miðvikudagur, ágúst 22, 2007

the walk for sy

A good friend of mine, a guy always full of jokes, witticisms, commentary, and wacky ideas, was undergoing cancer treatment last year before Christmas. About that time he suggested jokingly that I organize a one-man "cancer walk" for him, then send him half the proceeds I collected and keep the other half for myself. I decided to take the idea seriously and so I sent him a map of the route I would walk, from my house to the lighthouse at Grótta. I told him that instead of sending him cash, I'd make a donation to a cancer society here in the Land. Then I hauled myself out of bed in the predawn 11 a.m. light of a December Saturday morning, and did the walk. You can follow along with the walk here.

After finishing the walk, I wrote my friend:

It was really quite a time, and I'm so glad I did it. I started out at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning (keep that time in mind when looking at the pictures!) and was out to the lighthouse around 11:40 or so. The path was snowy and icy and it was cold but still. I was plenty warm as I was dressed well and in motion, except for when I was taking pictures.

... the path was quiet save for a couple of joggers and then a running team of 8 or 10. I could hear the snow crunching underfoot on the path, and the views out off to the right were great: the calm Reykjavík harbor and snowy mountains beyond. (The mountains in the pictures are named Esja and Akrafjall, with Akrafjall being the "leftmost" in the pictures. Esja is the one towering over the gasoline tanks.) The sun wasn't up over the mountains to the south yet, but there was a cloud hovering over one of the mountains and that cloud was reflecting pink sunlight and bathing the entire city and the harbor mountains beyond in that soft predawn glow. The sky was pink at the horizon and powder blue above. Then just as I was crossing the tidal flats that lead to the lighthouse at Grótta (11:40ish), the sun popped over the mountain and bathed everything in a brilliant and wintry light.

I was lucky that it was low tide, as I was able to walk all the way out to the lighthouse. At high tide, the lighthouse is on an island. Many a summer tourist has been known to be caught out there for 6 hours, waiting for the tide to subside. It comes in pretty fast. But they have a posted sign with the times that there are open "windows" to walk out there.

Out by the lighthouse it was peaceful and grassy. It even felt warm in the sunlight. I was the only one there, and there were lots of birds singing around me. There is a sign on the side of the lighthouse memorializing the two 20th century lighthouse keepers. (It's now automated.) There is a little house out there that's now become a coffee house and art gallery in the summers, thanks to a friend of mine. I walked a loop around the lighthouse and peeked in at the coffee shop and then headed back across the tidal flat to get to land before the water rose.

My friend passed away two weeks ago. I'll miss you, Sy.