Iceland Diaries, Part Two
One of the two portraits of Daniel hanging now on Imba’s walls is just his face, a flowing beard, eyes downcast. More than anything else, the portrait is one of kindness. The other is almost life-size, probably six feet or more, monopolizing one entire wall. There is Daniel in actual old age (as opposed to the old age I had given him at his relatively young age of 58!). He has a long, full, white beard like Methuselah, and his white hair is like a mane. Imba explained that he had Parkinson’s and his hands were no longer steady enough to hold the razor so he just stopped shaving and the beard grew the full, luxuriant length. His eyebrows were longer, bushier, and grayer than ever. It was wonderful to reacquaint myself with him at that time. Imba and I stood together and looked at the portrait. “I think I see fear in his eyes,” she said. “Like he is afraid. He died soon after this.”
I felt so badly I had never seen him again, never visited again until now. How very much I would have enjoyed seeing Daniel and Unnur once more — although our considerable language barrier would likely have been greater than ever. Still, in the interim, Imba’s English had improved greatly and I was amazed that we could actually have a conversation and ask each other the questions that we had wanted to ask for so long.