Here on the trail along the Selfljót, this rock stopped me in my tracks. Is it not an old story from the sagas or some old folk tale?
A bearded man (or elf? or dwarf?) on the left, and a fox on the right? There are a lot of rocks along the trail, but this one was unique.
It’s a hard one, but is it better to drive up to Dettifoss and get close to a wall of water, or park five kilometres away and walk along to goroge until you’re ready to see the falls from a new perspective?
Dunno, but when I got this far, I didn’t want to go further, and turned around, to the forest. It was hiding behind a rock and taking on human form.
It was a message. Iceland is full of messages like that.
Could this motherly nudge be why some maps call this “Whale Bay”?
Öxarfjörður in June
This fledgling thrush last summer was, like all thrushes, social and curious. I had one at Skriðuklaustur that perched on the window daily: a small house god, eating insects that came to the glass and knock knock knock knocking on the pane. It’s best to consider thrushes, like trees, as magical creatures from the world of the Huldúfolk, visiting his with messages. Their bodies are doorways. In this case, the bird was caught between fear, and defensive freezing, and curiosity.
Intriguingly, its mother was nearby, keeping an eye out. Like its relative, the American Robin, these little guys get to spend some time alone with the world. I had a robin nest in my apricot tree here in Canada for about five years. Every year, when her hatchlings got too big for the nest and fell out, she would leave them for an entire day and night, and only if they survived that would she return to feed them.
I hiked once out to the Easter Cave in Neskaupstaðir, with a thrush leading the way along the path. Thrushes make good guides. The Earth is strong in them. When you meet one, pay attention. They come with a message.
One special delight in Iceland is to watch water create living forms of darkness, written on rock.
Ásbyrgi, Where Water is One of the Huldúfolk
In the past, the water sculpted the rock. Now it sculpts us.
Some trolls are always in social isolation.
Sléttuvegur (Road 870) in the High Season
Gunnar said there were ships in the sky, meaning clouds, but if you go to Iceland in the winter, you will find whole mountain ranges in the sky, that appear and disappear, created by the mountains out of the wind off the Atlantic.
They’re not exactly shadows and not exactly mirrors. They are amazingly alive. I suspect that the medium (the wind) does that. The image above is near Arnarstapi, on Snæfellsnes. The glacier is just around the corner: one of these clouds that stayed.
It’s worth a five hour hike.
It brightens the day.
In elf country, off in Borgarfjörður Eystri, you can never be sure. Is it a cat? A mouse? A cat and a mouse? Elves playing at both? Or a whole elvish family, complete with cat and mouse, all sharing a long tail?
It was in these dells that the boy Johannes Kjarval herded sheep and slowly became a painter.
Kjarval at Work and Play
Sure looks like a troll!
But just down the beach, check this out:
Did trolls have a war some many thousand years ago, with huge cannonballs, or what? Because this iron is not wedged into the rock from above or behind or any such thing. It’s within the rock. I guess, only the trolls know.
And they’re messing with us.