Tag Archives: waterfall

The Secret Origin of Icelandic Horses Revealed at Last

Icelandic horses are very beautiful, especially in a winter gale. Icelanders will tell you that their ancestors brought them over from Norway by ship. Sure, guys.

Let me take you behind the curtains of that little deception. It might look easy to be an Icelandic horse…

… but like being an Icelander …

… it can be a little rough. Really tough on the hair, for one.

Not only that, but tense, like.

Makes a horse a little crazed, you might think.

Watch out for your ears.

Yeah, but that is all because horses didn’t come over on boats from Norway and continue on to create America out of a lump of clay…


…just as Icelanders aren’t vikings but the descendants of Norwegian farmers and their Irish slaves, who came here for the good hotdogs.

As for the horses, they live near waterfalls. It’s a thing.

Svodufoss

Note the horses being born above. You can just make them out below, too.

The paddock is nearby, where humans can keep an eye on the miracle.

Hólmskelsárfoss

Miracle? Yes. Here’s a foal just about to be born in the stream coming down from the falls.
Hólmskelsá

That’s how it works in a magical country. That the resulting horses look like the horses you might meet elsewhere, well…

… that’s part of the magic, too.

Now you know.

Welcome to the 21st Century, Gunnar

 

Gunnar argued for the independence of Iceland during Germany’s military struggles of the 1940s, on the principle that the land is written in the chain-linked patterns of the Icelandic sagas, with the suggestion that the Icelanders wrote the sagas in response to the chain-link rhymes of the land.

Grundarfjördur

His observation is obvious. Equally obvious is how poor a tool such observations are for deflecting a military conqueror. Less obvious is the point that when you are from the land and have nothing and yet have to do something, you use what you have. Still, the approach has its dangers. It might stress one form of pattern, for instance, but it obscures another. So, let’s look at Gunnar’s saga again. This time, note the story of trolls and ogres written in the rock.

Gunnar was a humanist, a twentieth century man. This tale of ogres and epic battles is one he could have told as well, including how it generates the water of life as cold passes into warmth. That he didn’t is an example of how writers adapt to their audience. It is also an example of how we can re-read them, and free them… and us.

 

Water at Land & Land at Sea

It’s a tricky Island, Iceland. Sometimes water finds itself at land…

Breiðafjörður

… but at other times land find itself at sea.

Húnafjörður

And then there’s Reykjavik.It’s a port city. You can’t tell the two apart there! Even  the  opera  house  has portholes!


If you just stay in Reykjavik, you might mistake it for a city. That would be a shame.

 

Icelandic Travel Trip 1: Instead of Gulfoss

Well, you can go to Gullfoss …

…with the crowds.

Or you can go to Gilsáfoss. It’s not so large, but it has spirit, and an ice troll, if you go in April.

Gilsáfoss

Easy to get to, too. Drive east from the airport for 8 hours, turn left at Egilstadir, follow the lake through Hallomrstadir, and then, 30 minutes later, if you don’t stop to let the reindeer pass along the way, which is a fine reason to stop, for sure …

 

 

 

You’ll find it at the end of the lake, just upstream from the old bridge in the middle of this image. It’s the last stream before you cross the lake to the north side.  Have a nice trip! The ice troll is waiting. Gulfoss will thank you.

Worlds Within Worlds

 

Light tells its own stories in Þingvellir. We are here to witness. It’s no surprise the Icelanders first called Christ “White Christ.” He was the north, that place from beyond the world. Who nonetheless came, physically, as this Earth, in a harsh and beautiful mercy.


Oxarárfoss