In Reykjavik I stood on the soft harbor and let waves thread my feet under arctic immortal twilight. Deep blue and lavender crisscrossing the sky in swirling vistas. Perched on the pier out could see pulsing red flare tens of miles away. Volcano that decided to erupt this spring. Shells glazed arctic tear drop blue lurking under waves to match the sky. Silent murmur of city behind. Lighthouse in front, sentinel to a midnight sun, weakly glowing, slowly spinning. Ice water to shock the veins. Wave, ebb, and wave again. Cold, numb, and cold again. World really just a yammering unheard wind-flung speech. Blackened hill-covered peninsula to the north rising out of wine-dark sea. Immortal twilight, wine-dark, liminal luminosity. Peripheral edge of pain to mind turned perennial. Fire, ice, black. Peace.

Balloon Week

We woke up at five A.M. last Monday for Albuquerque’s most famed attraction, its signature event, its raison d’etre: Balloon Fiesta. Having destroyed my knees on a sixteen mile hike the day before and thereby being half-asleep and quasi-immobile, I staggered and fell bow-legged around the house trying to gather my things, slopped a bowl of cinnamon toast crunch all over my pants, and crawled into the car in a stupor. We parked a quarter mile away from the venue and despite feeling like part of an apocalyptic exodus limping alongside heavy traffic and floodlights during the darkest part of the morning, I was looking forward to it. For hot air ballooners and fans alike, this was the Super Bowl, the March Madness, the Olympic Games of their craft. And here I was to see what all the hype was about. The venue was a mile-long field thronged with people, lined with souvenir shops and restaurants on the perimeter, all of it blanketed in pre-sunrise chills. But the ungodly hour wasn’t stoppin