Tag Archives: Travels

Takk fyrir

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?

No matter.

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.

Þingvellir National Park

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.

osar

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Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

I’m traveling again.

Actually, that’s not quite true. Right now, I’m doing exactly what I do before any trip: anything but packing.

And, it occurs to me that I still haven’t told you about San Francisco. It’s feels so long ago that it hardly seems to matter. Except, of course, it was refreshing and relaxing and all of those things that I had hoped it would be, and I want to hold on to those experiences. Or, try my best to do so. A recurring theme here, or so it seems.

At the very least, I have photographs.

P4230052

And, stories of course. This seems to be the important thing.

This where I tell you that my favorite moment in San Francisco didn’t actually happen in San Francisco.

And once again, it involves food. Are you sensing a pattern here?

In my defense, I’ll simply say this: when it comes to voraciousness, I’m in good company.

So, when one of my companions mentioned that we were eating next door to Ad Hoc and did I know there was a shed in the back called Addendum that served Thomas Keller’s famous fried chicken, and what if we just snuck away from our lunch table for a moment to get some of it? I jumped at the chance. Put another way, we left our first lunch, to get the second. Gluttonous, yes, but isn’t that the point?

Maybe it’s simply about taking the time to savor things. A drawn out meal (or, two on that day). Or a walk through the middle of a city with only the faintest idea of a schedule or direction and hoping you don’t end up in the bad part of town. Or, even if you do, getting the perfect shot before you get out of there as quickly as you can.

Tonight, it’s about packing slowly and attempting to enjoy the process. Or, not. In this case, there may be an element of cognitive dissonance as I stare at my yet-to-be-filled out suitcase and my yet-to-be-folded piles of clothing.

But, excuses and procrastinations aside, I’ll soon finish packing. And, in a few days time, I’ll meet one of my closets friends in the middle of London Heathrow airport, and we’ll board the plane taking us to his wedding destination together. And, all of those unaccountably hard days between when I got back from San Francisco until this moment will hardly seem to matter, at least for a time.

And, I’ll think this is the part where things get good.

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