Monday, May 2, 2011

Drawing to Write: Thingvellir

Thingvellir is the site of Iceland's first national assembly, and one of the most beautiful expressions of the island's constant state of rupture. The dividing line between the Continental plates is revealed in gorges and ridges that encircle the lake. Constantly divided, it may seem an unusual place for a symbol of national unity. But I like the tension of history and landscape: strangely, the very present sense of a violent geological past deepens your awareness of the unities in our lives.

You come off a high heath to the national park. This is the first glimpse of Thingvallavatn, the deepest lake in Iceland.

The national park is only 40 minutes' drive outside Reykjavík. Here a 2001 study of the waterfall that tips into the gorge. 


My good friend Kári Bergsson took this photograph of me drawing at Thingvellir. It's quite an old picture, and I no longer have the long hair. It received its end when, in 2003, I celebrated submitting my PhD on the Icelandic sagas, so many of which have scenes at Thingvellir, with a drastic but overdue haircut.