Love Letter to My Homeland

Reinvention, restructuring and rebirth are the terms on my mind these weeks. It seems as if a lot of us are in re-mode of some sort. Our meal tickets have been pulled from underneath us and we’re back at the drawing board - where we all started - life tends to shape loops doesn’t it? Those of us who work creatively and run our entrepreneurial minds to pay the bills are blessed with adaptive wiring.

Beginning in mid March my clients in hospitality, travel and other luxury markets fell off my radar one by one - my copywriting business had been thriving and I was back and forth between Reykjavík and New York. A privileged lifestyle that now feels like an inner conflict. I hadn’t planned on getting political or to compare two vastly different nations, but both house my home.

I live in the juxtaposition of two countries where one president doesn’t believe that climate change exists and the other where the president supports and seeks new solutions to aid the harm affected by global warming.

And needless to say how vastly different the Covid-19 crises have been and continue to be managed by the two different nations - where we have a strong female prime minister vs. the president who said “it is what it is” in reaction to the high death toll in America.

Driving around my homeland with my husband without sharing the road, attractions or the vast nature with other people, was a luxurious opportunity that we took. We had been the only visitors at the top of the Empire State Building when it reopened and now we were spending eight days on the road with only a handful of fellow travelers, at most.

In my column for Úr Vör I had written about anticipating being alerted by all the senses via the Icelandic countryside and it wasn’t until this week that I experienced it. To be in and with the Icelandic nature. Nature that is so powerful it overpowers the mind and makes it impossible to listen to music or an audiobook. That’s how mesmerized I am driving around my country. And how deeply I understand Björk singing about being puzzled by the emotional landscapes.

I smelled wild arctic herbs, the scent of burning birch bark, wet volcanic earth, and straight up Icelandic farm odor that I cannot describe in words - but have come to love more with every year I age. I ate fresh cod and langoustine, goose and indulged in the game of reindeer season. I listened to the sound of silence as my eyes watered over the staggeringly strange beauty that surrounded me.

Though my environmental brain tried to pull my focus towards the drastic diminishing weight of Vatnajökull, the reshaping affect on Jökulsárlón, and what the future without ice in our Sub-Arctic corner will be like, I focused instead on how nourished my senses were. How dramatically stunning the South coast is and the increasingly powerful presence of the landscape driving East. The wildlife in the Eastfjords, and how alive and steamy the earth is that houses Myvatn.

I soaked up all the energy that I had craved when barely leaving the apartment in New York during the first five months of Covid-19, when the surrounding energy was illness and death and the sound was ambulances and suffering. I had decided to give this to myself - to allow myself to write a love letter to my homeland - to take it all in and allow myself to be reborn and renourished. To believe in the world again and say thank you to the land I came from.

This article was originally published by Úr Vör magazine

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