When Gunnar was a boy at ValÞfjösstaður Farm, he was given a walnut for Christmas: one walnut. It was an unimaginable gift of wealth. He ate the nut, and with the one half intact shell, he made a boat and set into the stream, the ValÞfjösstaðurá, that flowed off the Ogre’s Stairway above the farm, and chased along beside as it went. Out of that walnut, he dreamed of ships crossing the sea, and of leaving isolation to be a full citizen of the greater world. He did, and then he came home, and then he went to Reykjavik. He’s buried now on Viðey, the holy island in Old Reykjavik Harbour. I tried to bring him a stone from home four years ago, but it was late in the year and the ferry wasn’t running. I promised to come back. I did, just last fall. I brought him a gift from across the sea.
Do you see the walnut shell there, for his travels? Fare well, dear Gunnar, on whatever seas bear you.
It comes over the mountains from the glaciers, who draw it from the sky and send it back to the sea as an image of themselves.
November 5, 2016, Viðey
It comes as a flood. It comes in a fog river many kilometres in width. It doesn’t come from the Atlantic. That is Caribbean water out there. Up in the sky, well, that is a far different thing. That is not this world at all.