“Secret Movements of a Puppet Show”

Charles Churchill (1732-1764)

Charles Churchill (1732-1764)

Peace to such triflers; be our happier plan
To pass through life as easy as we can.
Who’s in or out, who moves this grand machine,
Nor stirs my curiosity nor spleen.
Secrets of state no more I wish to know
Than secret movements of a puppet-show:
Let but the puppets move, I’ve my desire,
Unseen the hand which guides the master-wire.—Charles Churchill, “Night: An Epistle to Robert Lloyd”

Iceland 2001: Rainbows and Waterfalls

Rainbow in the North of Iceland

Rainbow in the North of Iceland

We were in the north of Iceland, somewhere between Ásbyrgi and Húsavík. By we, I mean our guide Illugi from Lake Mÿvatn, a group of European twenty-somethings, and me, hobbling around with a cane due to severe osteoarthritis. It was a gorgeous day: Bright sunlight interspersed with rain-bearing clouds. A perfect day for rainbows. It was one of those days when one is likely to behold almost more beauty than a human being can stand.

Iceland does that to me. That’s one of the reasons I am bringing up these photographs from twelve years ago. The image of a place that is at once wild and beautiful keeps coming back to me. On a long bus ride along the famous Ring Road, one sees endless waterfalls cascading down from mountains and glaciers; and the changeableness of the weather makes rainbows frequent and spectacular. Sitting here in Westwood during the endless repetition of foggy mornings and hazy sunshine in the afternoon that is typical of L.A. spring weather, I yearn for the crystalline wide open spaces.

Soon. Soon.

The Falls at Dettifoss

The Falls at Dettifoss

Earlier on the same day that I shot the rainbow above, we visited Europe’s most powerful falls at Dettifoss along the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River, one of Iceland’s largest and longest.