Tag Archives: earth language

The Language of Iceland Herself

“A volcanic wasteland”? Hardly. Here are some terms to help you navigate the intricate environment of Iceland.

Pile or hillock:

Tussock, or Mound:

Note that on this island, those are both islands. Here’s another eyeland on an island, aye.

Mess, heap or scatter:

Makes you thankful for eye lids! Here’s a nice variation on the tussock and island theme:


And here is a…


Note that it’s in the lee of an artificial pile called a wall. Here’s a variation on the wall, made not of stone but of sod and a couple flowers (in the lower left below):


And as for drifts, well they can be of stone, too, not just of life. When that’s the case, they are alive and are called a flow, as in a lava flow:

Now, put them together in the so-called volcanic wasteland, and you get…

Islands within islands within islands in a sea of sand.

Where the Earth Falls from the Sky

It’s not just in Snæfellsnes. It’s everywhere, really: clods of earth like curds in whey on the ground, glopped out of volcanoes, more made with a plow and seeded with pasture grass, and glops of earth in the sky, called clouds, that shade the earth like stone and make you pull a sweater around your shoulders and look up to the fields of the air.

Clods of Earth Falling from the Sky

The old saying, mocked by the Christian parable Chicken Little, which laughs at a chicken who imagines that the sky is falling, of all things, is given its original context if you stop driving around in Iceland and stand still long enough to become the wind, where the old words aren’t old. Iceland is always full of surprises like this.

This is the original world of the islands of the north that gave us the capacity of speech, and if we call only tilled soil clods now, while the ones from volcanoes are called lava and the ones in the air are called condensations of water under pressure regimes, we still draw a sweater over our shoulders when a cloud obscures the sun.