Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Serene and exotic need to be applied to Iceland. Serene might be a harder sell if you have had to fend off the harsh winds that buffet the place on a regular basis, and if you are preoccupied with the volcanoes that are far less active than the media have made them out to be over the last year or so.

It is quite easy to find a place to hide yourself away somewhere of the beat trail. The fact is that the beaten trail - if you are talking about the single lane highway that rings the country, for instance - is that it doesn't take too much to get away from civilization and contemplate the calming patina of a moss covered lava field an ash desert or the lapping of the waves on the shores of the island.

Much of what I've seen here reminds me of the granite shores of Nova Scotia or the Canadian Arctic. The geology is different of course, but the solitude with the elements that you can so easily find here is so easy a place to find some peace and let your mind wander to greater questions or greater throbs in the passage of time than the ticking of your watching or the turning of the day (something that seems almost optional here at the moment.) When the resilient layer of moss envelopes everything from where you are to the horizon and beneath it and the hardened lava notions of what lives and routines existed below it a mere 200-odd years before and to be reminded that on geological terms this is all so young and to wonder what archaeologists might find if they ever find away or reason to dig below to find out what people did on this same spot once upon a time... It is a small miracle that our thoughts can find such contemplation and caught up in the space.

The bus tours were sufficient during our time here, but it doesn't take much to conclude that the next trip ought to be done by car. The bus tours still insist on stopping at the obvious landmarks that are eye catching anywhere: waterfalls, volcanoes, glacial lagoons. (Okay two out of three.) Even as it was it is a little hard to engage the interest of sullen teenagers. I'm sure that they would rather have the house and a supply of frozen pizzas for the two weeks or would sell it as a much more exciting or seismically unstable locale if they had the opportunity.

My trip has been too short and too quick. There is much more that I'd like to take in next time around.