Iceland #1

I didn’t blog for our Africa, Japan and cross country trips.  I wished I had.  So, here I go again. 

ICE SAR (Iceland Search and Rescue) was our first foray into training non-NA WMA instructors.  That it has been modestly successful is a source of great pride for me.  They have offered encouragement and a model for doing business in other countries.  It is because of this and the friendliness of the people here that it is always a treat to come back.

As you may know, I have gotten a device that will allow you to see where I am.  Well actually, it is a house arrest device that allows my parole officer to keep an eye on me.  It is a part of my life that I was reluctant to divulge but the secret is out since Vantuil blew my cover.  Log on as I suggested previously and use the password (maine2georgia).  You will see my current location with a + below and to the R.  Clicking on that will show my entire cookie trail.

The trip itself was uneventful.  I was stuck at JFK for 6 hours.  In the late afternoon I went out for a walk in the sun (you will see why later) and to gain access to open sky for the locator.  At one point, I was approached by JFK security while I sat on the concrete at one end of a traffic island, leaning against a sign post reading my Kindle.  (A scene fitting of Grandfather J.  All I needed was a bag lunch)  The officer was, I suppose, appropriately interested, especially after he noted the stubby antenna of the locator peeking out of my back pack, indicator lights flashing.  Apparently I gave him a plausible explanation.  He sent back to the terminal and suggested I not allow the police to catch me doing the same thing.

The flight was a flight.  No meals were provided so I ate before boarding.  Considering airline food, that is not a bad idea.  After a perfunctory passport check with no questions, I collected my bags and waited for Einar. 

The trip for Keflavik was remarkable for the fact that there was actually blue sky.  In my 4 prior trips, it has always rained or snowed, often with a bluster wind.  In fact, the whole day was sunny.  Einar, Armand (Muncey) and I spent the better part of it in Salfoss talking about curriculum and what they have been up to.  As a surprise, they arranged a flight for me over the S coast and Westman Islands, where both grew up.  This cluster of islands (too small and close to be an archipelago) is part of a volcanic uprising with several obvious, small craters.  The main island supports a year around population of 2400.  This is the tropics of Iceland.  Crops other than grass for cows grows here, even, allegedly the other kind.

As is typical of N Atlantic coastal weather, clouds and fog rolled in cutting things a bit short.  All in all, however, it was really wonderful.  Iceland is one of those places whose beauty is in part highlighted by its subtlety and sometimes starkness.  This was even more apparent today.  The flat coastal plains actually had some interesting bumps and accretions to provide some geography.  There were irrigated fields that were more trapezoidal than rectangular with prior plow furrows outlined by the snow.  Most interesting were the streams and creeks that wended, serpentine-like to the ocean.  It was like looking at an Andy Goldsworthy piece of art, like the poster for the movie Rivers and Tides.  From the air, the clouds and fog looked like a gathering dust storm right out of Lawrence of Arabia, converging on us from both sides.  Our pilot was able to read it all well, maneuvering to get a good look and then landing before we were caught. 

At the end of the day we headed W back to Reykjavik as the sun was dropping behind the mountains.  I was treated to a most beautiful study of gray-scale lighting.  The mountains had horizontal striations, layered irregularly with white snow and shadow-casting boulders.  The effect was what seemed to be a complete spectrum of white to black with more shades of gray than were possible…but there they were.  I wanted to stare but at the same time see everything at once as the shades changed and the contours morphed as we moved forward, the sun falling further behind the mountains.

I know the source of my genes.

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