car would allow him. I acquiesced while putting on the many layers that would help me brave the icy wind. We quickly packed up the back of the car, hopped in the front and started driving.
By then, the sky was painted peach pink and vermillion orange. It was February, and the sunrises and sunsets glow beautifully for incredibly long stretches of time at this period of the year. Sometimes, it almost seems like the sun wants to take full advantage of the shorter daylight by showcasing the most incredible kaleidoscope of colours.
We cruised along the snow-laden Ring Road, westbound through the Fjords, taking in the scenery and its many powdery nuances.
We soon reached a pass, climbing further and further into the mountains and the clouds.
As we took a turn, we got engulfed in fog, which submerged us in a milky mist indistinguishable from the snow. We slowed down, mesmerised by the white slivers streaming across the asphalt.
“Are these plumes of steam coming off the road?” he said, focused on driving.
“Nope”, I said, in awe, “it’s the snow dancing in the wind”.
© all pictures Morgane Erpicum with kind permission
excerpt from NORTHLETTERS MGAZINE print edition Vol.1 available this autumn!
More about Morgane here.
Take care dear readers! Melanie Kettner