Monday, September 04, 2023

The Edge of Heaven

 "I am the speeding spark of light
flung by God from the forge of Chaos.
I soar on wings swifter than wind
above the paths of the pulsing stars.
Suddenly, something comes swiftly toward me
through empty night — an image that speaks:
"Stay, oh traveler tired with flight!
Tell me, wanderer — what are you seeking?

My way leads on to the worlds you come from!
My flight is destined to those distant shores,
that far frontier and final reach
of created things: — the edge of heaven.

Cease your search, sojourner! end your
futile wandering through wastes of ether!
Know that ahead of you lie nothing
but infinite tracts of endlessness.
"Behind me, too, lie torrents of stars
and infinite, empty endlessness."

Oh eagle-mounting imagination!
Cease your soaring, descend to earth!
Oh swift voyager, venturesome poet:
tired of creating, cast your anchor here!"

- Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807 - 1845)
The Vastness of the Universe

This remarkable panorama - well, the actual Icelandic vista, if not my image, which hardly does justice to the preternatural play of shapes, light, and color! - was captured toward the end of our first full day of sightseeing as we were making out way back to our rental house along the southern shore of the Snaefellsnes peninsula. While Iceland certainly has its fair share of grey misty (and often heavily rain sodden) days, it is mostly - quintessentially - a mysterious amalgam of drab coolness and sensual warmth; a fractal superposition of black ("svartur") volcanic shades mixed with effervescent blues ("blár"), yellows ("gulur"), and orange ('Appelsínugulur") tones. And, as is true of all the world's best landscapes, the character and moods change far faster than one can possibly react (or hope to do justice) to with even the quickest "clicks" of the shutter. As I kept telling my wife throughout our trip and afterwards, it was a sincere privilege to call Iceland home during our two weeks there. Truly, we felt on the edge of heaven 😊

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