From Iceland — We Are Drowning In Ash

We Are Drowning In Ash

Published April 21, 2010

We Are Drowning In Ash

Your trusty Grapevine team ventured once again to the foot of the now-dying down Eyjafjallajökull eruption. The scenery was devastating and awe-inspiring; looking over a landscape covered in thick layers of ash, a grey church, muddy rivers and an eerie sense of calm contentment in the air, all the while hearing faint rumbles of the Earth churning out more earth through a glacier a few kilometres away.

Kinda makes you think, kinda makes you contemplate existence and our grounds for being here. Kinda makes you wonder: “How lucky we are, how fortunate this series of coincidences that resulted in us being here, what a mangled web we leave, what a thin string we hang on to.”

Sorry to get all poetic and pretentious and stuff, but that really is the only reaction when one is confronted with a scenery that feels almost post-apocalyptic (or gives a pretty decent taste of what post-apocalyptic times might feel like anyway).

We saw farmers shovelling ashes off their roofs, we witnessed groups of elderly horses being lead to slaughter as they can no longer be sustained by their land, the horizon over there, taken as a whole, can only be summed up as: “the morning after God’s afterparty,” everything covered in ash – the only thing missing were the beercans.

Below are some beautiful shots from that day, by GV staff photographer Julia Staples (if you haven’t yet, check out her awesome shots from Saturday). They are mostly taken in the Skógar area and near the Seljalandslaug swimming pool.

“The rivers ran murky and stunted”

“At first we were not sure whether the air was foggy or ashy. No ash was raining down. After a while, we realised it was a mix of the two. Every time a car drove past, clouds of thick, sandy ash attacked our senses.”

“Not dying, being born”

“The grass underneath this layer of ash was a bright, bright green”

“A deafening silence mixed with an underlying rumble that maybe only dogs can hear”

“This good man was having a sad day. His name is Finnur Tryggvason, and he is a farmer at Rauðafell, under the glacier. He was rounding up some of his horses that needed to be put down due to the eruption. “They are in their thirties,” he told us, “they have been good horses, and I would have liked to keep them a while longer, but circumstances do not allow for that.”

“Take as many pictures of them as you want to,” the farmer told us. “This is the last time they will be photographed.”

“These are awful times,” he said. “My daughter lives in Sacramento, California. I
would up and go there to be with her now, if I didn’t have to take care of the animals.”

“At least the CSI team won’t have any problems tracking down the killer (if someone gets killed around there)”

“We seem to recall this beautiful valley being green last time we were there.”

“Hot tubbing not especially encouraged”

“Shooting dirty pool”

“Men like peeing in freshly fallen snow and making their mark on virgin territory.”

“Nothing, and everything”

“Track marks mark tracks”

“The ground we were confronted with”


“Glacial runoff”

“This is what everything looked like”

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Ísafjörður Calling

Ísafjörður Calling


Show Me More!