near me

Google maps has a feature called “near me”. Doing a search for a store, for example, “near me” can be a useful tool to narrow down one’s geographic preference.

Today was like that. Using a small map, we ventured out to locations within five miles of the hotel, navigating interests and activities.

We first drove around the Hotel Hussafel acreage, and found a small active runway.

Parking on the runway, we took a small walk along the river Husafell.

We then drove a few miles to Hraunfossar (‘Lava Falls’ in English). This is a series of beautiful waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field. It is extraordinary.

We grabbed lunch at a small cafe adjacent to the falls. Yes, I ate an ice cream bar for lunch. So good!

After this treat we drove down a road which was once a lava field. Colors muted by age.

A view of a waterfall cascading down through the lava fields.

Glimpses of Langeðkull glacier. (That’s tomorrow.)

We wrapped up the day with an amazing dinner at our hotel. Below was my meal choice.

Now soon to bed so we can get going first thing tomorrow.

May the Lord almighty grant us a peaceful night and a perfect end. Amen.

vast

The one word that kept cropping up in my mind throughout the drive today was vast. Gazing out – and up, and this way or that way – was a vast expanse of awesome.

I’m reminded of words said during Eucharistic Prayer C in the Book of Common Prayer, “At your command all things came to be: …

the vast expanse of interstellar space, …

galaxies, …

suns, …

the planets in their courses, …

and this fragile earth, our island home.”

Today was a leisurely drive from Keflavik International Airport, through some small and lovely neighborhoods in Reykjavik, then on to the countryside where we meandered for about sixty miles through the vastness of one area of Iceland.

There was no reason to hurry. Views found us stopping, looping back or just taking the slow way.

Now settled into Hotel Húsafell for the next four days, I’m tempted to say, “and as the shadows lengthen…”. However the shadows will not lengthen until 11:01pm this night., but for us they will lengthen closer to 7pm.

Rest well.

dawn

“Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” Rabindranath Tagore.

I’ve been gazing out the window from 38,000’, watching the dawn of this new day.

The clouds are quieting as the day arrives.

There will be disquiet soon, as we deplane and a wheelchair whisks me through the arrivals process for passengers from this and other flights. My friend will have to hustle to keep up!

For now all is calm. And beautiful.

Good morning God. This is your day. I am your child. Please show me your way. Amen.

return to the land of fire and ice

Today I’m on my way back to Iceland. This will be the fifth time I enter the country that is often referred to as the land of fire and ice. The description comes from the fact that Iceland is home to both glaciers and volcanos.

Also, thermal energy is near the surface.

I’ve thought often how Iceland feels “alive”. Eruptions, freezes, steam beneath the surface. This place rumbles. It hisses. It shakes. It’s definitely alive.

I remember the first trip to Iceland, when one of the very first stops was to stand on a small bridge that spanned two tectonic plates.

Iceland sits on the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It is the only place in the world where you can see those two tectonic plates and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge above ground (basically a fault line).

I approached the center of the bridge with some trepidation. I did not want any rumbles. Actually it was a bit exhilarating.

An unremarkable sight gazing down, though, where the plates meet.

A return to flying Icelandair for this trip, has us meeting up in Raleigh-Durham mid-afternoon. This evening we’ll be on our way. Come along!

Well, a major and a small bump getting to RDU. My friend’s flight was delayed over an hour. That was okay as we have a six hour layover. But then… just as it was to race down the runway, the plane stopped. No announcement. Just a turn back toward the terminal. After 10 minutes or so, it turned back to the runway and took off.

My flight, on the other hand, was slightly delayed. We were to have maintenance come check a warning light. Instead, we headed to the runway and simply took off.

On my way to RDU

With this jangled start, I’m really looking forward to taking our Saga Class seats. Side by side.

Traveling mercies.

conversations

Recently I was in Texas for about 46 hours. This was definitely “lark” travel.

I traveled to attend a service to “celebrate a new ministry”. A dear priest friend was installed as the rector of my son and his family’s church.

What strikes me most about this trip were the profound conversations I had during the few hours I was there.

With…my son who picked me up at the airport and transported me to the church. Then sat next to me for the service…

With…my grandson who drove from his college about an hour away…

With… my best friend who also had travelled for the installation…

With… the newly installed rector…

With… my granddaughter who was getting her home ship-shape the next day for a birthday party…

With… my daughter-in-law who is experiencing similar nerve pain to my own…

And with… the son of my sweet cousin who called to share news about the end of her earthly life.

A time to listen in the midst of both joy and sorrow, of a new beginning and a gentle ending.

paperwork and gas

I’m sitting in a plane that is sitting on the tarmac re-fueling, so we can try again to get to Dallas. Weather in the greater Dallas area caused my flight to take the scenic route from Atlanta.

To try to avoid the massive storm, we flew south, out over the Gulf of Mexico near Mobile, then on to New Orleans.

We crisscrossed over Houston, Austin, and San Angelo.

Then we needed gas. So we looped back to San Antonio where I am writing this. We now await getting gas, getting paperwork. We’ll then try to fly to Dallas once again.

My friend who was flying from Houston, ended up sitting in Houston to wait out the storm. I flew right over her aircraft. She’s on her way now. I think.

So we sit and wait. And line up for the bathroom, and pose for a photo.

Announcement made just now: “Folks, we have our gas, and our paperwork. We very much need everyone to take a seat so we can get going!”

On our way!

Well, except for the long line awaiting take-off. We’re number three.

Traveling mercies.

travel lark

Generally my trips last more than a couple of days. However, there is the lark category of travel. It’s a trip that comes together quickly and lasts just two to three days.

My travel today is a lark. A priest I met in 2016 is to be installed as rector of an Episcopal church in Texas.

When I first met Alan, he was just out of seminary and had been called to serve as a curate, or assistant to the priest. Specifically, Alan was to be the curate to my best friend who was then the long-time rector of a parish in the Houston area.

I liked him immediately. Over the next four or five years, I grew very fond of Alan and I looked forward to Sunday worship and delightful conversation whenever I was visiting my friend.

Eventually he was called to serve on the bishop’s staff in South Carolina. He now serves as rector of the parish in Texas where my son and his family are members. Who could imagine.

I will join my Texas family, my best friend, and the church congregation for The Celebration of New Ministry at St. Martin in the Fields Episcopal Church. The Rev. Alan Bentrup will be installed as the church’s fourth rector.

“Let us then offer our prayers to God for all his people, for this congregation, and for Alan their Rector.”

Traveling mercies.

coda

Just to tie up a loose end…

On my return flight, once again the impossible burger was offered as an option.

When asked which dinner option I would like to have, my reply was: “I’ll have the impossible burger; hold the burger, hold the salad.”

Fine Dining at 39,000’

time to return home

Before I takeoff…

See ya! to my brother and his wife.

Just as the road trip to Tucson was on backroads, so too, was the return drive to Phoenix.

Two road trips in three days called for a car wash. I love car washes! It’s instant art.

Yesterday we met my very special cousin and her daughter for lunch. I’m not sure how any of us managed to take a bite because we talked and laughed the whole time. What a great gift.

Last night, just as the sun was to set, we made a mad dash to chase it down. Made it!

Driving home from the sunset, my sister took us on a drive tour of foliage sculptures in her neighborhood. We ended this day with a smile.

This morning’s entry to Starbucks just up the road. Only in Phoenix.

A goodbye to my sweet sister.

And to my nephew’s wife…my niece.

Traveling mercies.

keeping sabbath

Yesterday was Palm Sunday. We went to church – my brother and sister and I. At one time or another all of us have worshiped at St Philip’s Episcopal church. It was lovely to return.

Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the kingdom.

I bid your thanksgiving for the living culture of the Pascua Yaqui and Tohono O’odham peoples, the traditional custodians of the land on which we worship.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Thanks be to God.