It is now easy to forget that Iceland is many different countries united by isolation. Sometimes the way forward is the way back.
If isolation can be connection, can connection be isolation?
When a country becomes a road…
… what then?
When I first saw Svartifoss, a waterfall in Skaftafell National Park, I fell in love. When I approached it in late fall four years later, I fell in love again. It was darker now, and somehow even more glorious.
What’s not to love! Just to the left of the fall, the earth reveals the fall’s real story, though:
Even me. Even you. That is powerful earth magic for sure.
There are horizontal ones.
In a gale, they can be both at once.
We see these falls as paths because we are pathfinders. See the path to the right in the image below? Can’t resist?
Of course not. That is the human spiritual trace. The sheep is an elaboration, and exquisite for that. These creatures are not paths but warmth, hearth and home. Their other form is this:
That is a sheep and a human family, spiritualized as one, in time. This is the water path that makes it possible:
It is one with them, because of human path-finding. That is the spiritual path at the edge of the known world.
These forces of wind, water and air are like primary colours.
Power structures will be expressed in its physical terms.
It turns the earth into a place from which technology is the shelter.
It tries to cast light on this place, because that is what it knows. There are ways.
Even light is water.
Out of the loneliness where there are no words for such light, Icelanders snuggle into the dark and write novels. Then they live in them. Sensible, really. A defensive strategy, although a bit transparent.
While they are at it, they invite foreigners to meet the old world of this book…
While Icelanders wrestle with batteries in the mist then give up and go in for a cup of Nescafe.
The mixing goes on, regardless. It braids old battlefields …
Here a man is wind. If you want to speak with him, you will find him there in the ruins of what can no longer be spoken: like a collection of Grecian marbles in the British Museum.
They are all books. Look at them shouting for attention.
There is, however, still a world.
It’s not what we think. Let us dare to use the old word again.
The one the eye sees before the mind.