Apr 30, 2010 | Reykjavik, Iceland
Apr 30, 2010

"Quatrains, I think they're called quatrains," I said.

"Right, prophecies, quatrains, whatever they're called," she said. "People talk about a Nostradamus quatrain about the 'island in the north.' About how there will be many baby boys born right before it happens. The quatrain talks about a rupture in the 'island in the north', and then soon after the first rupture, there will be another, and the island in the north will explode. That's what it says anyway. Something like that. In Reykjavik, it seems like every other woman is pregnant right now, and everyone seems to be pregnant with boys. Now that I'm pregnant, I have this weird way of being able to know other pregnant women, even if they don't show it. I can just pass them on the street, and it's like, yes, I know you've got a baby inside you. I can't explain it. It's just this knowing. Everyone seems to be expecting this summer. I'm due in June myself. I know it sounds crazy. But I guess we believe it in a way. Then we also joke about it, because what else can you do? That's the Icelandic way, you know?"

She rubbed her ribs. "His foot is up under my ribcage today, and it feels funny."

She moved in her chair. "This is going to sound strange," she said, "but I think that believing the world is going to end will actually make you live your life, you know, the way you want to live your life."

On the flight, everyone was talking about the volcano. It was one of the first flights since the ash cloud cleared, and people cheered when we took off and landed. "We are lucky," said the man in the middle seat, first in Norwegian and then in English.

"Yes, I've been checking the website," I said.

"But they say her big sister is about to blow soon," said the man. "She always goes second. And she is much bigger. When Katla blows, she will go BOOM! They say she will be 100 times bigger than Eyjafjallajökull. They say we've never seen anything like it. They say her ash will block out the sun all over the world. That there will be three days of night."

In New York, I told the taxi driver I was moving to Iceland. "You're crazy! You must want to die or something!" he said.

"But let me look at you," and he looked at me in the mirror. "Actually no, you don't look like you're going to die," he said to me. "You look like you've got more living to do," and he laughed and looked back at the road.

I stepped out of the airport and smelled the air. I reached down to feel the lava rocks, but mostly felt moss. In town there were strange gatherings in courtyards, secret discussions on benches, frozen cranes, eerie light, and other more familiar signs that made me feel like I was home.