Meg and I recently saw the excellent movie, “Won’t You be My Neighbor.” This movie, about the life of Mr. Rogers, reminded us that amidst the “not good,” the evil, it is so important consciously to cultivate that which is good and loving. In our lives we must do more than merely avoid that which is bad. We must reach out and build up others, be healers and peacemakers, as best we can.
Puffins are absolutely the sweetest, most striking birds. I gave Michael my Canon SX 60 since his hand is steadier when shooting at the full optical zoom. He captured some great puffin images at a coastal location Disa and Einar took us to. The last picture is with my iPhone. Lots of luck and a bit of skill predicting where it would come in so I could get a little better focus. Here are some interesting puffin facts I found on line:
During the breeding season, the puffin develops a distinctive colorful beak, that this becomes dull in the winter.
Puffins spend most of the year at sea, and only return to land once a year to breed.
An extra bone in the pugging’s jaw prevents fish at the tip from falling out.
The puffin’s bill is serrated to help carry fish, and it has be recorded hold 83 sand eels.
Oh, there once was a Puffin Just the shape of a muffin, And he lived on an island In the bright blue sea!
He ate little fishes, That were most delicious, And he had them for supper And he had them for tea.
But this poor little Puffin, He couldn’t play nothin’, For he hadn’t anybody To play with at all.
So he sat on his island, And he cried for awhile, and He felt very lonely, And he felt very small.
Then along came the fishes, And they said, “If you wishes, You can have us for playmates, Instead of for tea!”
So they now play together, In all sorts of weather, And the Puffin eats pancakes, Like you and like me.
-Florence Page Jaques, originally published in Highlights magazine
Fortunately, most visitors return to the parking lot after visiting the Seljalandfoss. However, if one continues west less than half a mile, one encounters the Gljúfrabúi. This waterfall begins high and then disappears into a narrow cleft. It is aptly named, translated as “Dweller in the Gorge.” It falls into a slot canyon, so the its bottom is visible only if you enter a narrow crack, wading through shallow water into a mossy cylindrical chamber.
I had not planned to enter because, despite going behind Seljalandsfoss, my shoes were fairly dry. However, Michael and Sara came out with gorgeous pictures, so I cast aside my fastidiousness over wet shoes. Actually Michael advised me just to balance on the wet rocks and anchor my hand on the side wall. Ha, my balance is still good, but not that good.
As you can see, the trip inside was well worthwhile.
Melting ice from the glacier capped Eyjafjnallajokull volcano leads into the Seljalandfoss ( foss means waterfall in Icelandic). As it cascades 200 feet into a beautiful pool surrounded by wildflowers, evening light creates rainbows in the spray. Erosion has formed a large cavern behind the falls, allowing visitors to walk behind it and enjoy the glowing light as it is filtered through the falls. It is wet and slippery, so a rain coat and good walking shoes are a must to have. Located less the two hours east of Reykjavik just off the “ring road,” it is one of the most popular tourist destinations. It is also found in many calendars and tourist brochures, as its location and beauty summarize one’s vision of Iceland..
Iceland is often cloudy and rainy. We were blessed to have this absolutely gorgeous evening sunshine. I have never seen a waterfall with such incredibly pure, true white coloring.
Meg and I hosted Disa, an AFS student from Iceland while she attended La Grande High School in 1985/86. She was a delightful “daughter” to us and older sister to Matt and Michael. She and her husband, Einar, visited us last July in La Grande. They were adamant then that we reciprocate and come to visit them in Iceland. And so here were are, along with Michael and his wife, Sara.
Iceland is everything the tourist books say it is. Here are a few pictures from the excellent trips Disa and Einar have led us on.
Disa and Einar drove us off road, off the normal tourist routes, to a remote valley where they help their farmer friends gather sheep in the fall.