(Fox and Crow statue in the 16th, a tribute to the writer, Jean de La Fontaine)
Prologue: A Paris Visit
I just spent four days in Paris visiting my oldest daughter Zooey. During the entire time, though, I was getting a strange vibe. On the last day of the visit I finally asked her how she was feeling. She didn’t tell me. She told me what she thought I needed to do to be happy.
My shame alarm started going off as I struggled to focus on my mantra, “respond, don’t react, respond, don’t react.”
It was as if Zooey was channeling my wife’s answer to every problem in our marriage. While I spent four days with my daughter, walking and sharing how I was working on myself, and how I wanted to reestablish my relationship with her and her two sisters.
I feel like I’m living more in the moment more than ever before. So when Amanda suggested I’d been unhappy for the four days I spent with her I was blown away and not in a good way.
I regressed to a time when things were at their worst for her mother, Caroline and I. I was unemployed, in a deep depression, miserable, with no self-esteem.
I left Paris reeling in self-contempt, and fighting all the voices that had plagued me in the depths of my dark days. Luckily, I was headed to Reykjavik for two days.
So late of Friday, I made my way to Reykjavik for almost two days before returning to the U.S. of A.
By the way, shout out to Wow Air, Icelandic Air’s budget brand. Only two of the four flights were delayed. In baseball, batting .500 gets you into the hall of fame!
I arrived in Reykjavik and made it to my Airbnb by around 1AM and it was still light out.
(This is Iceland at midnight. I kid you not.)
It is 1AM and my body clock is somewhat adjusted to Paris where it is 3AM. I pulled the blinds down in my room which sorta kinda made it a shade darker and tried to get some sleep. “Tried” being the operative word.
Not a great city to visit when you’re exhausted and not feeling great about yourself. I won’t provide a blow-by-blow travelogue, and instead finish my first blog entry with the first poem I’ve written in a very, very long time.
Ode to Reykjavik
Is there anything as gray as Reykjavik in the summer?
Drab, bland, and sad, ersatz hues, ochres, indigos, maroons,
Covering ashen walls of corrugated homes overlooking a bleak glacial harbor.
I am witness and participant to battles against nature, human and otherwise.
In this Arctic slag, combatting destiny is a lost cause.
In weeks, if not days, ferrous skeletons reveal
Fading, frozen cenotaphs to the weakness of man.
The frigid, Viking village, haunted by the specter of Kierkegaard
In wisps of drafts he slips through cracks and fissures.
A reminder of the Danish who once ruled this hard rock.
The hard, cold rock that still fills beings with nothingness.