Imbolc. Festival of light and the world is lemon and white. I’m going to Iceland, the country, not the shop. It’s ancient newness, landscape still in the creating, calling me for a trolls age. So I’m going. While there will still be snow.
And a full moon.
Land of fire and ice.
My longing is an artic landscape.
Pure and fiercely sparkling. Like an archangel. A purple flame. I’m stepping in. Avoidance has exhausted me, that‘s not true, I did that to myself. On this Imbolc white day of ice crystals, snowdrops and soft lemon sunshine, I feel awakened as in the best of fairy tales.
The adventure calls.
Sigur Ros my theme tune as I chi the iceberged Dee. Hymns of an ancient new culture, and I see hearts everywhere. In the fabric of a tree, a half-buried stone, a Royal Deeside iceberg, goosenecks as they chat. My longing is an artic landscape. Pure and refreshingly scathing. It’s how I know that I’m alive.
I thank God for that.
Not done yet.
Not done yet.
Christ I can’t get started. And this has been a long long Winter.
As the ice flows towards me, bobbing in it’s dance becoming ocean, never in the now for long, I look forward to chi gunging glaciers, lava flows, waterfalls and geysers. Fire and Ice. How close can I get? Come back come back, here I am. Alive.
In this moment.
And my passport isn’t back yet anyway, so who knows.
The ripple of this beloved river, the shoosh of frayed ice, water-logged, full of the memory; ‘We flew once you know, through the sky to the hills, where men die or are rescued, still, they can’t keep away. Neither could we, compelled as a climber, crystal droplets, ice melt, river now sea. In the flow. I am the great I am. Never ending. See you again. For sure.“
They float by, never the same twice, eternally. The memory of water. Crystals. Fractals. I think of the homeopath and how I didn’t believe him, because his nails were dirty. His car had broken down. At a fractal level? But my cough has gone. In seven days, my cough has gone. A plant from the machair filling in the gap in me, at a fractal level, I am well again. And I thought it would take a man to make me whole. Not so. A machair plant. In the memory of water. I like that. And I wonder just how much world sorrow could be avoided, by machair plants.
At a fractal level.
Perhaps it’s my longing to live by the sea, the machair plant has filled. No more coughing. Perhaps the love, stuck in my throat, now spoken. Like the memory of water. Now rain, now snow, now ice, now ocean, now rain. The memory of truly me.
I see myself as a child, flashbacks, flickered in the Winter sunlit trees. Amongst other trees, talking to them, dancing around them, singing to them, never climbing them. It seemed rude. Planting forget-me-nots, clapping my hands and dancing in the surprise that they worked! Dressing up in silk or lace, holding up the hem of the swishing net-skirted dresses like a real princess, as I make dock-seed 'mince' for my husband, Captain Scarlet (you had to bagsy him quick, he was very popular, Scot Tracy such a poor second). Satisfying clip clop of my mum’s steely-heeled high heels on the stone slabbed close. Black shoes like Heidi's kittens, silently sneaked out of the big wardrobe, click of golden key, smell of wood, thrill of the forbidden, secrecy of a closed door. The row afterwards over her ‘good court shoes scuffed‘. Made worse by a four-year-old me reminding her she “never wore them anyway”. Not understanding "I was keeping them good". For what?
Rainy day painting, just to watch the pigment clouds swirl off the brush in the jam jar of water. Sound of Herman’s Hermits ‘Sunshine Girl‘, smell of my aunt’s make-up bag, pan-stick from the 60’s, and the black cake eye-liner she spat in and revolted me, all glamour gone. Julie Christie would never have spat on her eye-liner, I feel sure. A zoo giraffe bending down to lick my ice cream. The huge brown eyes and endless lashes, and a purple tongue. Eye to eye in that longest liquid moment specialness stilling the air. Holding my ice cream up to share it again. The eyes miles away now. As a woman pulls me away. The red rage of how dare she. Just being me. With a zoo giraffe.
I walk back full of the joy of my life, in the moment, thinking of my father. How sad it is that the chilling creak of death’s door is what it takes for me to say ‘I love you dad’. Sadder still that he can’t say it. No matter what door he stands at. I think of how I’m like him, his courage, not giving up. The sky is blue, I can feed the birds. There’s nothing better than this.
And I think of how I don’t want to be like him, keeping my love a secret. Locking it up in a frozen landscape of longing and not being enough, until I’m convinced I don‘t actually feel it at all.
I choose to speak it.
Gardener taught me that. Gardener and my dad. Silent men.
To hell with that. For the love of God, dance me a screamer! Just for a wee change. To race with me, across our frozen landscape on the snow mobile of love, joie de vivre and the memory of water.
There is a heart on a tree, a weightless squirrel bouncing underneath, just being a squirrel. Robin hopping branch to branch, just being a robin. Why do I so often stop just being me?
I am immersed in things Icelandic, if it’s possible to be immersed in fire or ice, and see so clearly. I have hot stones massage, fire and ice. I buy Icelandic music and a book I can’t put down, ’The Killer’s Guide to Iceland’. The woman sees hearts everywhere in nature. God winks. A mention of Halldor Laxness, a Nobel prize of a book recommended to me at my new book club and which Amazon estimates I’ll receive by 5th Feb. God winks. What did I expect? Immersed as I am. And all the time, ready to spout forth, a volcanic geyser screaming - enough of longing. Bring me a screamer.
For I hate to scream alone.
In Iceland. Where even the ponies are full of fairy blood. It will be clear to me. My path, my road ahead. Flat for sale in this season of coming light, but where to live? The sea, the city? Where like-minded people are. I’ve had enough of frozen wastes. Bring me the screamers. For I hate to scream alone.
And a angel whispers, in all the blinding white, spinning my head, tears flowing like snowmelt. “How blessed you are”.
I know this.
It breaks my heart to know this.
And hold it inside.
Back home, I open the Lonely Planet Guide to Iceland, I’m ashamed I have no clue what currency they use. My eye falls on this;
In Iceland, to say goodbye, say “Bless.”
I know I’m going to love it.