Tag Archives: environment

Walking on the Shore of an Ancient Sea

It’s always a great day to walk out on the shore of the sea, where the seals and eiðars once swam. The sea might change its level, but that’s a bonus for us.

Neskaupstaðir

And the eiðars demonstrate just what it was like here long ago.

Easy does it!

Wildflowers taking the place of eiðars.

Trolls and Invasive Species

Icelanders started playing around with imported North American lupines a couple generations go, to try to stop erosion. The things do stop the land from blowing away, and they are mighty beautiful, for sure, but they’re also a bone of contention, as they change the colour palette of the landscape profoundly and reduce the number of species that can thrive. Nonetheless, it remains an uncertain tradeoff, with some people planting lupines and others tearing them out. One of the species that doesn’t mind is the Icelandic Troll. Here’s one who seems to be thriving among the beautiful weeds.

Strutágil

 

The Problem With Cairns

In Iceland, the major architectural monuments from the past are also way-finding cairns of stones passing across inhospitable terrain. They were essential for commerce and the maintaining of a low technology culture in a harsh environment. They are now essential links to the past, as important to Icelanders as, say, the pyramids in Egypt or the Strasbourg Cathedral in France. In other words, they led somewhere, and still lead somewhere important, even as people continue to try to read them.

Aimlessness at Þingvellirvatn

Unfortunately, many contemporary visitors to Iceland, being humans and liking to make their own presence into lasting magical gestures, a signature of their kind, obscure the landscapes with their mark-making. Please don’t. It’s ugly and aimless. They don’t let you do it in Paris. Respect goes a long way towards creating beauty.

In Iceland, Everything is Hay

It used to have trees, and it is eaten by sheep. A little bit of replanting has been done. Here are some Siberian larches in East iceland, placed in like a quilting block.

One works with what one knows. Everything else is a compromise. Spiritually, as I showed you yesterday, the compromise is between paganism and Christianity. Environmentally, it is between earth before and after settlement. Below is an image of Iceland flowing to sea, which is called the force of wild nature.

Well, yes… wild nature with sheep and shivering humans. Iceland is not an indigenous nation. It is a nation of settlers. Settlement is an ongoing process. It is at the root of the country’s past and future. This is what it looks like.

Baa-aaaa!

It also looks like this:

Reykjavik

And this:

Kirkjubær

The point is, when you live on a sub-arctic island, and keep sheep, everything is hay, as the Icelanders say, meaning that when the hay runs out in the middle of the winter you will feed your sheep anything — anything — to survive. Even this:

Yes, in Reykjavik even John, Paul, George and Ringo are hay. And danish beer is hay, too.

Baaaaaaa.