Titles by Kij Johnson are available for purchase online

This is my fourth visit to Reykjavik, which changes things. Gone is the astonishment of so beautiful and new a place: what are these mountains? What is this air? You can only visit a place for the first time once. But what I have now is lovely and different. I know the streets and the mountains and the air, and each recognition is a thrill, like seeing Rainier for the first time on a visit to Seattle: That is what I remembered, but so much more than I remembered. And beyond this, there are still (and always) surprises, the smaller joys of interstitial discoveries. I have walked by the harbor before, and admired the fishing vessels pulled out of the water for repair. I see All The Usual Things, and the others, as well. The man is on a cherry-picker, pulling free from the boat’s side a fat, long curl of tape he used to mask a white stripe. Here is a strange centipede spray-painted on a metal box. Someone calls from the deck of a coast-guard vessel; his voice is the singing of wooden birds that Icelandic always seems to me, but ringing in the cold air against concrete and sea water. (Okay, not even that cold, but so very, very bright.)

We walked, we talked, I bought a sweater. E tweaked her leg a little and we soothed it with hot baths and take-out fish and lamb soups from a tiny restaurant a block from this place. I had so much beer in a failiar bar (how do I have familiar bars here?) with a friend from Lawrence, strangely and delightfully enough.

Today, we move on to Stykkisholmur for a few days. Wish us well!