Monday, April 14, 2008

Iceland Trip: Chimes in the Sky

On our last night in Iceland, which was on the same day as the trombone choir concert, we had a 'perfect ending' to an already great day and fantastic week. We took Oddur and his wife, Stina, with their three children, Hildur, Baldvin and little Helga, out to their favorite restaurant. We had a warm, wonderful time, full of laughter and good food!

In the midst of this, I was looking out the window every now and again to see when it got dark outside. The reason was because, when we had lunch earlier in the day in our hotel, our waiter said to us, "Did you see the marvelous Northern Lights last night"? Carol and I almost fell off of our chairs! We were in our room working on the living program notes for the next day's concert, and right outside our window, literally directly above our hotel, were the incredible Northern Lights! And we had no idea!

Well, we couldn't believe we were in Iceland and missed them. We had heard that the best time to see them is in the winter, like February, so we did not think that we would see them in April. But, alas, there they came! And we MISSED them!!

So, at the restaurant, I was thinking that maybe they would come back. Other people said they might because the weather would be cold enough and the sky was supposed to be clear.

So, when the sun set, we all went outside and Oddur drove us to a spot a bit outside the city where there were no lights. And before we knew it, THERE THEY WERE!!! In all their glory!! They were more extraordinary than any photo or movie we had seen of them.

They were ALIVE, moving and breathing in hues of green, pink, white and, I thought, a hint of blue. Dancing and moving like a large hand in the sky, appearing and disappearing. At one amazing point, that now is embossed in our minds, it moved like a row of chimes in the wind, each 'chime' lighting up another with each magical stroke. At one moment, we even thought we felt, in our 'inner' ears, a sound. Perhaps it is a feeling of sound more than actual physical sound. We don't know. But we do know this...

What a gift! A precious natural wonder as a finale to a most wonderful week. We are filled with deep gratitude to Oddur and his family, the musicians, town's people, the country of Iceland and Mother Nature. It was all "Music As a Living Thing."


Lise said...

Hello Norman,

Thank you for taking us readers with you and Carol on your journey to Iceland. It is both moving and inspiring visiting the wonderful places, people and insights you've met there, through your stories. They make the world feel smaller and more warm and friendly. And though I've never myself experienced Northern Lights, I now feel like I have some of the richness of the experience inside.

Thank you!


Oddur Björnsson said...

Dear Norman.
It warms my heart to see how much you and Carol enjoyed your visit to Iceland and that I could play a small part in making it happen:-)

For me it was a dream come true having you over to catch up, play in our section and give master classes and of course to get a chance to perform your wonderful music. You are always such an inspiration.

Many thanks to you both for all the wonderful time we had together here in Reykjavik and all the lessons we keep learning from your great example!

All our best until next time,

Oddur Björnsson,

Anonymous said...


Beautiful words, beautiful sights! Thanks, Gus