Tag Archives: East Iceland

Those Nice Kids of Reykjavik & the Survival of the Sagas

No straying outside of the lines here! Out on the farm, though? Well, yee-ha!

Maybe it has something to do with a love of books in the city. Used books.

And their rural versions: sheep folds.

Melárett

Doubt it? Look again! Doesn’t look like a window anymore, does it:

It looks like Iceland: fields, folds, and books in one.

 

Yes, But is it Nature?

The sheep of Iceland, bless them, have eaten the place down to rock.

The Icelandic government pays farmers to plant trees.On farms no-one lives on anymore. Along a river diverted to a hydroelectric dam one valley over. Sturluflöt

This was the old road to the south. That was a farm to the left. Below the stone. It would support the trees growing on the scree in the back, but farmers are farmers the world over.

þorgerðarstaðir

They just don’t trust trees. Or rivers. Sheep, they like sheep. So they herd trees, They put them out to pasture.And that’s nature in Iceland: a project made out of sheep, government subsidy and resistance, often all at once. Oh, and depopulation. Iceland is an urban country. Rather than being nature, the land is a kind of ruin. Brrr.Everyone, time to go home. You can so farm a city, just not on work days.

That nature stuff is for tourists.

The Shore of Life

Gunnar Gunnarsson published “The Shore of Life” in 1916, as a protest against the First World war. He had in mind the ring of surf around the Island, through which all life had to pass. All goods coming in and all goods going out, he argued, passed through the hands of Danish traders, or through the vicious surf, which easily turned life into death. He offered an unusual role as writer, but fitting to the Battle of the Somme: sniper. One by one he made us love his characters, then killed them off. It is an amazing and enraging book, as he intended. The metaphor is by no means dead. Note the red surf here facing down the aluminum city of Reyðarfjörður.

Gunnar’s world is far from past.

Getting Off the Ring Road in Iceland

Before the Ring Road, this was the highway to the East.

It is now easy to forget that Iceland is many different countries united by isolation. Sometimes the way forward is the way back.

And this is the high-tech version.

Road crew.

Watch your step.

If isolation can be connection, can connection be isolation?

Roadside Inn.

When a country becomes a road…

… what then?