Our shadows cast a perfect image with the low noonday sun: two aliens lost in a moonscape of black craters and steaming vents.
I had anticipated and waited and hoped and dreamed about Iceland - the first leg of our one year journey - but I might just as well have thrown all of my preconceived notions out the airplane window, because Iceland was a world away from my ideas. Lovely and lonely. Desolate and teeming with life. Absolutely ravaged by harsh winds. Sideways rain and rainbows.
We were pushed to our outer bodily limits while we made our living in a tiny crappy car during the cold and darkening month of October. I thought often of David Bowie's song Major Tom. Here I was, floating around the island in a tin can with no real plans, nothing to do, cast off from the life we left behind. That song speaks to me of courage, as it takes courage to leap out into the void of the unknown, to decide to break free from the familiar.
. . .
We were floating among the stars on the clear nights.
. . .
.. THE SMALL WONDERS OF ICELAND ..
The smell of the ocean.
Grainy black sands that stick to shoes, cars, minds.
Tumbled lava fields overgrown with a dense layer of 200 year old moss
Tiny churches, purposing only four or five houses.
Moonscapes on mountain passes with red grasses and no fences, waterfalls and no people, and in the middle of it all: two swans.
Brightly coloured boats.
Fisherman waking us at 5am by whistling on their way to work.
Jutting headlands of basalt columns, their full stops tumbling into the sea.
Steam arising from the earth, caught in the early morning sun, sheep sitting over the hot spots.
An island forming and reforming in front of our eyes.
A girl riding a horse on a lonely gravel path says hello.
Fog so thick you could cut it with a butter knife.
Ribbon-like paths leading to nowhere through grasslands, making you think the elves had made them.
A gang of young boys who know all the English swear words.
Old ladies at the local hot tubs, who gather to gossip. Old guys at the local hot tubs, who spend half their time in the ice bath.
The mist and spray of a waterfall on my cheek.
Small-legged horses with thick wooly coats, who are so friendly they might stand in the road and lick your windscreen if you'd let them. Which we did.
Blue crater pools.
Walking on the lip of a blown-out volcano.
Watching the Northern Lights dance right above our heads, hands clasped, laying on our backs, on a small, lonely mountain top.
A shower faucet in the middle of nowhere - indicating some nearby hidden hot spring.
Furry turf houses.
Magical abandoned turf villages.
A teensy pea-green cabin that, if you flick a switch, will use solar power to dispense food and drinks.
Geese laying on the road.
Mushrooms sprouting from the undergrowth.
Wind so strong, one can lean into it and stay upright.
A long talk with a brilliant artist, who had a dusty cluttered workshop, and a sharp mind.
Gathering late season bilberries.
A cave framed by gull's nests.
The plunk of a stone thrown into a still lagoon on a foggy morning.
Spotted seals watching walkers.
Those rare clear nights: full of a billion stars.
Blue light filtering into a glacier cave through the crystal clear ice, which formed over a thousand years.
Quiet and repose - a village scene at 7pm - when all persons are safely tucked away inside.
Searching the countryside for the Hidden Folk. Climbing elf rocks, under dwarf churches and along the coast looking for trolls.
Those hour-long stretches of roadway that bear no signs of humanity; as if the road were placed down upon a prehistoric landscape.
That feeling of champagne-fizz-excitement after glimpsing the lights of Reykjavik again in the distance...