Tag Archives: troll

Trolls and Invasive Species

Icelanders started playing around with imported North American lupines a couple generations go, to try to stop erosion. The things do stop the land from blowing away, and they are mighty beautiful, for sure, but they’re also a bone of contention, as they change the colour palette of the landscape profoundly and reduce the number of species that can thrive. Nonetheless, it remains an uncertain tradeoff, with some people planting lupines and others tearing them out. One of the species that doesn’t mind is the Icelandic Troll. Here’s one who seems to be thriving among the beautiful weeds.

Strutágil

 

Copse, Volcano and Troll, Head to Head

Birch copse, with path.

Shield volcano, with path.Skogarkot

Both are heads. Literally. The word remains in English as a cob, known in cobblestones (each has a round head) or a cape, which is also a headland, and that’s the Icelandic word: hæð, or head, or height. Remember that for the culture that settled this magical place, these really were heads. And so they remain.

Troll, Just Hatched, at Dimmu Borgir

Learning from the Land

Iceland has pioneered the control of Jökulhlaups, catastrophic glacial outflow rivers, in Skaftafell National Park, by being familiar with the land enough to copy its models.

In addition to the deflective butts of rock redirecting Bæjargil as it streams down from Svartifoss, the Black Falls, there’s a troll in the stream bed. There usually is. That’s the spirit of the rock, just as the water-deflecting dikes are in the distance. What? Did someone tell you that trolls are mythological? No, they are us.