Katla

Letter 6

by Allie Whelan

“From the late 18th century onwards, it is no longer from the practice of community but from being a wanderer that the instinct of fellow-feeling is derived. Thus an essential isolation and silence and loneliness become the carriers of nature and community against the rigours, the cold abstinence, the selfish ease of ordinary society.”

– Raymond Williams, The Country and the City.

 

Ice. Ash. Ice. Ash.
Layer upon layer upon layer.
We’re the latest.
The very top.
The icing on the great cake.

 

If you listen closely you can hear it – the whole earth moving, scraping, melting around you.

 

There are no tremors here like there once were.
No shakes, no hints of movement, but you can feel something. Somehow.

 

A breeze dances in with a soft whistle and the midday sun gleams down from the opening overhead.

Inside this crystal ball there is sanctuary from everything but the earth itself.

 

This layer will be a good one, you decide.

 

At the exit you look out over the glacier and you listen.
You hear nothing.
. Not even the ice cracks in that moment.

 

A sight so overwhelmingly otherworldly that it freezes your every thought.

 

A song of silence for the first time in twenty four years.

 

“There are in our existence spots of time,
That with distinct pre-eminence retain
A renovating virtue…
That penetrates, enables us to mount,
When high, more high, and lifts us up when fallen”
– William Wordsworth, The Prelude.