Tag Archives: islomania

The Best Way to Approach the Sea

Sideways, so sly?

Or head on, so bold?

With a house for company?

With a fence for (ha ha) protection?

Or with a sandbar to still that water down until it turns to swans?

In snow?

In the midnight sun?

From halfway down a ridiculous cliff called, for some reason, a road?

From the land of the dead at the bottom of the cliff?

Among muck-raking sheep?

From the city?

From a place on no map?

From a boat?

From a coal mine?

With a lighthouse?

Through a gate while tipping over in the wind (a common affliction)?

On a lazy evening when horses come to visit and refuse to eat your apples because they’ve never encountered such a strange thing before?

At the end of the road?

Without a road at all?

When the sea turns to silver?

When silver turns to the sea?

When the sky rains gold?

Over the mouth of a river?

Or when the sea flows into a river’s mouth and speaks of deep mystery?

These are the mysteries of people who live after the landing that makes firm ground out of waves that, wouldn’t you know, is not so firm after all. Yeah, best, maybe to just wade out with the trolls.

Waiting for whatever comes!

Reykjavik’s Wall Against the Cold

Why does Reykjavik build a wall to separate itself from Iceland?

To keep back the sea, perhaps. On an island, this may be the way: one is always blocked by water. It can be comforting. As things evolve, however, blocking behaviour become internalized, and then when your colonizers give you cars, why, you can always drive around, right? There remains no price for blocking … or does there? Or does “driving around” still not untie an old, old knot?

Shipwrecked in the Beauty of the Northern Sun

As the sun sets over the Skagafjörður and the peninsular pillar of Þorðarhöfði, the waves bring it onto the black sand beach of Gardssanður with a promise of dawn.

And not just of dawn but of eternity. Maybe it’s not definable otherwise, but it sure is here: Eilíifð, roughly translated as “eternity,” better as the “living on”, in the sense of survivors (such as settlers in Iceland, in the midst of such a sea.) Such is the haunting pleasure of islands.

Going Around in Circles in Iceland

Volcanic crystals plus water equals islands everywhere.
Well, OK, wind and sand, too. In that case, they make water and the stones in water. These are deep patterns.Even volcanic gasses and earth. In that cases, there are islands of air.Life follows the same patterns.So do dwarf stones.And humans? Well, look.

Even when you don’t expect it, there it is. You can never hide in Iceland.

Island Life

This is Iceland. It’s not so friendly to human life, really, but it is sold to tourists, who want “real experience.”


The image below, made out of the experience above, is “art” in Reykjavik. It is sold to tourists, who want to be warmly received (and want to stay warm in a place not so friendly to human life.)

That’s the art of Iceland: remaining hospitable. It is a kind of mercy. Art and beauty are reduced to a line of thought here, in a language of “eye” and “body” but not so much of mind, and that line is reduced to gentle gestures, lest the bodies of visitors scare.The language of mind (below) might just scare them off.

I’d love to see Iceland market it. Such beauty lies there.

Why aren’t shipping containers, repurposed as homes, sold in souvenir shops in Reykjavik? I think it’s because Icelanders want to give people the experience they came for. They’re generous like that.

Not that there are polar bears in Iceland, but what the heck. The practice speaks to a tremendous self confidence, and the secrecy of all islanders: everyone is the island.

All who come remain within the gesture of arrival, until they choose to either leave or stay. Everyone gets to decide for themselves. No one will help you… unless you get lost. Then you will be brought back and warmed up, and will be once again within the gesture of the island itself. It’s the same if you try to leave. You might find  yourself leaving and staying all at the same time.

The island is the one doing the speaking here. Humans are almost speechless in its face.