A Traveler’s Moment of Reflection

Sometimes it’s the little things that grab your attention.

There are the famous museums and the great monuments. Every city, town, and country road has its own uniqueness, its glamor both great and small. Sometimes those small bits of glamor capture your senses, and come to define a place in your mind long after you have left. When I went to Iceland I found such a moment – not in the vast verdant wilderness of the country, but behind a gas station in the middle of the city.

I passed by this gas station every evening on my way back to where I was staying. Behind the gas station and convenience store was a little garden. Beyond that, a walking trail led around a lake (or perhaps an inlet of the bay.) I never explored the extent of the trail, or even the depths of the garden, because I only ever came to this place in darkness or at sunset.

The statue of the boy in the garden was a dark silhouette against the sunset. I couldn’t read the Icelandic plaque, even if there had been enough light. I wondered how many lives passed through this garden every day – jogging on the trail along the water’s edge, or enjoying a snack from the gas station. I wondered whose life had inspired the statue.

Here, at this serene spot of glamor in the middle of a city, I found a sight that captured my mind. I had many wonderful experiences in Iceland, and I look forward to going there again for more. But this little stone boy at sunset will always be Iceland to me.

~Oct5 171

Advertisements

These are a Few of My Favorite Words

As a writer and amateur linguist, I love words. People often ask me what my favorite word is, and so I thought I’d answer that question by providing a short list. Of course I couldn’t pick just one word, right? So, in no particular order:

Laulu – this word means “song” in Finnish.

Though I’m not a singer, I love music and song; and to me, this word itself sounds like a song. It’s the perfect onomatopoeia word. Approximate pronunciation: lahw-loo. (I say approximate, because remember I’m a self-proclaimed amatuer linguist, not a translator).

Tusarnituq – this in an Inuktitut word meaning “beautiful sound.”

Not really onomatopoeia this time, but pretty close; it’s a beautiful word (pronounced just like it’s spelled, as far as I know) and the meaning is what I especially like. English, rich in adjectives as it is, doesn’t actually have an individual word for something as specific as a beautiful sound.

Ljósmóðir – the Icelandic word for “mid-wife.”

Literally translated, it means “light-mother.” Approximate pronunciation: lyohs-mothr (Icelanders, please – gently! – correct my poor phonetic spelling, if you’d like). Anyway, I first encountered this word on this blog; Icelanders frequently vote this as the most beautiful word in their language, and I agree. Not only does it sound beautiful to the ear, but the definition embodies the beauty of bringing new light and life into the world.

Wonder – yes, finally time to put an English word on this list.

“Wonder” is all about awe, discovery, amazement, and deep thoughts. I try to live my life with a sense of wonder – appreciating the beauty and awe of the world, and always curious and exploring. And, since several other words on my list are about music and sound, here’s a beautiful song all about the wonder of life and hope.

What are some of your favorite words? Please share!