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, …
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.
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.
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.
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.”