She lights up the city even now.
By loving her, we warm the cold.
Let her keep bringing us together.
For the answer, go to the Northeast.
Bustarfell, near Vopnafjörður.
Note the multiplicity of small houses, all that turf and driftwood and the strength of a horse can manage …
… with many dark passages leading to faint light…
… sometimes brighter…
…and all joined together by spontaneous organic design…
It’s improv theatre!
This is the kind of history the Icelandic National Museum doesn’t cover. Best to get lost on your way there, I think.
I know, it’s a thing to chase after waterfalls, but consider the lowly Icelandic driftwood fence. It’s a charming tradition, speaking of past pain set aside.
It doesn’t really do anything except to remember, but it’s a fine artwork nonetheless. It catches the mind and holds it, and that is… well, that’s memory. Cool.
In the 1970s, A-Frame housing, cheap and easy to build, was all the rage in Canada. We were being very modern and Scandinavian back in those years, two things we’ve given up. We also soon grew tired of living at a slant and having half our floor space unusable (not to mention bonking our heads). I lived in a house like the one below for two years.
After that, we all gave it up and invented the 1980s, which was all about rectangular solids painted to look like California, with Tudor trim. In Egilsstaðir, however, the 1970s are still alive and well, because, well, it’s Scandinavia and, also, they couldn’t afford to throw anything away. And it’s still modern! A lesson for us all.
Iceland is a society of cairns. Cairns are artificial humans made out of stacked-up skulls, which allow the living to find their way in the footsteps of those who came before. Here’s one in the Berserker Lava Fields.
Here’s one in Borg.
And an artful one in Reykjavik.
And back to the Berserker Lava Field, where a modern cairn, a 4×4, moves as the driver anticipates where you are going to be, but you have to show up there to find it. Unlike the others, it isn’t a visual cairn. It’s more like one or the whole body.
Skull training starts young. Here’s a pretty standard kid’s playground, with a build-it-yourself dragon.
The dragon you make yourself is not the one that’s going to hurt you.
The land teaches that all falling is not vertical.
Hamrahlið, north of Grund
Good to know.
Grundarfjörður, west of Grund
When we were there, parents were being advised to walk their children under 12 to school, as the hurricane-force winds might blow them over. The older kids could tilt, it seems, like everyone else.