Vikings, Trolls, and Monks

by William Bossen Photography

Iceland, a totally inappropriate name.  Though winter is most likely a different matter.  Once I heard that the island received it’s name from a mix up on a map.  Iceland is Greenland; Greenland is Iceland.  Makes no difference really, it’s all green and ice.  Quiet and cold.  Beautiful and wild.

One of those mounts of earth on the outskirts of town is supposed to be the body of a beloved lady troll the locals say.  Who upon her death the citizens paid honored by placing her within a great burial mound just outside the village.  The troll husband apparently became the mountain in some perverse way of thanking the citizens for the honor paid his wife.  His gift being a massive obstacle to the water filled prevailing winds causing yet more rainfall.  Probably seemed like a nice idea, so many are, but in the end just made it wetter.  It’s supposed to be summer now and I’ve been told it’s a nice day from a few locals now, but a drizzly rain has been falling all day with but barely a reprise from the wet or the sun making anything more than a meager appearance.  I guess it’s all a matter of perspective though what qualifies as a nice day. Viking descendants are a hearty stock of people for sure.  They seem to love it here.

It’s very pretty in a quiet way really.  Much of the land is totally unsuitable for anything but nature.  To wet.  The ground to soft.  To wild.  Goats could not graze here nor field tilled for crop.  No, nature owns this land.  She may let some be borrowed or leased from time to time but she will take back what is rightfully hers when she wants.  So much water falls and the earth little above and so near the sea that it creates huge tracks of marshland.  These grand expanses divided by what must be other buried trolls of lesser standing than the mountain.  The alternating mounds and marshes create perfect habitat for dozens of bird species and the animals that must prey on them.  Green is the dominate color over the land with the red of the earth showing through where the top soil has given and fallen under the weight of the the life that grows upon it and the water it still holds.

Walking through the water logged bogs and hills I managed to scare up flocks of bird that laid hidden in the deep ground cover.  Circling in the air above me waiting for my pass.  They new I was no threat but wanted nothing to do with me either.  A nice show really.  The sound of the wings beating and the cries of their voices ringing out in concert with the crashing waves of the ocean beating the shoreline and the wind rustling the leaves and flowers of the fields.

The locals also speak of little people inhabiting the steep cliffs north of here.  They are even supposed to have a secret church there.  I think most people would call these little people elves, I bought a felt wool representation of one for my niece in a git shop, so I would know what to keep my eye out for.  Just in case I saw a miniature run away from Santa’s workshop.  No, most likely they are remembering the Irish monks  that once lived here in the 4th and 5th centuries and built monasteries to pray in peace.  If nature is god then you most certainly could be near here.  In the marshes you could see the signs of ancient structures reclaimed by the land.  Long linear lines of ages old stacked walls a meter high with a foot of moss and plant growing on them.  You could feel the age.  Plants grow slowly here and being so far removed from the nearest settlement and farm home excludes them from being remotely recent.  I would like to have experienced those monks.  What drove them to hide away on what was then so distant a place.  To find a life with trolls and the what remained of the magic that was once of spoken of to be in the world.  Maybe, given enough time nature will restore to us some of that magic by reclaiming by rights what other lands we have leased from her.  I think it would start here.  Might be a nice change.