Sitting on a dock in Reykjavík.
Carlos let’s the smoke curl from his lips creating the fog that always seems to prelude a memory. He points to a docked ship on the pier next to us and tells of how when he was a boy, he wriggled himself from his mother and, bored of the chatter above him, he escaped from the restaurant and down the dock. The ship swayed, adrenaline pumped euphoria as he climbed the mast to the top clinging proud, fist to hip while onlookers squawked like stupid seagulls below him. “I wanted to feel like a pirate.” Who could resist that urge in a place like this?
Sitting on a dock in Reykjavík, the ocean undulates slowly as if mammoth whales are bobbing under a gray silk sheet just beneath the surface. Cool black mountains lean against a wall of white in the distance, fog hotboxing the landscape, blurring the peaks. Sitting next to the ocean, there’s an undeniable curiosity wandering on the other side of the horizon. Theories of sublime begin pouring from my mouth. Percy Shelley’s poem ‘Mont Blanc’ poetically implores that true sublime, greatness beyond all measure, is held in the unseen of our imagination; the possibility of what potentially lies just beyond our reach. Mary Shelley believed the inverse. By dwarfing the creature against the steep cliffs of Mont Blanc in her famous novel, Frankenstein, Mary casts a stark contrast to capture us in her literary net, reminding us that the miracle is in the comparative grandeur. It is our smallness against the universe that expands the mind’s imagination and sets the scene for possibility.
I have trouble using myself as the frame of reference in this big picture and I wish like hell I could. I think if I had seen myself pressed like a flower along the black pebbled beach beneath Kaikoura mountains, running passed pastel stone houses in the Galway rain, tiny as a bird at the summit of Calloway Peak, sitting on a dock in Reykjavík, I might finally be able to take it all in and understand that it’s true—surely, the world is covered in tiny miracles. Why not try to feel like one? I wasn’t there when Carlos climbed the mast but I imagine when his feet hit the dock he felt differently, like a pirate considering for a moment how boundless the blue world beneath him must be. I slip off my shoe and touch the Atlantic. Ships creek on the tide around us. It mustn’t be the way you tilt your kaleidoscope, but certainly the way you feel when you finally see the world as you imagine it.