Tuesday, September 23, 2014

girl meets glacier

Of Glaciers and Glaciologists

I don't want to say too much about this series of pictures, as I really think they speak for themselves. Just so you have some context, though, I was very privileged (and so, so grateful) to be included on a glacier hike planned by my advisor, Jeffrey Cohen. Jeffrey, who writes beautifully and prolifically about bodies and ecologies in medieval literature (I can't wait for his upcoming book), intended the pre-conference hike to serve as a spur for thinking to the scholars on his panel on ice. I wasn't on that panel, but Jeffrey generously invited me on the hike anyway. We were joined by Oddur Sigurðsson, a glaciologist, who taught us about ice and who--no kidding--sang us an Icelandic lullaby on the bus ride home. Here's Jeffrey's post about the haunting experience (the glaciers are melting, folks, and fast). The dark and lovely lyrics to Oddur's lullaby (also borrowed from Jeffrey) are below. 

Sofðu unga ástin mín.
Úti regnið grætur.
Mamma geymir gullin þín,
gamla leggi og völuskrín.
Við skulum ekki vaka um dimmar nætur.
Það er margt sem myrkrið veit,
minn er hugur þungur.
Oft ég svarta sandinn leit
svíða grænan engireit.
Í jöklinum hljóða dauðadjúpar sprungur.
Sofðu lengi, sofðu rótt,
seint mun best að vakna.
Mæðan kenna mun þér fljótt,
meðan hallar degi skjótt,
að mennirnir elska, missa, gráta og sakna. 
Sleep, my young love.
Outside the rain is weeping.
Mummy is watching over your treasure,
an old bone and a round case.
We should not stay awake through dim nights.
There is much that darkness knows,
my mind is heavy.
Often I saw black sand
burning the green meadow.
In the glacier cracks are rumbling deep as death.
Sleep for a long time, sleep quietly,
it is best to wake up late.
Sorrow will teach you soon,
while the day is quickly decaying,
that men love, lose, cry and mourn.

On our way back from the glacier we stopped at two waterfalls, Skógafoss (my favorite)...

(from the climb to the top of Skógafoss)

and Seljalandsfoss, which you can walk behind. We all got soaked...

…although not as much as this kid. This picture still makes me laugh out loud.

At the end of the day I returned to KEX to find a concert in full swing, attended by locals and tourists alike.

Goodnight, Iceland.

Next up: Chapter Three, In Which Haylie Enjoys Her Birthday

1 comment:

  1. If we had been there I can pretty much guarantee that Jeff would have been that kid in the picture standing under the waterfall spray.