On Light and Loss

The day before I left for Iceland, I barely got out of bed.

I did not attend my family's Father's Day festivities, I did not attend the birthday celebration of my best female friend, and I did not make it to the going away event of the family friends I've loved so long I consider them to be my bonus set of parents. And I did not die. But only just barely. 

I'd told everyone I would not get on the plane to Iceland. I couldn't fathom flying when such heavy panic was knotted around my soul.
But neither could I imagine staying home and still living to see July. And so it was, that on the longest day of the year, I boarded a plane to the far north where the sun would never set.

I hoped so much daylight might lift me out of the deepest kind of darkness. 

Hours and hours into the flight, the plane slept all around me. Meanwhile, I couldn't stop neurotically flipping open the window shade every ten minutes hoping that a sunrise would tell me we were nearing our destination. But instead, to my surprise, in the stayed darkness, electric green lights breathed just beyond the wing of the plane.

On the day known for drowning the world in sunshine, the northern lights had found a patch of darkness in which to dance. 

And then, the pink of dawn nipped at the horizon and grew and grew until it nudged the greens out of the sky and welcomed in ten days of midnight sunshine. And, in truth, days of endless radiance did not resurrect the losses in my life or even heal the gaping wounds.

But Iceland is vast and sparsely populated and for the first time in a long time, it felt like I was supposed to be alone.

And when my grief-imposed insomnia struck, I wandered through the tundra under the midnight sun and breathed across the trails with not another soul in sight, and realized kind of liked hanging out with myself. 

And in truth, though I soaked up those days of open road and glimmering waterfalls and midnight hikes, I quickly began to tire and longed for night to fall. Something deep in me knew that for all the glamour of summery sunshine, that I'd be relieved to get on a plane toward a place with constellations.

My soul needs darkness to recharge, to dream, to hope, and to practice the art of looking for magic just before the dawn.

Breeanne Matheson


 I made this Coin Spinner Ring with a coin from Iceland for Breeanne.  Something tangible to remember her trip.  

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