The Bushwick Sagas: The Young Men Arrive in Iceland

01/12/2010 4:23 PM |

Paul kisses a duck

Part one in our shameless media-whoring gambit to pad pageviews by running a series of Icelandic travelogues from a Bushwick gallerist/academic written in the traditional style of the Icelandic Sagas saw our heroes preparing to leave, giving themselves Icelandic names. Part two, below, sees them arriving…

II. Arrival and Settlement, and the Darkest Fjord

The bird of flight whose fleet provided passage from land of homestead to land of hospice arrived safely in Reykjavik in the deep dark of the middle morning hours. Alongside Pál, Rykkí and Daustyn for the duration of their journey over the sea was what appeared to be a most perfect family. There was a calm and contentedness about them that seemed intrepid, even sincere. “The locals must be as such,” commented Rykkí and Daustyn. And so did Pál agree.

The journey was greatly successful, for it seemed that luck was with them all the way. Luck was also with them once more in making a most useful discovery, which happened upon reaching land. It was learned that one can retrieve packaged belongings, from a place referred to as ‘baggage claim,’ with great immediacy and complete privacy by first spending approximately one hour acquiring far more bottles of untaxable libations than might be consumed by three persons in, for example, three months. And so they found their luggage all alone, circling aimlessly, in this area of claim. This also seemed auspicious.

Local currency was obtained and a chieftain of local transport was hailed. He was bespectacled and very knowledgeable, and he claimed to have what one calls a ‘thing’ for what one calls ‘fast food.’ This came as a surprise. Soon thereafter, Pál Able-Tongue, Rykkí of Archives and Daustyn the Composed received a warm welcome at their place of temporary dwelling in the town center. They found their quarters pleasant and well equipped; they stowed their many poisonous liquids in safe places forthwith.

It was then thought that tasting a bit of poison before breakfast in the yet deeply dark latter morning hours in a new land might be less than a bad idea. And so this was done. Breakfast was then had. Yet since it was had in a state of poor rest and awareness, nothing more about it can be said.

It was agreed that energy was lacking, but it was also agreed that such would be a pathetic excuse for delayed exploration. And so they ventured out. The sun had appeared and would remain in their company for the next five hours, according to certain estimates.

They left their hospice without plan or design; it was thus with welcome accident that they explored productively. Pál Able-Tongue was particularly elated that one of the first things they encountered was a fjord, for he had been longing to see one for a great many moons. Rykkí of Archives and Daustyn the Composed noted that Pál, upon glimpsing and announcing said fjord, rushed toward it with such haste that he first skipped with delight, then ran. No more will be said about this here, at least now, and hopefully not ever.

They then found a pond filled with many fair waterfowl.

They then found Reykjavik’s town hall and entered. No one inside seemed to care.

They then found the Settlement Museum, where the following passage from Landnámabók (1270 A.D.) caught the eye of Daustyn the Composed: “The summer when Ingólfur and Hjörleifur went to settle in Iceland, Harald Fairhair had been King of Norway for twelve years; that was 6,073 winters from the Beginning of the World, and 874 years from the Incarnation of Our Lord.” It was agreed that these were curious time references indeed.

They then chanced upon a fine place called Þjóðmenningarhúsið, the Culture House. Here they found a wealth of information on sagas, manuscripts and Icelandic folklore, as well as several rooms full of all sorts of taxidermized fauna, where Pál Able-Tongue took a certain liking to a certain duck and a certain boar.

This same place also featured an extensive exhibit on the history of Icelandic cinema, obviously, and a café where Rykkí of Archives had what he called a “simple yet sophisticated, hearty and altogether extremely pleasant” bowl of soup. No more will ever be said about that bowl of soup.

Other things were done and other things were seen, and all of those things were successful.

Night soon fell anew, and as the hour became later and the sky remained clear, it was agreed that a journey to behold the Northern Lights should take place. And so it did.

And so it was that in the pitchest black hour in an obscure hinterland far from the subdued glow of Reykjavik, Pál Able-Tongue, Rykkí of Archives and Daustyn the Composed observed in the sky the subtle emergence of bright green striations, whose splendor is famed far and wide. On this phenomenon a great deal more could be said, but since it is generally considered indescribable, nothing more will be said.

Of note, however, is that the place where those lights made themselves most present was high above the variably frozen waters of a most deep, most daunting, most beautiful and exhilarating fjord.

Rykkí of Archives stood in awe. Daustyn the Composed wielded and passed around a fine flask. Pál Able-Tongue uttered, “al di sopra di un fjord, le luci del nord,” at which point his companions left him standing there in a mass of tall, crunchy grasses along the fjord’s contours. This was all considered very impressive.

Upon returning to Reykjavik, libations were shared and a late-night amble was suggested. This was done immediately, and so they wandered around town alone and aimlessly, circling around quite uselessly like certain unclaimed luggage.

Then they found a late-night locus of convenience, exchanged currency for foodstuffs and made their way back home, and there they had an extraordinary and atrocious feast.