Glacial Pace

Turning 50 is a major milestone and I was lucky enough to be in good company since many of my friends are close in age. My 50th birthday was in late September and Melisa’s was in early November, so, we were Birthday Buddies. When Luisa surprised me with a trip to Iceland in celebration of my birthday, I texted Melisa to tell her the news and she told me she was going to Hawaii. Hot and cold! So appropriate for middle age.

Today, we’re teaming up and writing about our trips. Each of us chose a favorite picture from our trips to share with everyone.

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A trip to Iceland in the winter sounds crazy to a lot of people. I told friends that the trip was like leveling up for Minnesotans. Winter? We laugh at winter. We’re made of winter. We eat winter for breakfast.

One of the places I wanted to visit most was Jökulsárlón, a lake in Iceland known for it’s glacier lagoon. We stopped there as we were heading east to our hotel. The wind that day was bitterly cold and strong but we walked down to the shoreline anyway. We were so cold - even in our layers (fleece jackets under down coats), neck warmers, hats and gloves - that it was hard to enjoy the views of the mountains, the glacier, and the lake. We snapped a few pictures and agreed to head back to the car. Given it was at the top of my Must See list, I was disappointed.

However, the next morning, we had another opportunity to stop at the lagoon and the weather was perfect. This was what I had hoped to see and this time we were able to explore without fear of hypothermia.

 Jökulsárlón Lake Photo Credit: Vikki Reich

Jökulsárlón Lake
Photo Credit: Vikki Reich

I stood at the shore, looked around, and felt so lucky. What a gift to see such rare natural beauty. I found peace there - in the rush of water and in its calm, in the glimmer of the sun on ice, in the hundreds of shades of blue, in the mountains that made me feel small. Life feels hectic much of the time and the news is hard on the heart and mind. But standing at the foot of that glacier and breathing deeply, there was only quiet - internally and externally.

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We took pictures. We looked at the mountains and the glacier. We watched ice break apart and float away. We wandered over to the black sands of Diamond Beach and watched seals swimming around the ice that glowed orange in the sunlight. We took deep breaths and held hands with little need for words.

As I write this now, I think of the phrase “glacial pace.” I know I’ve used that phrase many times when frustrated with something or someone going too slowly but I’m going to think of it differently now. Yes, glaciers move slowly but that gives us time to linger with their beauty.

It’s taken 50 years but maybe the memories of this trip will help me remember to take my time, breathe deeply, and enjoy the moment.

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Are you ready to leave the land of ice and head somewhere warmer? Head over to Melisa’s blog where you can read The Spirit of Aloha.