a second look
i photographed this sea urchin a number of different ways, and all of the other ways made it look just like a sea urchin. for some reason this angle made me think to myself, “pile of wild rice!” “cookie with crunchies on top!” “debris caught in a water filter!” “bacteria under a microscope!” before my eyes adjusted back to what i knew it was from the start: a very dead sea urchin. the fact that the image made me look twice softened my heart, and i fell in love with this strange photo, over all the other competent and familiar ones.
sea urchin remains found on icelandic beach
new beach routine
most people’s beach routine has something to do with swimsuits and sunblock. mine usually has to do with slow walks while i stare just in front of my feet, or with long stretches of sitting still while i obsessively sweep successive layers of rocks and shells aside, looking for sea glass and other treasures. in iceland i imagined a new beach routine. if i ever lived there, i would become a kelp collector.
icelandic north atlantic kelp
The 45th parallel north runs right through my hometown of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. We have lupines at this latitude, here in the middle of the North American continent. It sort of made sense, then, when I went to Iceland and saw lupines. Sure. We’re all sort of Nordic, after all. Except here’s the deal. The 45th parallel in Europe actually runs through northern Provence…😳 Iceland, at the 65th parallel and 2500 miles north, is at the same latitude as the Yukon, and it only looks like my region because of the Gulf Stream. I love learning shit like that.
pressed lupine leaves from iceland
two terns for tony
we don’t own a tv, and my husband, despite being a food writer, tries to steer clear of the mostly distracting enticements of celebrity food culture. which is a long way of saying that anthony bourdain was not a big presence in our lives over the last few years despite being an outsized presence for a number of years after kitchen confidential was published. but there was a strange gentleness behind the macho bad-boy facade, and i felt there was always a sadness in the cast of his mouth, even when he was supposed to be giving off happy blustery energy. i think he is someone who has been important to our culture as a whole, not just celebrity culture, and we need more people like that on earth, not fewer. so here are two arctic terns, flying over the north sea, immersed in who they are, with no dark thoughts clouding their sure, predatory focus. i wish mr. bourdain had had more moments like that. and i hope you all have more moments like that than like the moment when he decided that somehow this astounding world was not a world worth being alive in.
arctic terns captured in flight above their icelandic nesting grounds
the things she carried
i travel light. unless there is interesting nature at my destination. at which point i travel very, very, very heavy on the way home. a portrait of iceland, STILL blog style.
a collection of nature bits from iceland’s snæfellsnes peninsula