First Impressions Iceland

-17.0 C = 1.4 F (a.k.a. COLD)

December 1, 2011  Outside Reykjavik, Iceland

SO good to be here!  I – of course- arrived here in this pretty snowy world of rocks, lava and ice on what the Icelanders said was the ‘coldest day of the year so far’.

The friend I’m staying with for a couple days, a fellow shaman trained in the same tradition as me, gave me an awesome ‘first impressions tour’ of the area in the bit of daylight that was still left.  Many pretty spots we couldn’t stop because of the icy road conditions, but I still got a couple photos (below).

Steam coming out of the ground in lots of places, geothermal power plants, geothermal greenhouses, lava beds, and not-so-distant volcanoes (most of ‘m asleep), the area where the first parliamentary democracy was born over a thousand years ago (Þingvellir, geologically most interesting too), a glympse of downtown Reykjavik, The Hallgrímskirkja, and even a little bit of northern lights…

Iceland’s been in the news again lately: As a first in Western Europe, the Icelandic parliament just the other day passed a resolution recognizing Palestine as a sovereign state; see here.   And also: its economic recovery is going quite well, especially given it was the hardest hit in the 2008 economic meltdown, see here. And, of course, how this tiny highly educated population participates in their democracy in ways the world could learn something from, nuanced HERE (–> Must read if you bought into Naomi Klein’s recent writings; great photos of places I saw today, too.)

I may write some more on this unique culturally active Nordic land soon (maybe), but first I’ll have to gather more impressions, speak to more locals, læra að tala íslensku, þó að það gæti tekið meira en sex daga mun ég vera hér, and see if more blogposts crystalize in this freezing place.  Couple photos from arrival day:

Experimentation with pumping water back down into drill holes for a likely new geothermal plant have reportedly been causing more small local earthquakes...

Not far from Reykjavik. 64°08' N Latitude. Most of the land lies in twilight in long pastel daylight shadows... (In colors I'm not sure cameras can actually grasp.)

Reminded me of "...and when your children’s children shall think themselves alone in the fields, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude..." - Chief Seattle

Ah...My first sight of Northern Lights! ;-) In the distance also the lights of Reykjavik and the John Lenon memorial light beam. - Photo by Jón A.G.

Icelandic cultural force of nature, Björk, has lots of awesome more recent creative works (most recent Biophilia for one), but -as blast from the past-, I remember watching her for the first time in this video on MTV in the early 1990s (when they still had music) and loved her instantly:

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