Icelandic cataclysms large and small
It's midnight and I am watching the sun on the horizon, though the light gets most magical around 1 a.m. Tonight after the children finally collapsed at 11 pm, we went birdwatching. Visiting Iceland in the heart of their summer is a bit of a mindgame: the day never ends but summer arrives in, like, two seconds. It's been cold, really cold, and the landscape looks - even for Iceland - rather bleak. And then, poof!, it's sunny, still and 17 degrees celsius.
Our travels with two little ones in tow were relatively easy. The most challenging part was the sketchy airport hotel in Milwaukee. The best part was waking in a guesthouse in Keflavik beneath handmade crocheted blankets to a breakfast of Icelandic smoked salmon, fresh baked bread and homemade skyr. After fortifying ourselves with dark coffee, fish and a family soak in the backyard geothermal pool, we set out for Lake Myvatn, a six-hour drive along Iceland's ring road. Given the time difference (5 hours) we woke late and only set out for our trip mid-afternoon. Which meant when we stopped to view the Golfoss waterfall en route to our field house in Lake Myvatn, it was 11:45 p.m. Messed up.
The trip has already been filled with more cataclysms than I bargained for. This country is a study in big geological events, those I was prepared for. The one I was less prepared for was Kyra's fall into the 4th of July beach bonfire and the terrifying 45-minute drive to the hospital to have her burned hand (and to a much lesser extent, lip) treated. She is fine, healing remarkably well and shockingly not in as much pain as we expected given the 2nd and 3rd degree burns her little hand suffered. The doctor (named Unnstein!) treated her hand, sedated her and released her about an hour later and we got to take her home. We anticipated a long night, especially as the pain relief wore off. Instead she slept all night and woke in a good mood, almost delighted at the big white drumstick her right hand had become overnight. The entire hospital experience here was as surreal as the endless light. The young doctor in Diesel jeans who came to unlock the clinic door and let us in, the sign asking visitors to remove their shoes before entering the hospital and the billing process. As in: none. He told us not to worry about it, it had already been a hard night and we should go home and take care of our daughter.
Today, we watched this little girl of ours not skip a beat. She just ate and played with her left hand and by the end of today, had mastered a pretty functional pincer grip with the exposed tip of her thumb and index finger of the injured hand (see flower-picking above!). Given her cheery disposition, we took her and Milo to some much calmer catalysmic sites: fumaroles and boiling mud pots. Tomorrow, she'll have her bandages changed and then probably master left-handed chopsticks.