By the time Road F35 changed from paved to gravel the landscape itself had changed. The thermal zones of Geysir gave way to a landscape that was open and vast, punctuated by table top mountains and grassy volcanic plains. My traveling companion Adam and I were bound for the highland region of Kerlingarfjöll to begin an 11 day workshop scouting trip. The wind was picking up as we drove deeper into the highlands which certainly became an issue for us later that evening, but for now we were content to marvel at the landscape and moderate weather. After cresting a small bluff, the road dropped into a sweeping grass covered valley, and I saw sheep moving off to the right. Ahead of us was the large table top mountain, Bláfell with a wind driven cloud sitting over the summit, giving the appearance of an erupting volcano. I was thinking that there was an image to be made here.
The concept of place, and our connections to place, are powerful expressions in how we view our world. The Black Church at Búðir is one such location, that for me, expresses a powerful sense of place and identity. On a recent past blog post I wrote about this church located on a windswept point in a harsh landscape For me the church emotes a sense of hope, civility, and simple community which I think is a fitting concept for a Christmas Eve post.
Sometime after my first trip to Iceland in the summer of 2017, I developed an interest in a cultural event that happens regionally around the country in September, known as the réttir. As we drove around the island, I noticed the ringed pens that looked like wheels with spokes and after an inquiry about their use, was told they were sorting pens to separate sheep after the fall roundup. Of course sheep in Iceland are prevalent. In fact they are everywhere from open pastures, up in the highlands, on hillsides above waterfalls, to grazing along the ring road.