The sheep of Iceland, bless them, have eaten the place down to rock.
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.
Hey, welcome to Alfaborg, the mystical city of the elves in Borgarfjörðar Estri. The Borg in the west, was the city of men. Here, completely across the country, live the elves, in their own Borg.
Except, until the twelfth century, there were no álfar, or elves. That was an idea imported from France, which was laid on folk experience of all the varied people who came to Iceland and made up its founding lines. This would have been home to the bergbúar, the rock dwellers. East
Not dwarves, exactly. That is a different folk lineage, into which several lines were folded over time, under the effects of European modernization and a half millenium of the consolidation of folk tale into unified stories onto which national narratives could be written. What became known as elves, in a process of consolidation, also originally held the landvættir, or nature spirits. They lived on the land itself. So, this is likely a home of rock dwellers.
Why, landvættir. And here. West
Luckily, there is more to history than the history of nationalism, and more to living on earth than the consolidation of diverse encounters and traditions with abstraction and consolidation.
We are still the earth dreaming.
They will find each other, but will be powerless. Iceland is currently financing itself on this illusion, based on a thousand-year-old tradition of hospitality. The land’s hospitality reveals itself when you turn away and walk for, oh, ten minutes into the earth.
There are also ancient traditions of Icelanders reading this mixed landscape of water, volcanoes and wind. Keeping the tradition alive has never been so important or, under the business, so difficult.
What are fences for?In some countries, fences are to separate herds from grain land, or to divide pasture land, for successive grazing over a season, or just to keep the stock off the road. In Iceland, it’s a bit different. It’s something people learned from the land and tried out.
Now to figure out what is being fenced in, or fenced out! Not these reindeer. They just walk over fences.
Not these horses.
So, like, a halter for the human will!
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.
It also looks like this:
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:
Soooooo, the Danes mine your mountains for sulfur, to make matches, to light their cigars, do they, and pay you in tiny twists of tobacco, for way too long, do they? No problem.Just sell it back to their great grandchildren as nature at it’s purest. Canada and its mining wastelands could learn from this trick! As the old Icelandic saying goes, “everything is hay.” More on that tomorrow!
Yesterday, I surmised that the Nordic eye that is neither thought nor memory, and thus not consciousness, is the body, looking out, and asked what it was that we are looking at with that eye. I suggested vision, a presence of being rendered physical.
If that is what we are looking at, it is quite foreign to the contemporary world. Today, human eyes look out to see the social, at all times.
At any rate, it’s quite different from a human/non-human relationship of being, such as Iceland-outside-of-Reykjavik:
But, here’s the question: is that relationship social, too? But not “social” in terms of human-to-human interactions?
And so, we come, as we seem to always do, to another question: if there is a non-human social relationship, what is it with, or, perhaps better put, what is a human social relationship when it includes non-peoples?