Category Archives: Land

Good Fortune at Hraunfosser

The Hraunfosser, or the lava field falls, are really worth the visit, even in winter.

Even in the snow!

Sure, you can lose important stuff in the snow, because you have to negotiate snacks, camera, wallet, hat, gloves, snow, and slippery paths. Here I am after running across the bridge looking for likely nice people and finding them. Look how she takes charge. He should keep her close, I think. (It was my wife who found the wallet and sent me on my sprint across the icy bridge with no people in sight.)

This Russian-French (?) couple was happy to get his passport and all his money back. He didn’t even know he’d lost it when he put on his gloves back before the bridge.

Note how I keep my stuff in a little daypack now. Can you tell it’s a been-there-done-that situation?

Just another day in Iceland! I hope they’re doing well. Meanwhile, back to the light. What there is of it!

Barnafoss

Watch your step! (And do get a daypack. Really.)

 

Paradise Falls: Little Jewel of the Whale Fjord

When you turn off onto Road 5001 at the head of the Havalfjörður to visit the high waterfall Glymur, make note of the gravel parking area to your left. When you come back soggy and disappointed that Glymur is unattainable because of bad weather and high water and muck, why not stop and hike a hundred metres up the stream to Paradisarfoss? She’s a pretty little one, with a fine little forest of wild birches. You need never be disappointed in Iceland.

By Icelandic standards, that’s a very good trail there.

Well worth the trip! And no, this was not sunset. And, yes, the sky was that pink. It was just November 5, that’s all, when a stroll through the rain is like a walk through laughter.

The Magic of an Icelandic Dawn

It is best to leave the city in the dark and strike east. If you time it right, you’ll be right on time. Be right on time. You can sleep later. Now is not the time for sleep.

Heiðarbærjarhólmi

There is a special hour on Þingvallavatn. Right after darkness, it is light. Then the light extinguishes and the world begins without illusion: blue.

The soul rises early. Everything that follows is just light.

 

Trolls and Troll Sheep in Iceland

A trained eye will see trolls In Iceland by looking past the rock. A world of appearances is a world of doors. The country is a folktale. That is not a metaphor.

Some trolls, such as the one at Kirkjubærjarklaustur below, are less retiring, but look more closely. More trolls appear the longer you look.

Here too, to the east, along the South Coast.

And farther to the east. Here you can clearly see the bones from a previous troll meal, that have been tossed below them. Folklore holds that when the sun comes up, trolls are turned into stone. No, that’s not it. They are still there, behind the appearances, which is to say, in the darkness, behind the light.

And yes, trolls keep troll sheep, such as the one below at Dimmuborgir.

The one below at Skriðuklaustur may not appear to do so at first …

… but do turn around. Ah, there they are.

Here’s one at Litlafoss, carrying a sheep on its back.

Are these really “trolls” and “troll sheep”? Well, are the meanings of these words really “things”? We live in a world of appearances, and use language to navigate between them, but the appearances are separate from the language.

To date, there is no other language for these appearances, such as here at Stekkalækur:

And calling this view of the troll environment at Litlafoss geology doesn’t help much, except to produce awe, which is to say, to drive you away, when you might need to learn how to get close.

Truth is, volcanic rock breaks in patterns that matches the patterning of the human mind. This is our environment. The alternative would be to call the appearances an error, which is just too tidy and elitist.

Behaviour like that is enough to make you imagine cartoon trolls …

… above a waterfall full of real ones.

Fossatún

That is a betrayal of the appearances. It makes the world safe. It isn’t.

Stekkalækur

If not honoured, trolls prey on us.