Snow in July.
You could suppose I live somewhere buried deep withing the Arctic North, where the sun only shines for a few brief hours of the day, if at all.
And while I do, this was strange nonetheless. It was 15 degrees celsius in Reykjavík the day previous. I remember because it had been somewhat colder than yesterday - 17 the day before that - and no less than 14 the duration of the month before that. It was a cheerful and pleasant July, much like every Summer in Iceland, until I woke up this morning and peered outside my kitchen window.
What is that? Rain? No, it was something far more irritating. The ground had been blanketed in a thick sheet of white flurries. “Do you see this?” I remarked breathlessly as my wife entered the kitchen.
“The local newsstation is going to get a tremendous thrill out of this.”
She peeked outside and responded emotionlessly “yes, I suppose they are” with which I gulped down the rest of my morning coffee, kissed her frigid, cold cheek goodbye and hurried to the docks.
I worked as a fisherman, and late July was always a prime time for my profession. As I strolled along the river, and my usual fishing site, I was halted in my tracks. Dead fish… dead fish all down the dock. I suppose that made sense, considering the rarity of today’s weather forecast and all. The poor critters must’ve been attempting to leap out to escape the cold. I spotted a couple of my fishermen colleagues clustered around the boats, they were shouting and gesturing with their arms left and right. I raced over to see what was happening. “Magnus there you are!” exclaimed a raucous ginger bearded man who beckoned me over. “You see this bloody mess, the world has gone man!”
My good friend Helgi, loved to drink on the job, he handed me a three-quarter empty bottle of Vodka as I moved up to the gathering of men. “Here, drink! No work for us today” he joked.
“What’s going on over here.”
“The tides gone down a mountain ton, look” Helgi pointed “never seen anything like this before.”
He was right, I’d never seen anything like this either.
“Well I’m going to the bar, you’ll join me won’t you Magnus?”
“Yes yes, I’ll be there.”
Later that night after drinking probably half the town's alcohol supply between the two of us, I joined Helgi in our weekly stargazing. Given the oddity of today’s events, it seemed right to gaze upon the majestic sky. It helped me feel more connected to the universe - helped me escape my problems, and today, it helped me escape my wife. Helgi brought his telescope - a massive instrument that must’ve cost him more than a thousand. I frequently questioned where or who he got it from, or where or who he stole it from.
Stars flooded the beautiful sky, not a single cloud could be seen… and yet it still felt a little dark. I raised my eye up to the telescope… and searched the starry sky. There was the little dipper, as clear as usual. The Ursa Major extended over the sky in its Great Bear like appearance, seemingly protecting us from all of the world's malice - the largest constellation of the Northern sky. As I continued to gaze in wonder, it occurred to me that I couldn’t help but feel a bit strange, as though something was missing.
“Hey, Helgi.” I exclaimed, “What’s today’s date.”
“15th of July… although it sure doesn’’t feel like it.” He took another swing of his vodka - that was suddenly full. Where was he pulling them out of?
“That’s odd, new moon already?”
“I couldve sworn it was a gibbous just two days ago.”
If my memory didn’t fail me, and I was sure it hadn’t. My wife swore her menstrul cycle was in sync with the phases of the moon, as though she was a werewolf or something. No, my memory definitely didn’t fail me as she’d been hormonal all week.
Helgi pushed me to the side and took over at the helm of the telescope. He stayed there motionless for a few seconds.
“What Helgi? What is it? Do you see something.”
He finally looked at me, a pale expression on his face… “no actually, I don’t.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Oh come on Helgi, I know we’re getting old you and I, your beard is turning grey, but we can’t be old enough to miss a giant gleaming orb in the sky.”
Helgi ignored me, and began the flail his arms wildly “Where’s the bloody moon?”
No moon. Not even a glimpse. You would think there would be a reasonable explanation - perhaps it was hiding behind a tall oak tree or a towering skyscraper. As you would have it, however, we were standing in an open field, no obstruction in sight.
It was as if a hand reached out and picked it out of the night sky, placed it in its pocket perhaps. How I would like to carry the moon around with me wherever I go.
The moon is an immense source of power, it controls everything from the Earth's gravitational pull to the weather, the tides, my wife's monthly moods. Suddenly all from earlier today seemed to make sense. Of course, I said to myself, this is exactly what would happen if the moon were to disappear.
“What do we do?” I asked
“What can we do?”
“I don’t know… call NASA, the police?”
“I’m sure NASA knows and I can't be too sure that the police would care. They don't enjoy being preoccupied those stupid drunks” Exclaimed Helgi hypocritically.
I continued to stare up into the sky in amazement.
“What do you think is going to happen now?”
“I think we’re gonna wake up tomorrow, and the moon will be up in the sky as it always has been.”
“What I’m trying to say is… I think we drank too much.”