Tag Archives: Beauty

Shipwrecked in the Beauty of the Northern Sun

As the sun sets over the Skagafjörður and the peninsular pillar of Þorðarhöfði, the waves bring it onto the black sand beach of Gardssanður with a promise of dawn.

And not just of dawn but of eternity. Maybe it’s not definable otherwise, but it sure is here: Eilíifð, roughly translated as “eternity,” better as the “living on”, in the sense of survivors (such as settlers in Iceland, in the midst of such a sea.) Such is the haunting pleasure of islands.

Beauty and Loss: Finding Iceland

So many Icelandic men of my father’s generation thought they could stay on the land if they built a nice concrete house to keep their families out of the wind, but they did it the Icelandic way, with salt beach sand, and it fell apart.

Women still come, as the snagged necklet of clear glass beads and fishing line below shows, but, as the snag shows, they leave without these baubles, too.

And that is one of the forces that powers the world.



Preparation is All

Everything catches your eye. The world is not what we expect but what we answer when it calls to us. The two gestures are the same. Preparation is all, even if you don’t know the preparation you have done. When I first travelled to Iceland, we were given an itinerary and sent on our way, and, being curious and easily wowed, kept stopping the car and being late for dinner.

Now I understand that if we hadn’t wanted to be caught, and if we hadn’t been ready to be caught, we would have driven on, and made dinner. Because we stopped, I saw into the heart of the world, and have written two books and am deep into two other manuscripts. And still that lamb dinner calls!