ENZWELL™ (travel journal)

Enzwell is an Icelandic journal of good fortune in travel. Follow the adventures of Agate “Aggy” Leifdóttir as she explores the countryside.

I.

Inhale and exhale,
repeat if we must,
for around the next bend is Enzwell.

Sometimes we look
and think that we find
a place in our mind that makes sense —
where shadows stay hidden
and forests know trees,
where wisdom is quickly dispensed.
But often forgotten
are magical places
where mazed hearts recapture intent.
The footholds are shaky.
The lessons ride wind.
It’s you, without prior consent.

Do we mind the discomfort —
those feelings that rise
when challenged and put to the test?
Do we worry too much
when faculties fail?
Do we lose sight of all that’s unmessed?
For all it can take
in the life of the lost
are obstacles found on the path:
a shiny new object,
a jagged old hook,
an outlier dodging the math.

When forced to consider
what doesn’t align
what methods to mend are recalled?
Perhaps nothing’s wrong
in the uncertain moments.
We’re somewhere that’s sacred, that’s all.
Let’s promise today 
to forsake the worn paths.
Invite the unseen to compel.
Inhale and exhale,
repeat if we must,
for around the next bend is Enzwell.™

II.

Instead of a master,
the earth teaches her
in peekaboos, shape shifts, and rumbles.

Aggie is shorthand
for Agate Gísela*,
a Nord of extraordinary means:
a rail for a frame,
a hay bale of hair,
a Padawan strong for her teens.
Instead of a master,
the earth teaches her
in peekaboos, shape shifts, and rumbles.
The sum of reveals
would frighten her elders.
Surprise is what rouses and humbles.

Yet nowhere but here
could something so wild
seem tame to a girl of few years.
She holds the rosetta
to translate sand swirls:
a tuning fork pitched to frontiers.
From earlier steps
to the scaling of glaciers,
there’s no place that she’d rather be
than here with the foot songs
on creek stone and splash.
By shuffle or pedal, it’s glee.

Perhaps I should mention
the darkest of hours
that led to her precious free range.
Perhaps I should circle
these lands on a map
where fire and ice interchange.
Yet thinking still more,
let’s wait for verse VIII
to share what might otherwise dull
the luster of Aggie —
her dogged adventures,
her zeal for what hides in the null.

* Agate Gísela = AGG-it he-SAY-la, a nord of extraordinary means

III.

She lives for the twinkle
of grandmother's moments —
the glances that reach past her eyes.

Grandmother is silent.
She rocks back and forth.
She stares out the window all day.
She speaks in half words
Aggie urges forward
to permeate lips and convey.
Yet once every hour,
she walks to the door
and calls for the dog they once owned.
The view never changes.
Their old friend won’t come.
The time marches forward on loan.

When losing one’s mind,
it certainly helps
to have youth and wonder around.
A smile finds a face.
The rocking gains pace.
The silence is less of a hound.
And so this is how
she passes Sundays,
recharging her feet for the week.
She writes in her journal
of jabbering spirits
who still find the will to forthspeak.

She lives for the twinkle
of grandmother's moments —
the glances that reach past her eyes.
They both know the power
in channeling lightning.
They both dry the tears after cries.
They both have survived
the same ugly fate
to share the same roof in the rain.
They both lived to lift
the crippling cloak
that shrouded their home on the plains.

IV.

He turns on a dime.
No sheep can resist
a humorous offer bespoke.

We stop on the shoulder
to tighten our laces.
No cars can be seen here for miles.
A sheep reaches wobble —
his method of running.
The sound of our bikes falling riles.
It’s said that the sheep,
foxes, and wild horses
outnumber the women and men.
A good thing that is,
for sheep are more honest
and chatty than pens full of hen.

Before he could leave,
Aggie calls a ram
to lessen his nerves with a joke.
He turns on a dime.
No sheep can resist
a humorous offer bespoke.
He hobbles back to us
and huffs quite a bit.
He hopes that you'll scratch at what itches.
“Why’d sheep cross the road?”
He stands there, dumbfounded.
“Because they’re in need of some stitches!”

He tips over, laughing.
He plays like he’s dead,
though clearly enjoys the wisecrack.
“This morning, I failed
to scuttle a fence.
But the wire sure loosened my back!
Willy woo, was I tense —
so tense I’d forgotten
the grass on the road’s other side.
They said it was greener,
though I’ll never know.
The pleasure was that I had tried!”

V.

The valley is grand.
The seeping shadows
sooth gashes where glaciers once poured.

The rhyolite rainbow
of Landmannalaugar*
is jewel of the southern highlands.
A favorite of hikers
and campers alike,
the region is full of nigh bends.
You can’t make the journey
without all-wheel drive.
The rivers and rocks are a task.
But once you arrive,
these hills provide rest.
The hot pools invite you to bask.

There’s Ljótipollur**
and Bláhylur*** lakes,
both volcanic craters fulfilled.
The fresh Arctic char
caught here in July
makes for a nice snack when it’s grilled.
But tastier still
is the panorama
that awaits you atop Bláhnjúkur.****
The valley is grand.
The seeping shadows
sooth gashes where glaciers once poured.

The one-of-a-kind
Brennisteinsalda***** squats.
He’s Enzwell’s most colorful mount.
The crimson cascade
is sprinkled in iron —
a tricky ascent some discount.
The pale yellow spots
that dot the wave’s sides
are sulphur from previous bursts.
That indigo path
that leads toward the summit?
Obsidian lava dispersed.

* Landmannalaugar: land-men-nuh-low-ger
** Ljótipollur: lee-owe-tay-pot-lure
*** Bláhylur: blau-hee-lure
**** Bláhnjúkur: blau-yew-coor
***** Brennisteinsalda: bren-nih-steen-shell-tuh

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