Tag Archives: South Iceland

Volcanic Ash Blowing in the Seljaland Wind

Worried about ash blowing around in the wind? It’s beautiful and mysterious isn’t, and makes your photographs, well, blur.

Seljaland

But if you go closer anyway, look who you will find dancing in the wind.

Bog Cotton!

So, blurriness, you see, is something to walk out into in the wind. When I did, it made me think I was a child of the wind myself. Oh, wait. I am.

Svartifoss: River of Blood

Perhaps it’s called Svartifoss (Black Falls) because it shows itself on a black basalt cliff.

Bad Light Helps One See Clearly Here

Perhaps it’s because the red autumn birches turn black with distance, and still the fall flashes.

Autumn Rain Really Brings Out the Light of This Land

In either case, it’s not the cliff that is named but the water.

It seems that when blackness falls it is visible. Of course, that means it’s not black at all…

… or that whiteness is also a blindness, beyond human life. We marvel. Life, it comes from nowhere, flashes with life, and then returns to mystery.

Svartifoss in Its Pool of Birch Blood

~

Svartifoss, Skaftafell National Park, South Iceland

 

Welcome to a World of Light

It is easy…

 

… to be distracted …

…by ice …

… and its romantic stories of loss and the fleeting nature of experience…

… and to miss the light …

… and the darkness …

… together …

… in the eye.

Glaciers come from another world.

It is a world of light.

~

Jokulsárlón and Skaftafell

Beautiful Systrafoss

Back in the days before lava covered the best of Iceland and people had to move up onto the hills with their sheep…

… the priests of Kirkjubær …

The basalt column marks the old church.

… were famous for keeping a group of nuns, well, orphan girls for the most part, over at Kirkubærjarklaustur, for the pleasure that could be gained from that …

 

… in just the place the Irish monks (who were on Iceland before the Icelanders) were camping out in caves in the cliffs and living off bird eggs (and then abandoned because a bunch of noisy pagans and their Irish women [slaves aka wives] had moved into town), and I wonder, you know, if the priests didn’t choose the place because the falls are like a bridal veil.

Systrafoss

… that flows down the hill separately, splits around the rock (fine Christian symbolism there) and then unites as one — before flowing through the cloister. We’ll never know, but we do know that the young women were set to work embroidering cloth, and that Icelandic cloth was the best in the world. It would be a surprise if the amorous priests missed out on the symbolism, or didn’t point it out to the girls left in their charge. At any rate, the falls are beautiful, and richer for a history older than Iceland, even though the lava took all the best land away, some say to punish those lascivious priests.

Still, the land’s still good enough for zipping through on a tractor, so all is not lost.