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Over 60...and Getting Younger: April 30, 2010

It’s a Small World, After All!

The volcanic explosion in Iceland affected me in two distinct ways. One, it reminded me of my visit to this North Atlantic Island about 10 years ago. We chose Iceland, just to say we had been there.

The drive from the airport to Reykjavik, the capital, looked like we had landed on the lunar surface. The ground was rutted and barren and there was a sense of desolation. Soon we arrived at our luxurious hotel and the 20th century was more evident. The town was modern and it looked like a small town in the Wisconsin, Minnesota area.

The natives were Scandinavian in appearance - blonde, blue-eyed and tall was the description. My clearest memory was getting an expensive haircut by a 6’2” blonde, blue-eyed beautiful female barber at the hotel. Also swimming at the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal body of water in the midst of winter. Fishing was Iceland’s main industry until April 2010. Then volcanic ash took over.

The Eyjafjallajokull volcano spewed ash all over Iceland and winds carried the particles all over Northern Europe. Norway, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Germany, England and others had to curtail air flights due to the possibility of the ash clogging up the jet engines.

Vacations were ruined; it impacted on the Polish state funeral and turned airports all over Europe into waiting rooms and pajama parties. The ancient adage held true, “Don’t mess with Mother Nature!”

My niece Alana, a student at Dickinson College, happened to be on a geological field trip to Iceland when the volcano detonated. She was studying in East Anglia, England and she left with 12 students to study ecology and heating in Iceland. This was her odyssey home:

She was forced to stay two extra days and eventually fly to Trondheim, Norway. Then she took a bus trip of 13 hours to Copenhagen, Denmark, where she spent two more days. Next, another 10 hour bus journey to Amsterdam, for another day and a half. A ferry ride across the English Channel and then another three hours to East Anglia. Whew! Fortunately the school covered all the students’ expenses.

What is the lesson to be learned?

The daily tribulations of a mortal being are insignificant in the cosmos, when nature is on a tantrum. Lighten up!