Fall in Reykjavik

Strong winds blow tonight

Whipping rain at me sideways

I try to shield myself from it

But it is a vain effort here in this place

From inside my room I still hear you

Making your presence known to all

The air and skies are not calm this evening

Yet I am comfortable, content

My heart still feels at home right now

Peaceful in the midst of this perceived gloominess

WUGO Rewind: Top 5 Posts of 2015

It’s been another interesting year in the world of WUGO. The most viewed posts of this year seem to reflect a continually reflective space here at the blog desk. While I always look back and wish I had written more, I’m also glad I only shared what I thought was meaningful and interesting instead of posting less coherent and incomplete ideas.

Without further ado, the top 5 viewed posts of this year:

Continue reading “WUGO Rewind: Top 5 Posts of 2015”

Finding Purpose in the Wilderness

Secret Journal

I wrote about some of this in my “secret” journal during the trip (see featured image above), but there is a magical transformation that occurs when you are in the presence of creation in its purest forms where the hands of men have not yet or are unable to claim mastery over it for his own personal gains. You are immediately brought down to size and realize you are but a tiny part of a much bigger, grander world.

Going to a new place always provides space to figure out what’s important in my life. It’s like a big filter in the shape of plane tickets, breathtaking landscapes, new (but sometimes very old) city streets to walk down, and new cultures where I don’t speak the native language.

I read that Iceland is one of the most educated countries in the world with greater than 99% literacy rate. Creativity and art are strongly encouraged and engrained into the culture, so there is a lot of writing and art being created on a regular basis. I was impressed and humbled by how many books I saw everywhere we visited from coffee shops to more sit-down style restaurants even. Designs on sides of buildings even had huge books on them. It’s clear this country like to read and write. I very much respect it and desire for a similar thing to happen back in the United States. It also reminded me to read and write more.

Yet one of the things I was curious about is how much of the backdrop of their lives has fueled their way of thinking and their desire and ability to create so much. Even within the Keflavik airport, there were wonderful quotes from various authors that speak in such poetic language I was moved to stop and reflect in a place that is usually filled with angst and tension of running late for anywhere but where you’re at.

I hoped to find that magic while I visited to spark a new level of creativity in thoughts and in writing. Even months after visiting, that desire to create has seasoned much of my day to day thinking and actions. To allow for this, it will mean that I need to balance out my time between being inundated in an information, media rich, distraction filled world and find my wilderness space to compile my thoughts and to craft a blog post, edit that photo just so, to reimagine that work project. So while I still (and will likely continue to) consume an inordinate amount of media content, my goal is to be more producer than consumer.

The wilderness gives us room to evaluate everything that matters – and that which doesn’t. Though I wonder if we need to be careful not to spend too much time there lest we go crazy….

Memoirs of a Glacier

I learned a lot about glaciers and how life in Iceland is very directly shaped and influenced on a regular basis by the earth and weather patterns that surround people there. And I will be the first to say that I do not remember everything I heard or saw on this trip, but some elements do stand out from our day trip to [actual name of national park] and the Ice Caves tour.

Glaciers are big. I mean really, really big. So much so that you cannot fathom the size of it as you stand at the edge of one it becomes more awe inspiring to know that this huge “sheet” of ice holds within it not just frozen water, but parts of mountains, trees, likely animal remains, volcanish ash (maybe exclusive to Icelandic glaciers), and other parts of the earth that couldn’t get out of its way.

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Glaciers are affecting the world around it while it appears to sit there like a big, frozen glacier-shaped log.  As they move and/or melt, what remains after are what many area of the world now live on. They have flattened out vast spaces in their melted wake. But they also hold down the earth under it, even pulling nearby hills and small mountains physically down with its incredible weight. (Don’t try finding a scale. Glaciers don’t like to talk about their weight.) So as it melts and loses even small fractions of its mass, Iceland itself is actually rising from the relief of the cold burden at a rate of up to 1.5cm/year. Insane!

Glaciers affect weather patterns around the world acting as a stingy bank who would prefer not to let us withdraw from its deposits. And yet here we are marketing glacier water as a great drinking source. I suddenly feel just the smallest tinge to yell “save the glaciers, save the world.”

Glaciers are really pretty from far away and up close.

Iceland - the edge of the glacier
The edge of the glacier!

 

Ice Caves
The ice caves at the edge of the glacier. So. Beautiful.

 

I thought there may be some good life lesson to be found here. Perhaps there is a lesson about some big things do change us, but in very small ways and steps that aren’t immediately apparent if we stand back and take stock of who we were and who we are now. Maybe there’s a glacier in your life now that you want to rid yourself of because you feel like it’s holding you down, but in reality it’s providing a stable environment we don’t appreciate until it’s gone and things go haywire.

Or maybe this post will just be about glaciers and how cool they are. [See what I did there? That’s some solid wordplay. Because glaciers are cool. And solid. OK, I’m stopping now.]