SSM: “The Geologist” by Megan Cummins

17 May

My mind today is disquiet. There is weather outside, and it is awful. I have a story to write about, I know this. Maybe I’m burning out. Maybe I’m out burning.

Days like today, I tend to reach for Sigur Ros. If you’ve not heard or listened to them, you should. Here. Here is this. Watch this. Listen.

It only makes sense that listening to this, watching this video, reminds me of “The Geologist” by Megan Cummins. It’s an old story in internet years, published I think 2 years ago, maybe 3. The story takes place in Iceland. It has passages like this:

So we stayed. We didn’t know where we would go when the tour ended, when the bus dropped us off in Reykjavik and drove back to its base in Selfoss. But it wasn’t important, not right away, not while he looked and I listened. Rocks: they were art to him, art and beauty and truth and history he could break apart with his hammer. He laughed when I closed my eyes just to hear: the water, the wind, the birds that made noises I didn’t know—when I first heard their calls, I thought a child was dying somewhere, or a cat. And all the beautiful words, the way the language fell like hair to the ground. It made English sound slow, weary, worn out. On the page, the Icelandic words were as full of consonants as they could be; but spoken, they had as many vowels as water. They slid. They moved as the human body does to music, slipping between all the cracks we didn’t know existed.

This story takes place in Iceland. In it, a lady breaks her leg on a trip to Iceland, befriends a geologist who cares for her throughout the tour. It has passages like this:

I even tried to follow to the edge of the water in Vik, to the storm in each wave of the North Atlantic. Walking on crutches in sand: it was a comparison I would use for years after to describe difficult things in my life. I made it only to a cave of columnar basalts; water ran like tears from its ceiling, and I looked up to find the source, but I had found the only darkness in the whole country. Why were the rocks crying? I wanted to ask, but Andrew would have laughed.

I leaned against the edges, let the water trickle down my neck. The columns felt like the spines of books against my back as I let myself rest, breathing heavily, as though I had walked on water and knew better than to think it easy.

This story takes place in Iceland.

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