I think about death probably more than I should. Keenly aware that its an inevitable part of life, I can’t ever seem to hold back the myriad of thoughts inside my own passing.

When, where, how. The usuals.

And then the why comes. Why does death take place? Other than age or accident, ill health and so on. Why do we have to go? Why do we have to leave?

I’m coming to the realisation that it is because we have to. And more so, we should. Sort of like we deserve it, not out of retribution, but like a chance to pause after a long life.

And as I sit in the bus leaving Husavik, I am both overwhelmed with loss as well as joy. I was a child when I first heard of this country, 8 or 9. And it has captured my imagination for years. A second home, or maybe even a spiritual first.

I desired to spend time here, to be a part of something for longer than a small holiday. I wanted to experience it firsthand, become a local of sorts and find my own way here.

And I did, with the help of the community around me. Vidur, Nills, Alda, Steinunn and more, all pointing me towards journeys that I was unaware of before I came. With kids, with foreigners, with the barber and the supermarket. With boats, harbours, lakes, dogs and hiking. With dinners, ingredients, customs and traditions.

All these people, and those at the residency itself, provided me with inevitable “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

And now, like that oncoming death, I leave. And like death I hope, I leave with a full heart, a bulging mind and a new sense of imagination.

For I know not what is there in the blackness of passing, but I do know what has come before it. And until that day, that minute, that moment, I can only be here, knowing that one day, I will not. 

And that brings questioning, discoveries and joy.

Justin Batchelor