Iceland. A dynamic landscape of ash, ice and rock. After stepping off the plane you’ve basically just stepped into Game of Thrones. Cruising your way through the town of Vikings and of Elves and of Fairies. Mystical beings are waiting for you in cliff-side caves or the local supermarket. Iceland will enchant you. You will be dreaming of Iceland for many months after your stay – if you decide you want to leave.
The focus of today is ice. Glaciers dominate your vision as you stand on the flat plains looking up at the mountains. The mountains that have been formed millions of years before your existence, in a cataclysmic sensation of the Earth’s power. It is beyond what your imagination can fathom after reading a primary school textbook. Ice and snow smother these mountain ranges in pure white. It creates the illusion of an eternal winter. This can’t be real; where are the skyscrapers? The traffic? The metropolises we are so used to visiting? They are not here. This is nature’s natural beauty.Indefinitely, and it is beautiful. You will see many of these glaciers on your four hour car journey from Reykjavik to Jökulsárlón – the biggest glacier lagoon in southern Iceland. Glaciers will be your new favourite thing.
Jökulsárlón makes you wait. She or he (I cannot not logically place a gender on Jökulsárlón. Jökulsárlón can choose whatever it wants to be without judgement from us) makes you wait until the very last second of your four hour car journey from Reykjavik. You know that Jökulsárlón is there. Your satellite navigation system is telling you so, and they never lie. Yet you cannot see Jökulsárlón and you start to worry that your efforts have gone to waste. You start to get angry over lost time. All that you can see are mounds of grassy rock. No lagoon or water. You pull over as instructed by your tom-tom (other satellite navigation systems are also available) and step out of the car. Pebbles and small stones crunch under your feet as you slowly ascend the hill. Hoping. Praying that you will be rewarded once you reach the summit.
Your breath leaves you for just a moment. Your eyes grow wide, tears may also start to form. Silence follows. The only sound you will hear is the soft beat…beat…beat of your heart under your layers of jumpers. This is because you were not expecting it to be this exquisite. Don’t get me wrong I know you thought Jökulsárlón was going to be beautiful, you’ve seen the pictures, but now you are experiencing Jökulsárlón. It has stripped you bare – back to your primitive ancestry – roaming these hills. When you were naked, both in mind and body amongst the harsh landscape. When you were naïve to technology and narcissism and entitlement and privilege. It has invited you to try again at a relationship long lost. A relationship with Earth and it’s beautiful children. Jökulsárlón has reawakened you from slumber.
It’s blue waters are not a blue you have seen before. It is a blue that does not look real. It would not have a pantone number. It looks like the most delicious water on Earth but you know you must not drink, even though you are desperately thirsty. Ice glides gracefully across the surface, in shapes of swans and fairies and letters. It’s up to interpretation really, most of them just look like blocks of ice. Yet they are beautiful. You want to jump across the ice, deeper and deeper into the lagoon but you shouldn’t. The ice is slippery and you would fall in. There are ducks, yes ducks, the same ducks you would find in the pond at your local park. Yet for some reason that only higher powers can understand, these ducks are paddling in the effervescent waters of Jökulsárlón. Be kind to others in this life and you could be reincarnated as one of these ducks, instead of dirty pond ducks. You don’t want to be one of those ducks.
It is time to return to your bulky blanket and warm cocoa. You pass the familiar glaciers like old friends on the way back to your nest. You feel different. You have changed in this short journey. This day and this experience,
has allowed you to regain some kind of paradise