Whistling at the Northern Lights

Jason Wilson in The Smart Set:

ScreenHunter_01 Feb. 24 15.37 Friends often accuse me of being too nostalgic. By afternoon, they say, I’ve become misty-eyed over what I’ve eaten for breakfast. That’s not completely true, I tell them. I’m sure there’s been a few bowls of cereal that have been unremembered or unremarked upon. But my protests are half-hearted, because I know my friends are right. Case in point: On a recent trip to Iceland, I became weepy at the sight of three sheep grazing in a grassy field underneath the summer midnight sun.

Let me explain that this was my first trip to Iceland in several years. In my 20s, over the course of nine visits, I spent what some might consider to be an eccentric amount of time in Iceland. I would like to tell you that I had a grand purpose — that I was translating the ancient Sagas or convincing the Icelanders not to hunt whales. But no, when I was wasn’t driving aimlessly on gravel roads shooting photos of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, most of my time was spent hanging out in the bars and cafes of Reykjavík.

During one late summer visit, I fell in with a Finnish woman named Eeva-Liisa and a Danish woman named Trine, who were also artfully perfecting their aimlessness.