Notes from the Field: 19 September 2015


I chose a path at random, knowing not where it might lead. A farm track took me up the Fossa River, rock colonnades of black and gray and green guarding the near side of the valley and heath spreading away to the distant wall. High country fields, bright with late-season hay, appeared ’round bends in the tracks and sheep trotted away from their foraging, panicked at the sight of a human walking in their midst. I passed multiple waterfalls, each larger than the last, and came at last to a ridge which, once climbed, revealed yet more of the Fossa climbing ever higher into cloud-covered distance. Most glorious, there came a time when I could see my shadow on the path in front of me… Yes, the sun shone, albeit briefly, upon me as I walked!

That was my morning. I got back to my car literally seconds before it began raining. Ah, Iceland… So much like home. In the afternoon I looked at oversized carved eggs, some 34 of them, set around a harbor near Djúpivogar. They are not to life as regards color, for the stone doesn’t lend itself to such, but are accurate as regards general shape and scale and are each labeled as to the species they represent. That was followed by a short walk in some woods (woods here are few and far between) and then , mere miles from my hostel, I came upon the tail end of a rettir! The sheep had already been driven down from the high country and were gathered in one large pen, from which they were manhandled, identified and separated into smaller pens representing the various families to whom they belonged. bleating ewes, butting Rams and yearling lambs seeking out their mothers competed for attention from the dozen or so adults and half as many children. The rettir is clearly a community event to which all are welcome; my camera and I were no exception, the only ‘payment’ being that I email photos as those participating were too busy for such frivolities.

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