18 July 2015
After writing my last post, about the attack of the café monster, I came across a stanza in the book I’m reading:
His loathsome head aloft he reared,
With hellish hate he roared,
His slavering lips with froth were smeared,
Vilely his curses poured.
How fitting, with a slight change of gender.
The book I’m reading is Independent People by Halldor Laxness, in preparation for a (two day) touristic stopover in Iceland between visits to family in England and friends in Canada at the end of August. Laxness won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955, the only Icelandic person to do so to date. This book is so stupendously good that I’m slowing down now, not wanting to finish. When I’ve been reading it for a while, I look up and am surprised that I’m not snowed in, that I don’t live in the loft above the sheep in a dirty little croft with a fire that runs on smoky brush-sticks, that I don’t have to eat my porridge or my salted fish. I’m surprised that I’m not surrounded by the expanse of an Icelandic valley, with a stream that floods in summer and is buried beneath ice in winter.
We have had our first big frost, that kept the grass white until about 8 o’clock one morning, but it’s not house-covered-in-snow cold here. Yesterday we were watching bees in the broad bean flowers. They were having to work for the nectar, pushing down on the bottom section of the flower to make their way their way into the base. The flowers are light mauve, darkening in the middle to a deep purple. The brown bees push and scrabble at the bottom lip of the flower. Sun shines on the pale green leaves.