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Posts tagged “ocean

þetta réddast

While enjoying a ridiculous amount of smoked trout at Vogafjós (literally “Creek Cowshed”; a restaurant on the eastern shore of Lake Myvatn that is actually inside a cowshed with the cows) I first heard the Icelandic phrase þetta réddast. More of a mentality or life philosophy than a saying, there are many different English language interpretations. I was told at the time that it was “We will get there.” Most people translate it as “Don’t worry. It will all work out okay.” It is a common phrase that is applied casually. Running late? þetta réddast. Not prepared? þetta réddast. And while it is best to keep a positive attitude and not worry about things that it is too late to fix I feel like this undersells the wisdom of the phrase to Americans who are driven by success and define success as hard work + precision. It comes across like ((*oh horror*)) they’re not even trying!

That is why I liked the way my guide, Gunnar, defined it- We will get there. Like, eventually, everything will work it’s way out. Because that is true and that is what people so often lose sight of. A life philosophy is not an excuse you keep using because you are chronically incapable, so that is not what is meant when they say this. A life philosophy is something that is applied to life. Not just your life, all life. As long as there has been life and as long as life continues. It is a very broad and very high. It is elevated thinking. It is “the big picture.” And while it is not just your life, it certainly includes and is reflected in your life. There is a point on the universal time scale where everything bad is brought to nothing (Christians call this “Armageddon”)  and only good can flourish (“judgement day”). It is not right now. We will get there. The problems of today are so short they hardly factor in but if you base your happiness on short term goals you will always be worrying. It is true that life is what you make it, but that does not mean that you are in control of your life, that it is something to fret over and fine tune. We can’t completely control everything. Time and circumstances have an ever changing tide. Happiness isn’t something we can get completely by our own effort- its not money, its not pleasures, its not a job well done. Happiness is having hope.

The knowledge that everything will work out brings a small measure of freedom. Freedom to make mistakes. Freedom to be too generous. Freedom to love people just because they need it. Freedom to live consciously in every moment instead of thinking about the things you have to get done. Freedom to be optimistic. Freedom to have a great time even if times aren’t so great. Freedom to see beyond your suffering.

When you can see the whole picture you have a clear view. Don’t cloud your life with the worry that comes from uncertainty. Seek truth. þetta réddast.

Aerial view of interior Iceland via flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri


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Aerial view of Greenland


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Silent Reflections

Essay from a photo writing prompt by Harpa and the Icelandic Writers Retreat. View the photo and read other essays here.

Stepping softly
from the sidewalk across the breadth to the back,
the wood floor holds the reticent reverberations of yesterdays music while outside
ancient,
gray
ripples
meet basalt blocks unheard.
Arctic sunlight collects on the comb of windows encasing the space
until dissected by one large looking glass
set forth between beams
outstretched,
framing the North Atlantic like victorious arms.
Symmetry.
Safflower skies reflecting on silica and seawater.
A mirrored plane plunges toward water, reflecting the harbor in its face.

Reflection-
a bending back-
Middle English.
Harpa holds the heritage of the people and houses the spirit of a culture,
the compilation of all time, hundreds of years, magmatic, covering and building on each other to create each present. Yet each concert is but a
breaker
in the waters of time, while in
every
singular
moment
its structure stands it publishes Iceland’s biography;
its framework arranged to feature and flaunt the landscape of the sea.
The islands human history was born here,
is here,
as ancestral waves go out
and come again,
retreating
only to bend back
carrying the voices of vikings,
the trill of fishing vessels,
the whisper of sagas,
the echoes of centuries,
like a low, soothing sound barely beneath our perception.

We stand in a building just to the left of a dreamboat silhouette-
but is it left?
The hand we choose depends on whence we came.
We enter from the city
but from where did we enter the city?
We stand in a building just to the right of a dreamboat silhouette,
between the Sun Voyager and its golden destination, the journey shining through panels of glittering glass.
Having stepped softly from the sidewalk we crossed the breadth to reach the front.
The front-
sitting on the threshold of an ocean gazing through the glass for its children,
taciturn,
listening,
reflecting.
I gaze back in silent reverie,
listening,
reflecting,
overlooking half the fatherland.


My favorite photos from the capital city of Reykjavik, Iceland featuring Harpa Concert Hall, the Sun Voyager, and the North Atlantic Ocean.

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Eternal Summer

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.  Celia Thaxter

People liken the heart to many things-

An open book.

A fortress.

A lion.

A stereo.

An ocean. Inside of a bigger ocean.

I don’t think my heart is any of those things. I think its more like a greenhouse. A greenhouse with a carefully curated collection of curiosities. Because that’s the thing about life, a lot of things happen, a lot of things surround us, and a lot of things pass by us but only the things that we allow can pass through us and we carry with us only what we choose. Whatever plant you want can grow in a greenhouse despite the atmospheric and geologic conditions of the area. Whoever we want to become can grow in our heart. Whatever we want to love can live in our heart. We set the conditions. In a greenhouse there is summer in the depths of winter, in our hearts hope in the depths of desolation.

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”  Albert Camus, The Stranger

A greenhouse promotes growth and fills itself with life. Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all things that you guard, safeguard your heart, for out of it are the sources of life.” If you don’t like something that has taken root in there, remove it. You don’t have to let it stay just because its always been there or because its in everyone else’s. Bring in what you value. Your life is either your problem or your blessing but either way it’s up to you. Choose to make positive growth. Plant gratefulness to have that eternal summer within you. Keep bringing in love to nourish your treasures. Its a continuous work and a continuous pleasure. The outside world whispers “If I just had ____ my life would be complete.” But what is a complete life? Everyday adds something new, each morning light brings fresh opportunity, everyone you meet is a brand new world. Why would you desire your life to come to completion? Complete is a beginning, middle, and end; and yet my heart preserves me. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says of the creator, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has even put eternity in their heart; yet mankind will never find out the work that the true God has make from start to finish.” Human life was created to be indefinite, human hearts reach out for eternity. And even after all the time in the world we will still never know all there is and never experience all that can be. Our purpose is growth, my heart is fertile.

stones

metallic

berry

poky

vibrance

orchid

beads

soft

crystal eye