Getting used to silence

Florence Boucher

In the middle of the month of June, I decided to embark on a trip to Akureyri to see the work of the Table Collective with the rest of the group. Everyone was going, and I felt excited by the idea of leaving our tiny Blonduos, seeing the mountains, and feeling the landscape passing by quickly through the car window. Feel the speed again.

The roadtrip was great, hearing friends laughing was a blanket for my heart, and a herd of horses crossed the street, in a dramatic and spectacular manner. It all felt great.


We arrived in the city, and suddenly my body started to feel out of place. I didn’t know where to go, what I wanted to do. Everyone seemed to have thought of this before: which places they wanted to visit, where the best ice cream was, how to find a cheap fish and chips. Shops, restaurants, streets, cars, supermarkets. City things. Money spending. Yes Flo, Akureyri is a city, and this is where you wanted to go. What did you expect?

I quickly realized that I was not interested in cities since I arrived in Iceland. This feeling was confirmed when I walked an hour from downtown to the camping site, on a road crossed by fields, pastures, a little piece of forest, and breathtaking mountains. I feel a need to be in the tall grass in the middle of nature’s sounds. A silence filled by everything else.

I want to feel like a tiny creature between the mountains and climb them to prove me that I’m big. I need isolation and a huge calm. And not the kind of isolation that distances me from people, but the one that makes me see fewer of them, allowing us to get closer.

I left Akureyri very happy to have seen the Table Collective’s work. I can also say that I enjoyed our little moment in the Botanical Garden, all of us sitting in the grass with live music, having a glimpse of the Icelandic unpredictable summer.

(But yes I was reassured to be back in the silence that I got used to. Not the silence silence, but the birds-howling, wind-blowing, sea-singing silence.)

How sweet, how passing sweet, is solitude!
But grant me still a friend in my retreat,
Whom I may whisper—solitude is sweet. (William Cowper)

Please don’t ask me for photos of Akureyri. I only have a photo of my tent.
And this precarious bridge that Renny and I had to cross to find somewhere to sleep