Tag Archives: sheep

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.

The Out of This World Lichens of Iceland and their Gardeners

When cliff faces are too cold, lichen can do just fine by growing in a tension with heat conserving mosses.
But tufts of arctic grass gnawed to mounds by sheep work just as well. Look how purslane, grass, moss and lichens all work together to create a balanced environment, conserving heat, gathering rain, relatively impervious to sheep, and even collecting soil ot of the wind. Clumps like these, and there are billions of them in Iceland, are like reefs on a continental shelf, or miniature planets in the cold of space. The missing co-conspirators? Ah…

 

The Grass Suns of Iceland

These solar systems are navigated by star sheep and humans brave enough to risk turning an ankle. The suns themselves are self-woven by grass, maintaining heat by spherical, or hemi-spherical shape. Sub-arctic climates don’t exist at the level of the grass. Just in the vast interstellar distance between clumps. But that’s what star sheep are for.

Wild Golf

Right. So maybe you see some tractor ruts. That’s tourist thinking, eh.

This is a city in the West Fjords. Yes, that’s the way they look out here. But, more than that…. this is the þingeyri golf course. Yeah, yeah, in Canada where I live, golf is a gentrified sport, reducing indigenous and agricultural land to suntans and beer. In Iceland, it’s a bit different. I like that. A lot.

Note the amenities. Mowing crew.

Spotters. Lookie-loos.

Water trap.

Clubhouse. Air conditioned.

Volcanic grunge. Very challenging.

9 holes, par 78. Watch that ankle. Here’s the first aid team. 

Lumpy bits. But lovely.

Really lumpy.

Real lovely. A bit soggy in bits.

But a great city view.

 

Lose your heart in the West Fjords. You won’t regret it. Fore!

Sheep Don’t Forget

The farm is gone …

…but the sheep still come, hefted to the mountain …

… and to the sea. (To them, the road is nothing.)

The sheep of the sea? Ah yes, these are stone farms.

Very tasty.

Winter barely has a grip on the Reydarfjörður shore.

But… sheep of the sea? Is that correct?

No, they are oyster catchers of the land!

If we moved back, they’d still be there to receive us.