16. October, 2016
In the long blue hours before dawn, Reykjavík holds its breath. Not a whiff of wind sniffs down the street, and the clouds hang swollen in the sky. In this hollow between dark and day, I walk down to the unbreathing harbor. Along the horizon, the mountains stretch in dark silhouette, black dragon wings enfolding the city, holding it safe through the longest night: the Icelandic winter.
On the harborside, Bernhöftsbakari, Iceland’s oldest bakery, glows like a memory of sunrise. I tear into a loaf of Íslenskt Byggbrauð, Icelandic barley bread, still oven-warm beneath the crackling crust. The crumb is as tender and springy as the island’s moss. Craggy as the lava fields, the crust tastes of volcanoes and dragonsmoke where the ovenfires have licked it.
From the bakery counter I watch light fill the sky like an opening eye, but there is no sunrise. The dragon has hidden the sun away in his gold-sick hoard, far beyond the mountains and smoky clouds.