If you haven't yet or haven't in a while (especially if you live here!) be sure to go up to the top of the Hallgrímskirkja tower. It's a stunning view in any weather, even on windy, stormy Sundays like the last one. We live so close to the tower, literally only a couple hundred yards away, and cross in front of it almost every day which means we forget to take advantage of it! So when on Sunday, which was Óðinn's 6th birthday, he suggested going up into the tower on our way home from Amma and Afi's house on the other side of the church, I couldn't refuse. It had been too long since the last time and was such a fun and simple adventure on his big day.
That kind of "local's complacency" is one of the reasons I began this blog: I noticed that I saw things here on our hill (Skólavörðurholt - basically the triangle in front of and to the sides of the church, down to where Skólavörðurstígur and Laugavegur merge; this map is very cool) that the natives did not, or that they'd become so accustomed to that there was little wonder left in them. I did the same thing in Santa Cruz: I didn't go to the beach, only a mile away, nearly often enough. And when living in San Francisco as an adult I realized that I was starting to take for granted the stunning landscape and architecture that other people dreamed of being able to see with their own eyes.
As an example, my mother saw the photo below with this wonderful paved design and couldn't figure out where I'd taken it. I'm sure most of my readers who've been up into the tower have taken a similar picture, and would recognize it right away, but for someone who walks over it many times a week, it becomes a practical blur.
Even though I've always felt a deep childhood connection to this part of Reykjavik (where my parents were raised) it is still totally new to me because I grew up in California. I discovered early on that even though we all adore a good landscape photo, we still love those photojournalistic/street images that remind us of our own personal experiences in a new place. To be able to say, Ooh, I've been there! I've seen that, especially with the little hidden gems sprinkled throughout a town or city, is a fun and intimate feeling. Maybe this concept of renewed wonder in the familiar is what is needed for people to really start collaborating on creating sustainable communities. When we stop to appreciate what we already have, finding ways to maintain our neighborhoods in a healthy way easily emerge.