Light tells its own stories in Þingvellir. We are here to witness. It’s no surprise the Icelanders first called Christ “White Christ.” He was the north, that place from beyond the world. Who nonetheless came, physically, as this Earth, in a harsh and beautiful mercy.
The Hraunfosser, or the lava field falls, are really worth the visit, even in winter.
Even in the snow!
Sure, you can lose important stuff in the snow, because you have to negotiate snacks, camera, wallet, hat, gloves, snow, and slippery paths. Here I am after running across the bridge looking for likely nice people and finding them. Look how she takes charge. He should keep her close, I think. (It was my wife who found the wallet and sent me on my sprint across the icy bridge with no people in sight.)
This Russian-French (?) couple was happy to get his passport and all his money back. He didn’t even know he’d lost it when he put on his gloves back before the bridge.
Note how I keep my stuff in a little daypack now. Can you tell it’s a been-there-done-that situation?
Just another day in Iceland! I hope they’re doing well. Meanwhile, back to the light. What there is of it!
Well, it’s freezing in Hallormstaðir, and the Lagarfljót isn’t, shall we say, a great place for swimming today, but while the weather stations are warning of heavy snow and ice ahead, let’s remember the ice of April, as it breaks on the shore with the music of a flock of 100,000 tiny birds. The ice is the birds, as it shatters and lifts, and refreezes and tilts and falls, and washes in on the waves, all written with the record of a year.
What wondrous runes telling of every moment the winter through.
It’s beginning now. If you go down to the lake, you might catch the first words, but do stay safe on those slick roads.
And if you can’t, well, there’s April, when the ice plays its recording, just once, in birdsong.
In North America, we look East to see light sweep away darkness.
Not so in Iceland. There it daily sweeps away the inhuman world and makes the world safe for human life… precariously. Darkness, as the church and the fenceposts show, is a more inner thing, not without but within.