When I moved to Iceland three decades and some ago I knew I was entering a land of earthquakes, geysers and volcanic eruptions. It didn´t stop me.
People back home warned me and worried and wanted to know if I was scared.
I have a Norwegian friend here who always keeps an evacuation bag by her door, ready with batteries, water and tinned food. Just in case ..
I was never scared, I was probably careless or lacking the imagination to envisage the danger.
It is like living with traffic. If you move into the streets you know there is a statistical chance that you will never make it home again. The odds are actually quite good that you will find yourself in some sort of traffic accident in your lifetime, hopefully a minor one.
But that does not stop you from going outside regularly. You do not think about it and consider the risks everytime you run for the bus.
Still the fear might lurk somewhere in the back of you head. And make you take whatever precautions you can.
It is the same living with the risk of earthquakes and volcanoes. Except it is not easy to take any precautions. You are more or less at the mercy of the elements.
We have been blessed/cursed with volcanic activity for weeks now. First we had a nice little tourist eruption in Fimmvörðuháls. It coincided with people´s easter holiday and thousands upon thousands took to the mountains in all sorts of vehicles to get a close encounter. I made plans to hire a helicopter and fly over it.
On the morning of April 14th I read in my morning paper that the eruption was over and no activity was now to be found in the area. I felt a sting of disappointment to have missed it, being too late with my helicopterplans.
And then my mother called and wanted to know if everything was ok.
That´s how I learned about the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull. A large eruption under the glacier spewing ash into the atmosphere like crazy and upsetting my schedule and travelling plans along with the schedules of almost every other European.
Not to mention the lives of people living “undir Eyjafjöllum”.
I always found Eyjafjallajökull such a nice little glacier. White and beautifully situated over the green pastures of Rangárvöllum and Fljótshlíð. Nice backdrop to countless pictures of Seljalandsfoss.