Category Archives: Industry

Non-Human Maps and Great Story-Telling in South Iceland

I hope these two images from show how before there were roads, making a human map of the landscape…

Near Hellisnes by Fjaðrárgljúfur

…there were lavas and rivers …

Skaftá

… making a map at once spiritual and far beyond the human. Traversing them, each journey is its own map, or, to put it another way, every journey is a story, passed on as story. An ideal writing conference in Iceland would go to the heart of this kind of storytelling. All else follows, or leads away.

Gerduberg in Winter

This old farm building below the famous basalt cliff Gerduberg is a good reminder of a changing climate, for even here, in a remote farming district, the wind is taking the soil away. Look at how it is staining the drifts on the hilltop brown.

It means there is no plant life holding it down. No-one needs a farm shelter here any more. Touring Iceland is often a trip through ruins. It’s like a winter trip itself: one freezes terribly in the wind, but can enjoy it because one will soon go in to a cozy room in Borgarnes, with all the lights blazing. It’s a romantic image, though. This is Iceland. Here you can’t go in.

Snaefellsjökull, The Watcher

The volcano was an island-volcano off the coast, before a completely separate volcanic event raised a ridge of volcanoes out to meet it and then past it into the Atlantic. It watched them come.

It watched humans come, too. Some go there now to watch it. Others go to be watched by it. It measures the distance between those two points of view.

Spot the Gull! A Fine Icelandic Tourist Game

See her?

Up here in North Iceland, with the cities far away, one makes one’s own fun. When you tire of the Spot the Gull game, you can start in on the spot the troll nest game, which is just as much fun.

After all, Gunnar Gunnarsson moved to Denmark and became a writer, not precisely in that order, because he was given a walnut for Christmas, and raced its shell down the parsonage stream, imagining it was a big sailing ship. So, if little Gunnar could do it, we can look more closely, too.

Hvallág

I wouldn’t play this game in Reykjavik, though. They might think it kind of country bumpkinish. As they thought Gunnar was.