Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Ending at the Beginning

Posted from Arnarstapi, Iceland at 12:45 am, July 10th, 2008

The trip is coming to a close in a pretty cool way – it’s nearly one in the morning and the skies are totally clear, allowing the twilight to cover the land. For about two hours the sun has been hovering around the horizon and the world has turned purple – if sleepiness doesn’t get too extreme I’d like to stay up all night to fully savor this midnight sun experience.

Here’s the day’s summary: I unintentionally slept late again, waking up at 9:30 under clear skies. It took about four hours of steady driving to reach the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and after a traditional Icelandic hot dog lunch the Wondermobile started the journey around the western edge of the peninsula. Given the clear weather the landscape was fully visible and it’s a beautiful place, with the Snaefellsjokull icecap (gateway to Jules Verne’s center of the earth) dominating the scenery. I made a stop at a bird cliff set amidst old lava flows at the peninsula’s western end, then headed up a four-wheel-drive-only track towards the icecap. From the high vantage point I got to watch the fog enveloping the peninsula’s end before I headed southeast towards Hellnar and Arnarstapi, site of the trip’s beginning.

I arrived in Hellnar at 10:00 PM, which in recent days has been when the light disappeared, and set off hiking without the camera. Of course on this night the world turned purple, kittwakes were feeding their fluffy white chicks, and the trip’s second Arctic fox showed up. It was tough to be upset over the lack of photos, however, especially since the odds are that I would have botched the pictures and it was nice to utterly relax amidst the scenery. Additionally, the symmetry of ending where things began is nice as it gives some insight on what effect the trip has had – for example, I’m noticing small details that I would have missed four weeks ago, and feel more willing to slow down and let the world unfold around me. Modern life makes both of those experiences difficult to accommodate, and as much as having a bed and a shower sounds nice it will be a shame to revert back to old ways.

Northern Fulmar

Northern fulmar. Flying.

2 responses to “Ending at the Beginning”

    1. you are too kind, sir. can i also spend a couple of hours each day stalking co-workers so that i can get close enough to take photos of them? i’m getting pretty good at it, so they shouldn’t be too bothered by it – you should see the bird pictures i got yesterday, it was like they didn’t even know i was there.

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