Early Rejser: Exorcising the ghost summer of 2017

There’s always the sun. Although it feels like years since it’s been here. Two to be exact.

Perhaps I’m squinting back at May 2016, my first month in Copenhagen, through rose-tinted sunglasses, but my vision is filled with blue skies and sunshine. From dawn till dusk they shone upon the long, naked limbs of the planet’s happiest people as I slowly found my tanned, flip-flopped feet in the city.

Encouraged by this warm welcome I soon swapped those flip-flops for running shoes and joined the scores of people running circles around Søerne.

I ran just one circle at first, not yet ready to abandon my lifelong commitment to giving up when things get tough. But I endured like the pleasant weather, and as the weeks went by I found myself going further and further before I quit.

Running on solar power
May melted into summer, summer cooled into autumn, and at the end of September I ran the Copenhagen Half Marathon. The following day I signed up for a 50-mile ultramarathon.

Then winter came, with its short dark days, and I found myself running less and less. I’d made enough hay while the sun shone to complete the 50-miler, but once that was done my running went no further while I waited for the sun’s return. It never came.

As I scowl back at last summer now, all I see is a grey smudge where it should be. And between a summer that never was and a winter that would never end, I found little time for running.

March and April were spring in name alone, and I was in danger of being an ‘early rejser’ in column name only. Then May arrived. Winter’s long, dark reign was over, and I was waking to blue skies and sunshine again. How much harder now to push the snooze button, how much easier to pull my running shoes on.

With each day I expected the return of worse weather, but the sunshine and blue skies were here to stay. Even that first May pales next to this one. And while a sunny May does not a summer make, I am counting on it doing just that. After such a long winter I need all the warmth such false hope provides.

Ignorance is bliss
I wish I could say my Danish from that first May pales next to my Danish of today, but it’s rather hard to tell them apart. The biggest difference is I now go around with my ears open. I have abandoned actively trying to speak the language in favour of passively listening to it. I can now drop my eaves like the Danes drop their consonants, but fear not, Danes, your secrets are safe. I hear, but I do not understand, and this may be a blessing for both of us.

While eavesdropping in a bar last week, and trying to determine what the words either side of ‘sommer’ might mean, my attention was stolen by two Englishmen.

The recent heat must have got to one of them, for he was passionately calling for Denmark to abandon its ‘misguided’ renewable energy policies so that global warming could take its course and we could all enjoy such weather more often.

A popular excuse for not learning Danish is that the Danes understand English. My excuse is that I don’t want to understand the Danes. It’s only when you understand everything that you remember what bliss ignorance is.

So I don’t need to know that this summer won’t shine like May. Until it pisses on the parade, I’m happy thinking we’re in for more of the same.