by Marilyn Crockett
We flew Icelandic, Tony and I, with its stop in Reykjavik and we really did stop in Reykjavik for three days, I think. I liked Iceland for its oddness, little multicolored houses with corrugated roofs lining streets punctuated with little trees. The open, treeless countryside had its great falls, not as great as Yosemite or Niagara, and its hot springs, not as dramatic as Yellowstone – but all interesting. I liked the sheep turned loose to graze and the feeling of being in a Bergman movie with the Icelandic language surrounding us, so Scandinavian in sound.
But our real destination was Zermat and the Matterhorn. Tony, an Australian with a physics PhD from Cambridge, the English one, had the English climbing bug. I had gone along with jogging, hiking, and even two lessons in rock climbing, ever the cooperative girl-friend. Not that I did that well. My jogging on the paths around the Cloisters was intermittent, walking when the grade was too steep or when I just felt fatigued. The hiking, most interesting at the Delaware Watergap, was a plodding thing. I looked forward to the picnic with a demi of wine at the top. I met my match with the rock climbing. I did not like dangling off a rope and rappelling. I never got the hang of it, bouncing against the side of a vertical cliff. The first lesson went fine with a pro instructor that Tony had hired. But on the second try, I got stuck on the face of the cliff – sandwiched – and I could not go either up or down. Tony to his credit had the strength to pull me up. The misery of that moment surpassed my embarrassment. Continue reading