Jul 08 2019

Iceland: Prolegomenon

Published by at 3:48 pm under Travel

Isn’t that a cool word, prolegomenon? Do you know what it means? I sure had to look it up. Just in case you didn’t get your PhD in literature, it’s a “critical or discursive introduction to a book,” according to my computer’s dictionary. (Then I had to look up discursive.) This is neither a book nor will it be any more critical than I usually am. I’m taking creative license with the word.

Anyhow, Molly and I just got back from a week in Iceland. I will tell you about it in a series of posts over the next few days.

I’ll tell you a little bit about the genesis of the trip. Late last November I was visiting Molly overnight down in the South Bay, when, out of the blue, she asked, Do you want to go to Iceland in July? I thought it a strange kind of joke, so I played along. Sure, I replied. And then I realized she was serious.

When she’d been to Iceland before, she kept posting incredible pictures of the place, and I kept commenting: I want to go! That is, until I saw one photo of a narrow, winding road dropping straight down to a fjord on the right side, with thick, thick fog obscuring most of the vista. Suddenly, just like that, I didn’t want to go any more. My car-phobia is pathological. Molly knows this, so she had a stipulation to her proposal: I had to promise not to contaminate the trip with my anxiety—or say those obnoxious mother-things I tend to let slip, like Don’t stand so close to the edge of the cliff, and of course, Don’t drive so close to the edge of the cliff.

This was not an easy promise to make. It took me two days of overwrought soul-searching before I decided to go. I knew it would be nigh impossible to control myself, but I couldn’t bear the idea missing the opportunity to spend time with Molly, and in a new and pretty place. Mostly, I hated the idea of letting my fear prevent me from doing something valuable.

For seven months, I’d lie awake with vivid movies playing and replaying in my head: We’re driving. The wheels slip over the edge; the car wavers, tips; gravity pulls it over the edge. Then the seconds it takes to fall 1,000 feet to death.

I really did that. I couldn’t help it. I’d catch myself with heart pounding and body rigid, and tell myself what an idiot I was. I kept repeating to myself, over and over, Cowards die many times before their deaths… I was living proof. As it got closer to the time, I tried absorbing Shakespeare’s philosophy of death—Will come when it will come—but with little success.

Seven months of this. A month ahead, I was already starting to pack.

A week ahead, Ember decided to go with me.

And then eventually, we were on our way.

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Iceland: Prolegomenon”

  1. Molly says:

    I am so glad you agreed to come, despite all the fears and worries! ‘Twas a worthy thing.

  2. Syd says:

    So glad you went, came back, and lived (thrived?) to tell the tale(s)!

  3. Lisa says:

    So glad you didnt fall to your death…you can buy me coffee again!

  4. Cheryl Colopy says:

    Wonderful to read. Photos spectacular as usual.

  5. Mabs says:

    Prologomenon? I thought it was a kind of dessert.
    So glad you’ve done this. Can’t wait to read more.

  6. Nancy says:

    Lived to tell the tale, you brave adventurer!

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