Wednesday, November 1, 2017


A few days ago I blogged about giving my son rides up and back to/from Montreal so that he could fly to Cincinnati to see his mother.  On the way up to catch an early morning flight we found ourselves driving through the middle of nowhere as the sun was just coming up.  I asked him, "OK, what am I thinking of right now?"  He smiled, sleepily, and said, "Just before noon on our first day in Iceland," which, obviously, is exactly what I was thinking about. This led us to a discussion of the trip, and how much we both wanted to go back, but especially that first day.  We had flown into Reykjavik early and rented a car and then began the long, dark drive north along the western coast.  The sun just refused to even think about coming up as we passed from (in our mind) pre-dawn to (again, in our mind) dawn to early morning to mid-morning, and until we were closing in out noon and the sun finally, with little enthusiasm, climbed above the horizon.  It seems like we had come to the ends of the earth, a feeling that repeated itself several times that week.  By the time we reached Holmavik, our base for the first two days, the sun was as high as it was going to get, and already arcing downward.  The wind was howling in off the ocean, and when we drove up above the city to catch a view of the whole town the gale was just about strong enough to life me off the ground (and I'm not particularly liftable).  It was extraordinary and, hopefully, unforgettable.  We just found ourselves talking about these sturdy people clinging to a hard-fought existence. Reflecting back on it, I find that I blog so much because I'm also clinging to memory (which also doubtless explains my fascination with Proust).  I was swapping emails with one of the parents of one of the students on one of my travel courses who asked if she could meet us at the airport to see her son because we took off.  Of course, I told her yes, and in the process told her that as our kids gets older it seems like an increasing amount of the our time with them is stolen moments.  One of the things that made the Iceland trip so magical for me was that it was an entire stolen week with my son.  As I often opine, I think I mainly blog for myself and my own memory, as I fight against the gale of time and forgetfulness.

The little town of Holmavik, which we liked very much.  I'd love to go back there in the summer, although from what we here it it pretty bustling with a couple hundred people visiting the Witchcraft Museum every day.  I'm happy that they have the business, but there was something extraordinary about being there in the quiet mid-winter.

A view from a church parking lot looking out towards the ocean, and in the face of the howling wind.

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