Natural History

What is the natural history of Iceland?

  • The fox is the only native animal to Iceland.
  • The ducks are too heavy and yet the geese can fly.
  • A polar bear is very rare but one was shot on Grimsey and taxidermised.
  • The ravens are hungry at this time year.
  • Some not-brown, not-black, not-grey birds died of starvation and washed up on the beach here.

In more present natural histories, another day of weather impeded activities here in the deep Icelandic north. There were chance wins and unavoidably waylaid plans. The snow was deep and a shovel had to be applied. At times it was like quicksand as I negotiated where each step should go, with each movement needing to be considered. Unfortunately the children’s’ choir was cancelled. The conductor was stuck in the next town because the road was closed due to avalanche risk. Ida from the cafe was another interview cancellation. But I did interview Ida’s son the garbage collector and also picked up a few handy tips on recycling protocols. The makeshift natural history storage site was also visited and another interview done.

The project is taking shape with transcription beginning and themes emerging:

  • Ravens (of course)
  • The heart of a place
  • Powerful nature and waves
  • The in-betweeness of this place