At first, dawn is pure light.
Then it reveals another world.
Then it turns blue. The other world is still there, but white now.
Then there are colours, and mountains, as the two worlds join.
When you count the houses built at þingvellir each time Iceland enacts a new constitution, that’s three worlds. Well, four if you count the ice.
You can be of two minds, at once. They are not in conflict. A forest full of quick life to take you there, through the web of your thoughts?
Or a forest of slow, enduring life, the cliff of ghosts that awaits and towers above you, your body given face as memory?
At Botnstjörn, the windless pond sheltered by birches deep in Ásbyrgi, you can be both at once. They are not in conflict.
Surrender, and feel yourself lose all weight.
First the beam, then the body, then the man. First the birch, and then the bone.
Like these birches in Hvalfjörður, we are not metaphors. We are all the original Huldufolk, the people of the earth. The lovely stories of elves are memories startling us awake out of sleep.
This is not a B&W image. This is the sun pooling on the earth. That’s liquid sun there.
It’s black pupil is Iceland. It is watching the night sky. People walk across the eye, this way and that. Some take boats across the sun. They drop lines and nets and pull up the fish of the moon. In Vík, on the South Coast, eternity is never far.
Here in Grundarfjörður, a horse trailer and a boat are both parked together in the harbour on an Autumn day. Fish and horses, eh. That’s the Icelandic way.
Does that not suggest that this country is a harbour, or a series of them? Are not both journeys, into the sea of the mountains or the sea of the waves, the same journey? And this third journey, up?
Life here is a shore.
It is a dangerous place of passage, a place of setting down, departure and return, and a place of harbour and shipwreck at once, but it is the only one there is. It is a tidal zone, for humans.
Here are some poems that the land wrote.
The land reads them, too.
Even the sun reads them.
It helps with the writing as well.
It is best to consider reading and writing as the same act.
They happen simultaneously.
You have the capacity to read along.
You could call it a map, if you like, for a voyage.
There and back again.
Now for a novel.