I’m only a few days into my trip around Iceland, but I’m already overwhelmed with stories and images and relationships. I suspect the good company I’m keeping has something to do with it.
But there was a moment a few nights ago. We were cruising along the highway in the south, somewhere around Vatnajokull, searching for the glacial lagoon. I noticed the sun setting over the mountains in the distance. The highway in Iceland is thin and isolated, not allowing for much opportunity to pull off the road.
Finally, we came to an empty parking area and I leapt out of our camper. I was desperate to capture the last hues of sunset, and started running a mad dash over the hill towards the mountains. Shaun soon overtook me, being the marathon racer he is, and pulled to the lead while I shouted terms of endearment at his shoulders (“Jerkface!”). He brought up short, and shouted a string of expletives.
We had unknowingly found Glacier Bay at the most opportune time a person could hope for. The mountains were snow-capped, the glacier loomed before us, and the water was so still, its surface reflected the oranges and pinks of the sun like blades of fire. In front of us lay thousands of scattered icebergs, some translucent in their purity.
I’d never seen anything like it. I’ve written about the silence and wisdom of ancient ‘bergs that have seen a great deal in their lifetime as they drift down from Greenland along Iceberg Alley, and there I was faced with thousands of bergy bits.
Every now and then a force nudges me away from the edge, turns me towards the world and justifies everything I do – no matter how poor I am, how discouraged, how tired, how lonely. The world is wonderful. Just keep going.