Settling in, settling down

Florence Boucher

Settling in – to stay, to rest

After traveling around Iceland for two weeks with my partner, a small car and a tent, I felt ready to stay in one place. The month of May was still cold, and the idea of having my own bed, in my own heated room, was (more than) exciting. A true luxury. I was also looking forward to discovering new rhythms in Blönduos. To try a slower pace, one that allows for deeper observations and a sense of familiarity with the place. To make home.

The very first day, I entered my room, the one that I craved so much when I was shivering in my sleeping bag. I was surprised to find myself a bit disoriented in that empty little nest. I immediately started to move the furniture. I unpacked a few rocks and skulls that I had collected during my trip and aligned them on the windowsill, pretending to be Georgia O’Keeffe. I placed my books on my tiny desk, orchestrated a mess as if I was already living there. Ok, I’m ok.

My first week in the residency was allocated to long walks where I discovered the abandoned port, the secret beach and its pebbles, some mysterious marine species, my favorite rocks, the forbidden island full of geese, the smell of the slaughterhouse, the sound of the river, the sound of the birds, the sound of the constant wind. I wanted and tried to grasp everything. But the knowing, the familiarity, demands slowness. So I tried to walk every day.

Settling down – to calm down, to transform

Inside of me I have something that makes me want to constantly move. I am struggling with constancy, regularity, or any kind of routine. I have a lot of trouble sitting down. While settling intentions for the residency, I wanted to challenge myself to live a simpler, slower life. In Blonduos, dullness felt good. I remember Jessica Auer talking about living in the isolation of Seyðisfjörður. She mentioned that the limited possibilities relax her nervous system, and it stuck with me. I found myself happy with a quotidien of walks, going to the pool, working on my projects, reading, writing, cooking, running, talking, talking, listening. Nothing else, except maybe going to the thrift store on Tuesdays.