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Icelandic Tidings

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Icelandic Tidings

Icelandic Tidings

STROKKUR
- Geyser which blows every 8-10 minutes up till a height of 35 meter.

First flight. Sitting in an iron bird the world unfolded beneath me. No borders, only colors. A while ago I was dressed up in white silk, my hand stuffed with roses to share my vow and to give my word. "Yes, I do", "Yes" to my future. We would stick together forever sucking the honey out of life. My first landing was on a moon which was called "Iceland". Big lava-lumps as crumps spread out in the landscape. Clear air tickled my longs. Mud pools and little geysers were brought to their boiling point by the magma in the earth. Too bad one of the strongest geysers in the world nicknamed "Old faithful" had rested his soul and pulled himself back in a deep blue puddle in which each tourist stared with light hope. Luckily, nearby Strokkur reached his boiling point every few minutes and with wild roars he raised his water high above us against the blue skies. Explosions of happiness. This must be life, I thought. Clear, predictable, elated.

You think you know everything, you think you can reach anything in the strength of your youthfulness. Laughing, feeling that you play the game. With an obedient body conquering the future up until the cloudless horizon. The journey to this special place fitted in this picture.
Forces of nature where not unknown to me. Born in the Dutch clay I knew my master. The sea showed me storms, tidal waves and undercurrents.
Sand castles in my childhood could never resist the rising tide.
But the clay sucked me down too much, I wanted to reach further and higher, to see which grounds the earth had to offer, to see where the boundaries were. Iceland became a new start. "Is this happiness?", I asked. Strokkur spitted his answer high into the sky. But before I could hear it, the wind had taken it away. What was left was the scent of Sulphur hanging in the sky.
Was this to be taken as an answer?

THINGVELLIR
- Valley which is lying exactly on the spot where the European and North-American continent are drifting apart.

What a magical place, where continents want to separate, to tear themselves loose, even with big seismographic violence. Wavering I walked through the deep gorge in the earth. Next to me a destroyed bridge, the ground had sunk, the other side was suddenly unreachable. I found myself on the cutting edge. No better scenery for receiving the message: "I go on without you, I have found another one, a man." Now I understood why "you" and "I" never became "we". Why you had sent me alone to Iceland to get a good rest.

All of my dreams were shattered. A while before my health was torn to shreds. MS it was called. When subjected to a regime of daily injections, healthy food and plenty of exercise, the destroying forces in my body had retreated. Now I had this big goodbye which came on top of it.

Friends in Reykjavik proved to be secure, full of love and compassion. The ashes of my sacred marriage had to be spilled, I gave my ring back to heaven. A Japanese guy passing by entered the house and understood my silent sorrow. He laid his sleeping bag on the floor and asked me to lie down. Carefully his heel and toes rubbed each vertebral according the Eastern tradition. All stress and tears searched their way in Icelandic ground. "What do you love?”, he asked. "The sea", I answered. "Listen to the sea, she will teach you".
And that is what happened. Long walks on the beach brought me back to the core and opened my hand for the future. "Is this happiness?”, I asked. But a new wave had washed away the answer.

FIMMVÖRDUHÀLS
- Mountain pass, lying between two active volcanos, Eyjafjallajökull and Katla, where an eruption took place and where the lava reached high into the sky.

The days went by. A cozy house, a blooming garden and lovely faces on the back door. On empty evenings I cooked a meal of three courses, poured a glass of wine, lighted candles and let myself drift away on the violin concertos of Bach. Perfectly happy, I had become my own best friend. But......

You came. All of a sudden. "What are we going to do?” I asked. "Iceland", you answered. This time not the paved paths. Our journey started with overwhelming sun, climbing from waterfall to source, the smell of herbs from beneath our hiking shoes. Freedom, our whole life in a bagpack.

You have to experience the versatility of the weather in Iceland to believe it. From the clear skies a snowstorm avalanched upon us, without caring one moment that this had to be a beautiful day in July. Absorbed by the cloud, unreachable, far from the civilized world we continued our journey. Wind gusts force ten pulled on our bagpacks and disturbed the balance, snow and hail battered the skin. In a mist of fear we reached "Kattarrhyggir" (cat's spine), the famous ridge of less than one yard in breadth with on both side deep abysses. Spots where we had to cling to chains to prevent plummeting in the depths below us. Walking became surviving, surviving became conquering when hours later the hut of Básar came into sight. Fire, tea, rest, so little were our wishes.

We should have left it at that, but you and I travelled further. A few days later an ice cave collapsed, while we stupid as we were, stand at the entrance, hiding for the heavy rain. The heavy ice roof of hundreds of pounds of frozen water, dropped just inches from us. One minute earlier, one yard further, those thoughts hunted me in the nights afterwards. But one thing was clear: with you I'll grow old. We overwrote the past with new memories. That night the wind howled around the hut. I had nothing left to ask, did not need answers and closed the window.

- Thisbe

Thisbe van Leeuwen