I'm not sure why it is that I can spend many hours gazing off into space nowadays, thinking of nothing important at all. Afterwards, if you asked me, I wouldn't even know what had been playing in my mind. Perhaps nothing, or perhaps something at a very slow speed. At first I had blamed it on the cold. It dazed me somehow. Now I think it's not that--just laziness or contentment.
Chris and I have begun hitchhiking. It's always tourists who've picked us up so far--maybe it's only tourists who come out this way. A German couple, a French couple, an American girl from Alaska. The talk is cheerful and always the same. Luckily we're a semi-interesting story in these parts where almost everyone is just on vacation. Alaska girl (Sara) said it's colder here in Iceland than it is in Alaska right now. We laughed at that for a bit, but inwardly I sighed. Cold can be funny if you don't still have two weeks of camping and hiking in it left.
We're in the north now. Just a little bit further and there would be the Arctic Ocean. Our bus meandered up the east fjords this morning, and it was a marvelous feeling to go from thick drizzle to sunshine and sea, everything looking so clean and large and our bodies warm, finally, from being "indoors," if only temporarily.
Many murals in the towns of Iceland
But that was short-lived. The bus dumped us at the Dettifoss intersection, and it felt like the middle of nowhere on the moon. Just black sand and dust and low rocks and a relentless wind blowing it all into your eyes. My skin is so dry that some patches look white. I've been looking toward this hike with more than a little bit of trepidation for some time now. Outside the two major waterfalls it feels deserted here, not even a bird bothers to visit. It should be the last physically challenging part of the most physically challenging part of our trip. So if I can just get through it. But then it feels absurd: why am I bothering to do something that causes all this dread? Other people who drive their sturdy metal boxes around and who sometimes stop for us, they speak of their hostels, and my heart leaps in envy. Hostels! What luxury!
Our favorite cheese
Oh for shame, for shame. Ungrateful little thing. We've a cozy little tent, have we not? Though it's true that lately it's been showing signs of wear. A tear here and there, and the zippers don't zip properly anymore. And haven't we been eating well? I sit like a princess, staring at nothing, while Chris tries to boil water in the wind using our little stove. He comes in breathless but not grumpy as I would be. Stop your moaning, Robbie would say. "Moaning" sounds like just the right word because "complaining" doesn't quite capture the shuddering soul aspect of the noises that issue from me, or that I want to issue. I try not to spiral into negativity as I know this would sadden Chris. And anyway we are having a good time if we can both laugh together about it. So we laugh (a bit nervously).
Dettifoss itself. For scale, the little colorful dots near the center of the photo are people.