Monday, August 20, 2018

everyone is returning

It was a very short night: the sun sets at around 9:30 in Iceland right now. I stay up far later than that, writing and trying to decide how much of a cushion I should give myself for travel to the airport the next day: should I take the bus that leaves at 5:30? Or one an hour later?

In the end, I sleep just a handful of hours and set out for the bus terminal at 5 a.m. The sun is about to rise, but that's hard to see: the clouds are back, the drizzle is just barely holding off.

I walk up the street of my 48-hour home...


Then I turn toward the Pond. Standing on a bridge to take this picture, I have the feeling of having done this once before. Only then the Pond was frozen.


A lot can and does happen in the span of 45 years. I never wondered back then if I would return here, as a retired person. The very idea of being a senior is somewhat frightening when you're just twenty!

I walk along the road that borders the Pond. Look at this! Doesn't it seem like I'm on a predawn walk to the commuter train in Paris? The statue standing in a bed of flowers says yes, but the houses in the background --  that's pure Reykjavik.


The rain is holding off, but just barely. People are saying that Saturday was the nicest day of the whole summer. There had been almost no sun at all this year. How can I complain about any of the petty details of travel when I just happened to be in Reykjavik for this glorious occasion? And though it was cloudy, it never even rained while we rode the Icelandics for a a good several hours yesterday.

I am lucky.

When I arrive at the airport, I'm extremely glad that I chose the earlier bus. The security line rivals ones I'd seen in Chicago! Every flight from this country appears to leave at dawn!

The rains come down, but my plane leaves without delay. Forty-eight hours after landing here, I am taking off. And in six and a half hours, I am in Minneapolis again.

But it is my home state, Wisconsin, that causes woes and worries: just as storms broke over the south-central portion  of the state on the day I was to leave for Reykjavik, so, too, today, torrential downpours and storms roll in and threaten everyone's return.

I say "everyone's," because circumstances conspired to have us all return exactly on this day, this evening, to Madison. The young family, after spending a long weekend in Chicago, is returning home. And Ed, along with some of his sailor friends too, tells me he'll be home tonight. If only the rains would pause and allow us all a safe trip home.


The order of our returns? Despite flat tire on airplane, despite torrential rains, I'm back home first! Next in line: the young family, driving carefully to avoid the flooding that is widespread now. Finally -- there's Ed, the sailor. He'll probably roll in with his sailor pals just as I cannot keep my eyes open any more.

Good night, Ocean friends! Sometimes it's good not to wait up for the sailors among us.