In a short time, I'll be heading back, heart in hand, to Iceland.
We're going to visit dear friends, native Icelanders who were our former neighbors in Vermont. This time we're staying longer, we'll be doing some shopping and cooking for ourselves, biking daily to soak in the thermal pools at Laugardalur, and renting a car in order to take some day-long excursions near Reykjavik and a four day overnight trip along the southern coast of the island. I am totally excited, in spite of the fact that it's already cold there, and will no doubt be raining and wretched part of the time. That's Iceland, and it's OK.
Back when we used to downhill ski, I loved being on mountain summits and ridgelines during all kinds of weather: the aliveness of nature becomes awareness of your own aliveness, which then transcends our usual sense of separateness from the world we not only inhabit, but of which we are an intrinsic part. The encounter with nature's power, strangeness, and unpredictability grants us permission to accept our own. I have no desire to push the limits of safety or sanity: the sea, in particular, is a force that I respect and fear. We will see volcanoes, waterfalls, and glaciers -- from a safe distance. But I've never felt closer to creation than in Iceland, where it is happening all the time, in a raw and primal way unknown to most of us who have spent our lives in far older, worn, and docile landscapes. I've wanted to go back ever since our plane lifted off the lava fields of Keflavik and flew over the glaciers and icebergs of Greenland, almost incomprehensibly returning my changed self to the highways and cities of the urban northeast, and the tree-covered mountains of New England.
Iceland gave me the inspiration to draw again: the four years since our trip in the fall of 2011 have been the most fruitful and productive artistic period of my life, as well as propelling me on an inner journey where I've thought about creation and creativity in entirely new ways. I'm returning with anticipation but without specific expectations, hoping to be as porous as possible to whatever I encounter.
I may be posting here during the trip, but I'm not sure about internet access. I will not be on FB, and will not be crossposting there; if you'd like to see photographs from time to time, please follow my feed on Instagram.