Mostly, I wanted to tell you about the light.
About how, on my last day in London, it glistened on the River Thames, making everything seem sepia-toned. Making us all nostalgic for events even as they were happening.
Is there a term for that?
I went back to the Tate Modern’s Rothko room, where I had spent so many hours so many months prior. A friend of mine commented on the quiet that surrounded us when we walked in, and I spoke of waiting there back in late October; of how I took solace from the hushed tones and subdued images. Being back was like revisiting a favorite book. The plot the same but my reading different, colored by the intervening time, because I had been.
It felt good to return and even to be leaving since it was on my own terms this time. Even so, it was far too soon. But, I was off.
When we arrived in Reykjavik, it past midnight and looked like it was barely dusk—midnight sun and all that.
Again it comes down to the light.
If I could write the way that J.M. Turner painted, I would conjure up images of clear skies and endless open vistas and tell of how the days seemed long in all the right ways; satisfying and tiring and filled with exploration.
Instead, I’m stuck with the same hackneyed phrases and a new found appreciation for Monet’s haystacks, which previously stuck me as pointless and, frankly, evidence of his failing eyesight. I think that, at last, I understand the appeal. When we were standing atop the first lookout point at Þingvellir National Park, my friend Mike commented on the radiance around us. It was, he said, the sort of thing that none of us would have taken notice of when we were younger. So, it seems, we’ve all grown.
On that first night in the city, we four were determined to stay up to watch the rising sun. The hours passed until it was just me and Ben, the ice cubes slowly melting in our drinks, making the bouquet more and more fragrant. I thought then about how the last time we had done this was the weekend of his wedding, sitting beside a roaring fire in the Scottish Fall, the air charged with the excitement of things about to unfold. I thought, too, of how it took me being stuck in London to want to return so desperately.
We missed the sunrise by all of a quarter hour. In the end, it didn’t really matter; it had never really set.