16 June 2005

evening walk

I just went on a walk through the neighborhood, in the golden slanting light of the 10 o´clock hour. People were still up, and I could hear quiet conversations, dishes being washed, and an uncanny number of pianos for so small a neighborhood. Someone was practicing "Für Elise" on Vesturgata, and the tune followed me as I headed towards the harbor. I passed newly mown lawns, the edges a flurry of buttercups and phlox, the familiar smells of the flowers and grass blending with that mysterious, as-yet unidentified tang of Iceland.

I continued down to the sea, pausing to scratch behind the ears of a friendly orange cat, who appeared from behind a railing to greet me. Down at the harbor, Hamborgara Búllan was closed, the stools up on the counter, and I encountered a couple with a snorty pug on their evening stroll. He was smoking, so the smell wafted down the path to the ocean with me, mixing with the smell of seaweed, the fuel from the boats, and the last wisps of grilled hamburger smoke.

People were still stirring at the harbor, some coming in from catching fish, some tidying up the boats for the evening, the ripples in the water from their motion on the boat undulating lazily to the breakwater. On the opposite side, sounds of industry emanated from the drydock, where the now-familiar ship Magni had been joined by a much larger ship named Suðurey, in from the Westmann Islands for repairs.

On my way home, I took a different path that was aromatic with the scent of the fresh paint on fences. I meet a few different cats, and a magnificent Irish Setter, who seemed a bit befuddled by my silent arrival. We greeted each other, and I passed through the passage and back home, my footfalls echoing on the silent street.

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