This non-committal summer

The seasons in Delhi live inside a neatly organized chest of drawers. Summers get three drawers. Winters one. Spring and monsoons get a small drawer each. In The Netherlands, the seasons’ chest of drawers is differently proportioned and not very neatly organized. It’s as if it belongs to a careless bachelor. A crumpled shirt turns up in the same drawer as the underpants and the vests turn up with the socks. The numbers on the weather forecast gadget for this week could have been randomly generated:

Is it telling the truth?Is it telling the truth?

When we came here in April, spring was well on its way out. It’s almost July and the warm and long summers we were anticipating haven’t materialized.

A view of the Rijksmuseum from my office’s 5th floor windowA view of the Rijksmuseum from my office’s 5th floor window

On some days I’ve been lured outside without a jacket by the bright sun and I’ve regretted my folly on almost all of those days. The double-glazed, rubber-sealed windows keep all the warmth in, making it impossible to tell the weather outside. I now rely on the weather websites ( 15ºC < temp forecast < 20ºC = carry a fleece jacket ) and a look at the people cycling to work early in the morning to judge how I should dress.

The last two days here were very warm. Temperatures of 32ºC at 6:00 PM feel completely out of place in western Europe. There might be no powercuts here, but there are no fans in the houses either. That, and the proclivity of the architecture to preserve every single degree Celsius worth of warmth, make you realize why every religion imagines Hell to be a very hot place.

Yesterday a big thunderstorm in Amsterdam brought the temperatures back into their teens. Rain fell in opaque sheets and the lightning kept dancing like a whirling dervish. Against this frightening yet beautiful backdrop, ships continued to sail calmly in the IJ before our house:

A thunderstorm in AmsterdamA thunderstorm in Amsterdam

May is long gone, but may this non-committal summer linger on.

June 30, 2011