Why, to keep the cows in. Of course.
When Gunnar said that, it wasn’t a metaphor.
This scene at Njardvik is wealth. The question might be… what are you going to do with it? Because it’s the only wealth there is.
Old growth timber gets logged in Iceland.
And stacked up beside the road outside Hallormstaðir. Hawthorn City.
Count the rings. I count 23 years.
Back before the Millenia, in Old Iceland, this was a tourist place.
The tourists were Icelanders. In Modern Iceland, men brought in the heavy farm equipment.
And got at it.
When Gumnar lived at the end of the lake, just a few minutes away by car or the length of a saga by foot, there were no trees here at all. Modernity, it seems, is a return to the old world, with fun equipment along the way.
In Langadalur, you can find a country where humans can only exist as the companions of elemental powers. To walk here is to be utterly naked in the universe. To do so with a community of people is no help. You must enter with a community of things, and live within them until you have crossed. What the Icelanders have learned in 1100 years is that when the boat doesn’t come, you had better be good at making a new community of things.
You must halter yourself to the Earth, lest you are blown away. You could say that Gunnar returned to Iceland in 1939 because he loved his land, which is true, that he was romantic, which is also true, that he was afraid, which was reasonable in 1939, and you could say that this fold east of Bifrost is an instance of creativity, which is also true, but those are just words. You pick up the Earth one stone at a time, and move them to create a body that shelters you. It is your companion. It is yourself. From their to haunting is not far.
While government construction is sturdy and maintained.
The Church at Borg
This is not new. Private, circa 1945:
Looking out from the Harpa Concert Hall over the New Harbour in Reykjavik
Well, OK, government-financed completion of failed rich man’s extravagance. That’s part of the picture, too.
In many countries such a dangerous thing would be banned. And people wonder why Icelanders are collectively so creative. Sea monsters. That’s the trick.