From my short stop in Iceland a few weeks ago; enjoy!
When you’ve been driving for hours in the Icelandic countryside and arrive at a village with an Ethiopian restaurant, you have no choice but to stop—if only to marvel at the extent to which this world is globalized.
But feeling compelled to stop in this country is certainly not limited to ethic food in rural areas. It seems like every corner you turn presents another scene that would be the highlight attraction in any other country. To call this place beautiful, or even spectacular, would be an understatement of the greatest degree.
It is so dramatic that, perched atop an emerald grassy outcropping midway up a waterfall hike, I was moved to tears with gratitude to be part of such sublimity. If you truly take the time to stop and let this landscape affect you, instead of rushing through it to get to the next amazing place down the road (an understandable desire that most people visiting here seem to have), tears feel like the only appropriate response.
In just the same way that a religious ritual like the Eucharist has the power to remind us of our shared need for bread (or how the Jewish Sabbath can remind us of the holiness of time, or how yoga can remind us of the preciousness of our bodies), powerful places have the power to remind us of what we take for granted in the rest of our lives. For me, even though I grew up in natural splendor and have visited countless scenes of natural beauty, it seems like I always seem to forget just how amazing this little earth is.
Iceland is an easy reminder of our great fortune to be part of this spinning rock-ball. Its environment is so overwhelming, so far beyond the reach of man to comprehend that it naturally brought out a supernatural sense of wonder in me. It reminded me of my scale in comparison to the grandeur of this planet, while simultaneously making me feel significant in my insignificance.
And when I stopped the car along the side of the road to gaze out at basalt pillars standing in the sea against the backdrop of glaciated peaks, I was left thinking that whatever way I attempt to describe Iceland’s origins, through scientific analysis of plate tectonics, or as a supreme example of divine craftsmanship, it is a blessing unlike any other I ever encountered.