A balcony ripe with the smell of Eucalyptus overlooking those rolling, rose-colored hills in Ojai, California. The remote stretch of beach in Prince’s Town, Ghana where the dense jungle meets the surf of the Atlantic. There are a handful of spots like this, places on the planet where I’ve stood and, for a moment, felt a connection to something more. A surge, a sense of peace. Calm in my soul. Magic.
Like California and West Africa, Iceland too is full of breathtaking vistas, gorgeous panoramas, unique viewpoints. But it’s not the immense depth and variety of beauty that forces me to pause. It is this one spot, another to add to my precious, curated list. This place, like the others, drew me into its spell and again compelled me to wonder at the amazingness of planet earth.
Days ago at Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon filled with ancient icebergs, I stood before enormous chunks of ice, watching as they inched forward in the crystal blue water. Waiting for small blocks of ice to float by, I watched the swirling current as they headed below the bridge and out to sea. I followed some of them toward the shore, where massive waves pounded against the black sand beach.
Once at the shoreline, the boulders of ice, some twenty feet high, lined up like sculptures on display at a museum, or a gathering of friends assembled before an event. Here, the event is the tide, the ocean that with a single wave or a slow rise will carry these giants out to melt. These chiseled shapes, some with smooth faces others with jagged, angled lines, sparkle and shine. Some special few actually glow. It is these, the radiant blue ones, electric and incandescent, that enchant me, that charm me.
Perhaps it is knowing they’ve reached the end, a long journey through thousands of years across a peak at the top of the planet. Perhaps it is thinking about the threshold, this moment where soon they will experience complete change, transforming from a mountain into an ocean. Perhaps it is just that electric azure glow, set off as it is against the dark, jet-black sand. Whatever the reason, I am humbled and awed and lucky to have known this place.