Last Outpost Before Apocalypse

15. October, 2016

Reykjavík quivers with the adrenaline rush of the last outpost before the apocalyptic nomansland. From the harbor I look across the bay toward an iron chain of mountains, the unmanned bulwark between the city and the untamed volcanoes and geysers of the north. Between the city’s church spires, distant mountain peaks skewer the clouds, and even Hallgrimmskirkja, the lone cathedral, looks anemic and stunted beneath the glacial Icelandic sky.

img_2103

From the peninsula on the other side of the city, I can see across the water to the geothermal fields, where the boiling ichor of the Underworld spumes up in white gouts. The bay is molten pewter, pure and untouchable. Beyond the mountains, the clouds are ragged and threadbare where light tears through and leaves deep scratches in the sky.

img_2104

Winter’s scourge has flayed the trees. The new Undead—Birch, Ash, and Rowan—fill the city parks with the restless grating of dry bones. These unburried skeletons choke the cemetery, where a panic of songbirds shrieks over stale death. I feel as if I am walking through a graveyard of old acquaintances, for the names on the stones are borrowed from Sagas I read in a nest of blankets last winter: it is a graveyard of Bjorns, Gislis, and Guðruns. I trace potentially-heroic lineages not by family names (a rare import on this island), but by Icelandic patronyms: Bjorn Snorrisson, Hrafn Bjornsson, Svanhild Hrafnsdóttir. The graveyard is a Saga in itself, a litany of lineages that all end in death. Their bones are planted in the earth, and from their ribcages grow stones who tell their stories.

img_2100

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Last Outpost Before Apocalypse

  1. I don’t believe anyone but you has captured the soul of the Norse land. Interestingly enough for me is a feeling that the landscape is a Japanese painting. Perhaps there is something about the volcanic origins of both that bring the same sense of nature.

    Like

    1. That is fascinating! I would love to visit Japan to compare and contrast. I think the two cultures also share a deep appreciation for the most elegant, minimalist aesthetic, which may derive from their native landscapes.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s