Tag Archives: poverty

A Window into the Icelandic Soul

Here’s the deal. For over 1,000 years, that’s 40 generations or so, maybe more, or about 2.5% of the human experience on Earth,when you wanted a drink of water for 8 months of the year, this is where you got it: from within ice.

Out the Back Door of a Lost Croft on Stekkur

And ice was a power of negation from outside of the world. You had, in other words, to reach into the enemy, right outside of the human world, to survive. And you sent your kids out to get this water. From there. And they did it. And this was called independence; for almost all Icelanders, if you wanted children you had to accept a bargain of absolute poverty like this. There is no moral to this story. Still, when we look at Inspired by Iceland’s images of the country:

Well, just remember you’re looking at 40 generations of Icelandic children approaching the Frost Giants and stealing life. The theft goes on.

My Favourite Farm

Man, the thought of having a wall of basalt and a cinder cone in my backyard, I tell you, nothing could be better.
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If you don’t drive too quickly and get off Highway 1, you’ll find it. It’s a poor, poor farm, but, as Gunnar said, poverty is wealth, because everything the land gives comes straight from faith, as a gift, and gifts are not to be laughed away.

Icelandic Architecture and Icelandic Nature

In the time of Gunnar’s youth, 120 years ago, the pile of stones in the middle of this image were the foundation walls of a house large enough to seek shelter in from winter. It was just large enough to lie down in (and shut the door.) The dog could find a place once the door was shut.

Near Viðivallagerði

 

A man didn’t live there. He lived outside, in what you can see here. The less time spent inside there, the better. That’s why it’s called “the world,” the space of human habitation.

Camping and Poverty in Iceland

Private life in Iceland is often an improvisation. Many people are just camping. p1400630

Reykjavik, Downtown

This misfit between built environments and how people fit into them is profound and nearly universal. It looks like poverty. It probably feels like it. It’s probably a profound resistance, the very one that Gunnar, in a more rural Iceland, called wealth.