Humans travel by the millions to Iceland every year, to stand at the edge of the Earth and look into the abyss.
The Last of the Glaciers Melts in the Jökulsárlón
Notice how it looks back without blinking.
Iceland is renowned for being barren of trees. This popular image of Kirkjufell, for instance, shows this characteristic of the country well.
See? No trees. Here is is again:
Got that? Horses, but no trees. Trouble is, it’s a plot. Iceland has forests galore. That you don’t see them is just plain weird, because, well, look:
Looks good, right? So the next time, you see this…
…just realize you’ve been put into a script. The Icelanders hang out in the trees.
When you turn off onto Road 5001 at the head of the Havalfjörður to visit the high waterfall Glymur, make note of the gravel parking area to your left. When you come back soggy and disappointed that Glymur is unattainable because of bad weather and high water and muck, why not stop and hike a hundred metres up the stream to Paradisarfoss? She’s a pretty little one, with a fine little forest of wild birches. You need never be disappointed in Iceland.
By Icelandic standards, that’s a very good trail there.
Well worth the trip! And no, this was not sunset. And, yes, the sky was that pink. It was just November 5, that’s all, when a stroll through the rain is like a walk through laughter.
An hour later, over on Rauðanes, it gives a last splash…
And then darkens …
… and both deepens and thins at the same time …
Tungokollur over Borgarnes
… until the next morning when it begins again, later yet.
It’s a wonder every Icelander isn’t a painter.
In November, when sunrise and sunset colours continue in unbroken unfolding light from dawn, near 10 a.m., and dusk near 2 or 3 p.m., it comes so quickly that you can see it open and close through the spectrum, as if you are inside a film, a really, really wide-angle 4-D film.
Here is a fraction of a second of its wonder over the volcano in early November, as I walked through flaming heather and pink snow at þingvellir. I shot the image with two much sky to illustrate how unsettling it can be. One feels at times that one can fall right off the Earth and drown in air.