To my ancestors, blue, white and gold were one indistinguishable colour.
The Road to Rettarskard
If they had come to Iceland, they would have only seen a pink glow of the sun in the snow, so faint they might just not have found Iceland at all. And they didn’t! The colours had to be invented first. I’m glad they did, though!
So many photographs are posed in stillness, framed by contemplation, and drenched with light, yet light is not always about vision or seeing clearly, especially in an Icelandic winter, when it becomes a kind of water you swim through, an aether, the ancients would have called it. They meant the liquid eye that sees before the mind does and only lets the mind see a little of what touches it like a finger to a leaf.
This image of Eldborg on Snaefellsnes was made at 80 km/h on a late December dusk, out of the corner of my eye. There was no time to frame it, and before I registered it was there it was gone. What remains is the look it gave me, this drawing of my eye to it, that I had nothing to do with except trust. This watching haunts me.
Out on the hraun, you are living in the open universe. The Earth’s shadow was amazing, that we left, not towards the golden light shining from across Breidafjördur, but into the shadow, deeper and deeper. It was like swimming in the sky.
If you’re hunting for ogres and trolls, pick your rock carefully, seek around waterfalls, and come in winter, when the world approaches their state. They’re shy. They won’t come all at once. Bring warm gloves and boots. Those are the first parts of your body to leave you for their world.
A rich narrative of non human life forms at Sheep’s Falls. December 24, 2019.
Gunnar said there were ships in the sky, meaning clouds, but if you go to Iceland in the winter, you will find whole mountain ranges in the sky, that appear and disappear, created by the mountains out of the wind off the Atlantic.
They’re not exactly shadows and not exactly mirrors. They are amazingly alive. I suspect that the medium (the wind) does that. The image above is near Arnarstapi, on Snæfellsnes. The glacier is just around the corner: one of these clouds that stayed.
Lóndrangar looks out over the Atlantic at mid-day, in the dim light when the darkness shines as brightly as the sun. It is a time for going inside things, for going in the deep intimacy of a human bodily connection with the Earth. Everything is hushed, and the world is full of memories and future plans.
It is those you walk through, and they look like heather and rock and snow and they feel like wind and cold, and yet you are warm. You are a fire, cupped in a sheltered spot. You make yourself. When summer comes, you walk out into what you have made, and the fire is everywhere. It is now, too, but you must walk very softly. You are inside the sleep of the world.