Tag Archives: West Iceland

Going Deep in Iceland

At a certain point, you see with your chest, not with your eyes. Here with the tide rushing out at Kolgrafarfjörður at sundown around 2:30 pm on the shortest day, the light might be in the air, but it’s really in the water, which you “see” with its substance.

In other words, light is a substance as well, which this photograph, which can only capture the energy within it, can only hint at. You have to be there, because only a body can experience this.  However, renting a car at Harpa at 10 a.m. and rushing out to Snæfellsnes, and back to Reykjavik in time for a quick snack and the 8 pm. Northern Lights Bus Tour will only keep you in the light’s energy. You won’t become the sea. There’s not just one Iceland in the same place at the same time. And it’s not just the sea. It’s the Earth as well, here from Ríf four days later, looking up to the glacier.

I think this is what Gunnar Gunnarsson meant in his 1936 essay “Thoughts on Nordic Fate” (Nordische Schicksalsgedanke), when he spoke of salvation — not in the modern sense of rescue through Christ but in an older sense, of the healing of separation. His answer was to go home to Iceland, but I’m not sure it has accepted him yet.

Or  has  it?

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.

The Dwarf Castle of Skardsvik

We went to Seyðisfjörður to visit the dwarf church, one of our favourite places in Iceland, but sadly it is no longer accessible except by boat. However, we had the good fortune to walk down to the beach at Skardsvik, on the complete other side of the country, and there was a whole dwarf fortress. Hurrah!

Here’s  the gate.

Note the red stone to the right of the opening.

And  some  of the  finer  details…

I  really  love  the  next  one.

Here it is close up.

Always leave a gift. I left a pink flower, as I had no coins in my pocket. (Always carry coins in your pocket. That’s a new rule.) And then, on the road again:

In this way, the land is never empty. In this way, the land is always a gift and never full.

Learning to Tilt in Iceland

The land teaches that all falling is not vertical.

Hamrahlið, north of Grund

Good to know.

Grundarfjörður, west of Grund

When we were there, parents were being advised to walk their children under 12 to school, as the hurricane-force winds might blow them over. The older kids could tilt, it seems, like everyone else.