Oh, others are showy, but, over time, after wandering over and through many lava fields and stony wastes, the willow’s stunning, low-level, never-repeated poetic lines win out.
The birch forests of Ásbyrgi are not passable, except slowly and in no direction not directed by the trees.
The words for human bodies come from trees like this: body, belly, bone, arm, branch, and so on. Only after these properties were named were the names applied to humans. Before that, our ancestors saw only the trees. In that sense, we are the hidden people, just as much as we are the boughs, beams, trunks and bodies reaching here.
We went to Seyðisfjörður to visit the dwarf church, one of our favourite places in Iceland, but sadly it is no longer accessible except by boat. However, we had the good fortune to walk down to the beach at Skardsvik, on the complete other side of the country, and there was a whole dwarf fortress. Hurrah!
Note the red stone to the right of the opening.
I really love the next one.
Here it is close up.
Always leave a gift. I left a pink flower, as I had no coins in my pocket. (Always carry coins in your pocket. That’s a new rule.) And then, on the road again:
In this way, the land is never empty. In this way, the land is always a gift and never full.
It builds for days…
A dragon curled around its flame.
(Its right eye is just below the middle of the image. This image and the ones of transformed rocks and flowers that follow are taken on Rauðhóll.)
…with flowers bringing stones to life…
An Elf with a Crown of Flowers
… sometimes in humanly-recognizable form…
The Horse Sleipnir Carrying þor as a One-Eyed Moon on Its Back
… and sometimes not (which is the most amazing part) …
.. but then, in the low, late evening light on June 21, the hills rise up around you in the horizontal light. It’s just that night. The next morning they begin to ebb away, not all at once, but you can notice the difference. On midsummer night, though…
… you truly live between worlds and can see the past and future. Lest you feel special, just remember, the sheep see this all the time.
Life is indeed good.