Read by Jessy Randall
— Flatey, Iceland
Remember that twisty gravel two-track that crunched under our boots, from hopping off the jetty to slouching into town? No, not even a town. A clutch of green and pale blue houses and a church. There's always a church. And I was saying, "Lily, have you ever —" but then a raspy trrr-tree-ar! and then a "what the shit!" and then a needley flash of black and white zizzed right into my head — Arctic terns will divebomb anything that stumbles too close, so we must've tramped right by oblivious to the speckly eggs plopped down in grassy dimples you can only see if you're looking. Well, now we're looking. "The trick," the old priest smiled, "is to carry a big stick. Not to swing, but whatever comes near, terns will zero in and spike the top of it. So a stick held high could save your scalp." Which would've been good to know ten minutes ago. Stickless, we ducked into church to see the murals a wandering Catalan painted back in '65, in trade for a pew to sleep on and three squares a day. Baltazar knew what he was doing, alright. He ate well all summer. I forgot my bleeding head when I saw his blond Christ in a snowflake covered sweater, not flanked by thieves but arm-in-arm with a pair of sheep farmers — actual locals, twin bachelors who'd only recently died, the priest confided (handing me a bandage), quite happily in their sleep.