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Friday, December 09, 2011

History Happened Here

from Wiki commons, by Wolfgang Sauber
I've been thinking about Eiriksstadir a lot. In part because I picture my orcs living in a very similar climate to Iceland* (shocking, I know). And in part because I really would like to see it with my own eyes one day. It seems like it would be a powerful experience, whether Erik the Red actually lived there or not. There is something tremendous about standing somewhere which housed someone so many years ago -- and someone so different, part of something so completely other from what we know. And the more I look at pictures of Eiriksstadir, the more I can't help but dream stories for the people who lived in the same manner.

I grew up in the Northeast United States, and when you drive down the Interstates in New York, there are all these "history happened here" sites and placards. Almost every major rest area has one, giant, blue and gold. Some incidental something related to the revolutionary war, or the civil war, or some other piece of American history that I just can't get excited about, because there is nothing to see. There is no lasting impression, no mark upon the earth, just some words on a sign. And sure, the building of Eiriksstadir has been rebuilt and reconstructed, but there was enough left to SPEAK of what was, and some one took the time to give it more than just words on a sign, to bring it back to life.

Europeans lived so much harder on the earth. They left footprints and dug themselves deep. Comparatively, America is just a child, and the people who lived in America before the Europeans came, lived so much more lightly. No matter how hard New York State tries, it is just never going to have the depth of history that a place like Iceland does -- just as Iceland will never have the depth of history of Greece.

from wiki commons
I've never left the United States, but the only history I have ever loved has been outside of it. The only history that has ever felt ALIVE to me, is long, long dead. And I want to walk the earth and know that with every step I take, history happened, so thick in the air, in the ground, that it would not be possible to mark it all with signposts.

Also, Eiriksstadir just looks cool. Turf houses in general just look cool!
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*There is an AWESOME picture of Eiriksstadir in the snow at this blog. And when I think of Orcs living on mountains, it is almost exactly what I picture in my head.

5 comments:

  1. Lovely post. I can relate. Also, love how you phrased the "living lightly" on this earth. Great pics too!

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  2. Turf houses ARE awesome you are SO RIGHT.

    Also, I loving the "dug themselves deep" part too. Very true.

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  3. They are! But... you know, there's history going back a LONG way in the Americas too. When I was researching for my book 'Troll Blood' I was looking into early North East coast Native American traditions and culture from way back - try this 1623 account of a missionary trekking up the St Lawrence http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/aj&CISOPTR=14172

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  4. I love the way you said, "history happened, so thick in the air, in the ground, that it would not be possible to mark it all with sign posts." Sigh. <3

    And yeah, turf houses are great! Even their name is awesome!

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  5. I know how you feel. I'm privileged to live in Germany where you'll step into history pretty much the moment you leave the house, and a few hours drive will bring you to the place where Arminius defeated Varus and his legions, where the German tribes sacrificed to their gods, where Holy Roman emperors were crowned and died, where bishops schemed for power and merchants bartered their wares.

    And other European countries are easy to reach; it's just a few hours drive to France, the Netherlands and Danmark, or an overnight ferry trip to Scotland or Norway (if you don't want to fly) with yet more castles, cathedrals, battlefields and museums.

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