Autumn in Iceland

fall colours and snow-topped mountains

fall colours and snow-topped mountains

It’s always a little bit sad when summer ends. You first start to notice the nights getting dark in the beginning of August, and by the end of August, some mountain tops will already have had their first snow fall. By the middle of September, the valleys have started to bronze and the trees have become fiery shades of red and gold. By the end of September, the leaves have blown all over the place, but bits of green still scream for sun as a few summery days still pop up here and there. It starts to rain more, and every day is literally 9 minutes shorter than the one before, so the nights come noticeably quicker and stay longer every morning. The strange thing about autumn is that it’s probably the most beautiful season, but one can hardly call it a season since its over as soon as it begins; after 4 months of summer come 8 months of looming winter and noone really knows where the fall went or remembers anything about it until next fall. You can’t really pinpoint when summer and winter meet to make the autumn, but at some point it feels like you fell asleep on a summer night and woke up on a winter morning.

herding sheep through the snow

herding sheep through the snow

After the horse season ended, I went back to the east to chase sheep in the annual round up ´réttir´. However, after an early snow storm and some other uncooperative weather, it became more like a hide-and-seek sheep-search instead of a chase; they were much harder to see in the melting snow, and a bunch of sheep were dug up from their soon-to-be snow-graves. We couldn’t even do the sheep round up on horse back, as is custom because Fljótsdalshérað is such a huge area, but instead of taking 3-4 riding days, we had to use snowmobiles, 6-wheelers, a bunch of dogs, our own feet and some walking sticks to cover the area. There are still some hundreds of sheep missing, so the round up goes on, weather permitting.

Mjölnir

Mjölnir

I went east this weekend to collect a horse. Not just any horse, but my horse, my first and only Icelandic horse I can call my own. It was given to me over a drunken conversation on the last night of the sheep round up by a nice farmer named Magnus. We didn´t discuss many details, but he held true to his word and I showed up with a horse trailer and took him without any further questions. I only recently found out he´s a 6 year old, 5 gaited horse from Kollaleira, which has some very good horses and I can´t believe the luck I stumbled upon to just have him. If I had searched far and wide across Iceland for my perfect horse, and could spend a pretty penny on one, this is probably the exact horse I would have chosen.

The wedding couple and my mom

The wedding couple and my mom

My aunty got remarried in September, and my mother came for the wedding since she´s her sister. My Aunty Myrtle has lived in Iceland for more than 30 years and blends in alot better than my mom who showed up with her dark skin and Chinese features wearing a sparkling Indian sari to the ceremony in Laugafellskirkja. It was a wonderful wedding, probably the happiest wedding I´ve ever been to, but every wedding you go to seems to be a perfect day so its hard to say if it was really the best  wedding ever… but still, close.

an autumn sunset

an autumn sunset

The sunsets seem to get brighter and more beautiful as fall draws to a close, with red and purple skies flaring up earlier each evening. I´ve spotted my first northern lights already and look forward to seeing more and more in the star-studded sky I had almost forgotten about. This fall has gone by particularly quickly. The days of smelling like horse and spending more days in the mountains than civilization just ended abruptly, and I was thrown back to the life’s reality in Reykjavik where reverse culture shock and my unfinished masters thesis awaited. I escaped back to the countryside a few times in September, once to chase sheep, once to collect Mj0lnir, and the other time to ride horses and eat reindeer lasagne in Hvanneyri. There I was reminded yet again why autumn is such a beautiful time of year, since the dark skies and falling rain can create so many, spectacular rainbows and I probably saw twelve in one day that weekend.

so many rainbows

so many rainbows

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