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There is something sparingly beautiful about this flat, rocky land, smothered today by a thick, lumpy blanket of low clouds. Everything I think I can't stand--the cold, the wind-blown grit that gets everywhere, sticks to your hands and face, penetrates your mouth and coats your teeth, the abysmal, desolate loneliness--all of these are borne by other people somewhere in the world, and that I experience it, too, is somehow a type of communion with them. Or with the sense of the solitary. Or with all solitude.

That distant roar is a mighty waterfall. You would never think it, in this dry, featureless land, that only meters away was a deeply-cut gorge and millions of gallons of angry, frothing water barreling through a day. Mighty. Here, nature or the gods or God or something that is not man is mighty. I am glad we did not just drive up in a car, take a few pictures, and leave. Even yesterday, walking through, I could not comprehend, was full of other things. Only now, not seeing it but hearing it and remembering, am I properly awed.

What is such a feeling worth? You can't say. I wish to, and then simply stand and receive. So if you can't pay for it, you can't even be certain to have it, how do you measure it? By others' reactions? But you can't share it, either. The most you can do is to talk about it vaguely and inadequately and hope to touch some spring in someone else that will answer forth in a gush.

* * *

No caption for these pictures because Chris took them on his hike while I stayed in the tent recovering from illness.


Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Iceland

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