I didn’t know that Thursday or Iceland could get any better. I would have bet against it, really. Everything in my pocket, kind of a bet. Both fists kind of a bet.

After all, the morning was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed. Any where. Any time. Any place.

We got up early and made our way to the harbor, and set sail not the high seas of the mighty Atlantic. We bobbed and weaved our way into the “mystic” for about an hour and went hunting for the first sighting of a whale.

Can’t imagine Leif Erikson ever doing this, especially in a wooden boat. Especially with the 4th of July fireworks-like explosions of volcanoes all around. Especially in the dead of winter and the ice of water. The Norse man had to be a horse man, riding the seas like Bill Shoemaker on Ferdinand, I imagine. No fears. Just riding to win.

We saw a couple of whales roll around in the water like a Kentucky pig in slop. Leigh Ann caught a glimpse of a dorsal fin. And, we saw the ocean fowl dive bombing the blue for the freshest seafood in the North Atlantic.

The wind blew hard through our hair, and the thoughts of yesteryear danced images in our brains. Freedom. It was pure, unadulterated, mind-boggling freedom.

But, little did I know or care, it was only the beginning to a day that rendered so many thrills that I must have appeared to be a 9-year-old boy riding a roller coaster for the first time.

Each trip up and down brought new sights and sounds that trumped the last one. Each whip around the next turn made the eyes and mind burn with excitement and joy. Each mile of this journey was filled to the gills with thrills that made goose bumps and throat lumps.

After lunch, we rented our first Iceland van and embarked on our own trip into the countryside. With Bill Sears guiding the vessel and his trusted first mate Greg Schell at his side, we journeyed into the unknown. On a mission to see Iceland on our own.

What we saw was a gorgeous little country church nestled perfectly in-between a mountain range and an ocean base, with a water fall filling the cup of the entire valley basis as if God — himself or herself — pouring graciously from the pitcher of life.

What we saw were Icelandic horses grazing from the greenest grasses of Planet Earth, and looking up to make an introduction with the newest invader with just a modicum of interest. A gaze. A look. A wave of the tale. And, then back to grace.

What we saw was a gigantic glacier peering over the side of the mountain, like a flowing, mass of white hair from the dome of the most handsome man.

What we saw was a group of plump and rotund white sheep, meandering the steep slopes of mountain life — more interested in the next morsel than spending a single second with human intervention. And, yes, there was the occasional black one that would stray from the herd. Reminded me a lot of me.

What we saw was rain so pure that it danced on your tongue like angels of water.

What we saw was a rainbow — filled with every single color imaginable, including magenta — that stretched all the way from the tips of the mountain base all the way to the edges of the ocean. The colors so brilliant and bright that they blazed through the sky like a midnight rider carrying the torch of life.

One end of the rainbow settled nicely on the green of a local golf course. The gold obviously filling that cup like a putt from Phil Mickelson.

The other end dropping into the Atlantic like a bait only an experienced fly fisherman could negotiate so delicately and precisely.

What we saw were two rainbows. One isn’t enough in this paradise. It had to outdo the magnificent with a double ribbon of life’s paint brush. The rainbow had to have a rainbow of its’ own. Just had to.

What we saw was a world of make believe actually come to life. In absolute living colors that are impossible to describe and difficult to reproduce and capture.

What we saw are things I have never seen before.

What we saw are things that I doubt I will ever see again.

What I saw was heaven.

On Earth.

On an Earth that we take for granted each and every day.

On an Earth that gives so much more than we deserve.

On an Earth that is so full of life that we never stop to love — with tender care.

On an Earth that that is so truly amazing.

On an Earth that is so truly awesome.

In short?

Things got better. A lot better.

(Our black beauty / Photo by Kelly Sears)

(A dip in the blue lagoon / Photo by Leigh Ann Thacker)

(The sun peeks through the Icelandic flag on our boat trip / Photo by Kelly Sears)

(Our toast to life)

(Our stop at the little white church in the valley)

(The rainbows of life)

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(My newest friend / Photo by Leigh Ann Thacker)

(Cuddles of love / Photos by Leigh Ann Thacker)

(God’s house…on God’s earth / Photo by Kelly Sears)

(Leigh Ann and I walk together / Photo by Kelly Sears)

(My newest office…what a perch to write, right? / Photos by Leigh Ann Thacker)

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(Blue Lagoon gang)