Iceland is being invaded by giants marching across the landscape, bearing miles of electrically charged wires.
I woke up this morning and a lovely friend of mine had forwarded this link to me. Maybe it was the early morning darkness, or the pre-coffee decompensation, but I was afraid.
This is my Iceland, walking alongside these power lines for hours until they turned away from the ring road and left me. Hiking in Iceland is arduous, sometimes even when staying on the roads. Highly trafficked routes are paved but an hour’s travel outside becomes progressively rougher going.
At points, the road is not even gravel, nearly unrecognizable form the surrounding terrain, just paths of slightly smaller rocks winding between rough volcanic boulders lined with packed snow. In these instances, faith, more than maps or vision, led me to the next landmark or road sign, and I pretended I knew that I had not been marching out alone into a foreign desert.
No one would have known if I fell into a geothermal vent, nestled under a mop of thick moss, or slipped into the Northern Atlantic when leaning too far over to see the seals; but for some reason the isolation made me feel safe. City-travel had primed me to be overly cautious of thieves and rapists, keeping copies of my travel documents in my pockets. Out on the stone plain, I changed my shirt under the sun. I spread my things out over wide expanses of rocks to dry, pinning them under heavy stones and slept during the sunny, cold nights, fully anticipating waking to find them exactly as I had left them.
I went around the ring road and inevitably ended up in cities, but once outside of them again, couldn’t fathom their existence. The wind reminds you of your isolation, erasing footsteps in the sand, sweeping away human voices with a howl that does not cease. It grated in my ears without interruption from a human voice, days and nights. Some weeks in, I was stuck walking on a poorly defined route under a midnight sun, and I found a dead bird, feathers still as sleep between the rocks. I threw my pack down with a heave and set up my tent on the bluff next to it to keep it company.
I set up my tent, lacing ropes over it and weighting them with rocks. The wind blew sand and grit into the antechamber and I hurried to zip up the liner. The wind wailed above us, grabbing at the fabric around my cocoon. Inside my little one-person, I pulled my sleeping bag over my head and my hat down over my ears, and in the quiet and the dark in my head, I went to sleep, knowing I was perfectly alone and perfectly safe.
Thinking now about these giants marching over the interior of Iceland, lurching over mountains, an army marching toward some distant victim, stomping all around my sleeping body, that scares me. We should all fear invasion.