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How to have an adventure without leaving the city: look out of the window

A crescent moon, shadowy Esja, and a rising sun

Sometimes I have this need to feel poetry in me, to have some sort of lyricism for the world – to want to express the things around me in words. This isn’t always present, and comes and goes. Sometimes it’s inspired by some truly marvellous writing, sometimes by something astoundingly beautiful that I’ve seen. It’s hard to work out what exactly inspires it. When in Aarhus, if I was struggling for motivation, sometimes I felt that if I ran by the shore, between the beach and the forest, I would have the poetry in me restored – the desire for articulation would resurface.

Here, now, in Iceland, it feels dormant in the darkness. But today, on the 10th January, it’s 11.15 and the sun is rising. It has stopped raining, and the clouds are tinged with pink at their tops. Above snow-clad Esjan – the mountain that overlooks Reykjavík – clouds form in ever-so-slightly-curved bands, soaking up just a little of the light that escapes from the sun, and making the mountainside visible for the first time today – the clouds that inhabit its gills and crags hard to discern from the snow that shrouds its flanks. Esja maintains its shadowy appearance, but above its top there is a glimmer of hope, the flicker of sunlight returning. In the opposite direction, away to the south, a crescent moon hovers, still visible in the pale sky, reminding us that night is still in charge at this time of year, and it won’t be long until we are again engulfed by darkness.

Copyright © Jack Threlfall Hartley 2018

A November sunset. Photo credit: Jennifer Barrett 2017

A pre-solstice winter sunset. Photo credit: Jennifer Barrett 2017.