This is an important photograph.
I moved to Copenhagen 15 years ago. It was February. At the beginning of April I was to meet a good friend at a café. He was late. When he arrived he was dizzy, with a goofy smile all over his face. He immediately told me that he saw his first pair of bare legs that year. On the City Hall Square. It was a 20 minute walk from the Square to the café and I suspect he grinned the whole way, and the rest of the day.
This proved to be an important way for me to decide when spring has finally arrived in this Nordic capital, after six months of hibernation. When the cafés along Nyhavn, the postcard picturesque canal in the city centre put out their tables and chairs in front of their businesses, you can bet that spring is right around the corner. It actually gets covered on the national news as the first sign of spring.
Then there is the light. The days get longer and when we put our clocks forward at the end of March, everybody comments on the extra light each day. Giddy. Happy. Even it it's overcast.
But every year since 1994 I've dutifully recorded my own personal sure sign of spring and many of my friends, not to mention Wifealiciousness, now all relay their personal sightings to each other. Last year, Wifealiciousness spotted her first pair before I did. I beat her to it this year.
There are rules to this game:
1. The bare legs must be spotted in daylight. Nighttime doesn't count since so many women go out on the weekends with legs bared in the winter, even if it's sub-zero.
2. The bare legs must be bare. No stockings.
3. The bare legs have to appeal to your own sense of aesthetics. You can reject a pair if you don't fancy them.
Yesterday, this Copenhagener rolled past in the afternoon light and in
one sweeping, elegant moment in which time stood still, Spring 2009
had arrived for me.