Tag Archives: Nature

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.

The Living Waves of Neskaupstaðir

Out in the nature reserve in Neskaupstaðir (just go right to the end of town), the beach below the trail is gorgeous.

And alive with Eiðar ducks and their ducklings.

Surfing. Scrabbling in the backwash for good things to eat.

In a good wave, the ducklings get tossed a metre into the air, tumbled head to heels, then dragged a metre under water again, only to pop back out.

This is beautiful to watch. For the ducklings, it’s survival. When a skua comes to take one, the whole flock of ducks imitates this scramble. It’s life or death.

I’ll show you that scramble tomorrow.

Paradise Falls: Little Jewel of the Whale Fjord

When you turn off onto Road 5001 at the head of the Havalfjörður to visit the high waterfall Glymur, make note of the gravel parking area to your left. When you come back soggy and disappointed that Glymur is unattainable because of bad weather and high water and muck, why not stop and hike a hundred metres up the stream to Paradisarfoss? She’s a pretty little one, with a fine little forest of wild birches. You need never be disappointed in Iceland.

By Icelandic standards, that’s a very good trail there.

Well worth the trip! And no, this was not sunset. And, yes, the sky was that pink. It was just November 5, that’s all, when a stroll through the rain is like a walk through laughter.

Everyone Can be a Faded Polaroid at the Harpa and Dance with Yoko Ono Now

There is beautiful light in Iceland…

.

… and I mean really beautiful light …

… but tourism survives on images, so the great opera hall, the Harpa, allows anyone to view others as if they are in a faded Polaroid shot from the 1970s …

… or an Agfa shot from the 1960s.

This retro thing, this notion of quoting the landscape in the very moment one observes it, is something the Icelanders learned in graduate school in New York, London and Berlin. It’s charming, but remember …

… every wave that goes to sea in Skagafjörður leaves behind a space for beautiful light. It’s like the sun is right there, you know.

Hólar in the Spring

It is.

The Importance of the Colour White in Iceland

Look, the place is nature, right? And that’s a painting genre and its cultural extensions, so you need white, to balance things.

Fossvellir

White sheep to the left, white sheep to the right, and white hay up close. They all balance the white of the falls. It maintains visual interest and balance. What is a painting without that, eh!

Mysterious, Humbling, Inhuman Iceland

Welcome to the Black Falls, Svartifoss.

I really think no words have ever been created for this, but talking around its edges for weeks would be enjoyable. I think the lichen gets it.

I know the raven does.

Don’t expect your tour operator to tell you about this. It’s not a human thing, and it’s their job to be a good host and look after your bodily comforts. Bodily discomforts, well, that’s for you to find out on your own.


It is not a human world.

Two Views of Nature in Iceland

Nature today is the process of waiting around for a moment of surprise. This hour at Geysir, is a good example.

The jolt of excitement it gives (essentially the breaking of your self-imposed exile from self in the act of waiting) especially if viewed in a crowd against which you can measure your response, is then called the power of the natural world. It is the age of advertising, psychology and science.

Half a century ago, nature was much closer. You lived in it.

It was an age of art. As a result, nature was conceived as a painting, which would then influence its observers in both spiritual and practical ways.

Well, it has grown now, as these tree plantations show. This shaping can still continue and is one of the reasons why art must be defended and continually reinvented in conversation with the earth. It is always waiting. Sometimes you just have to turn around.