miðvikudagur, október 10, 2012

guð hjálpi hundunum

... project winding down--


--Bless you! And so, the company will ... 

You just said "bless you" to the dog. 


It's only polite, after all. 

Yes. It is only polite.

mánudagur, júní 18, 2012

í Danaborg

Legsteinar, but no longer liggjandi.

laugardagur, apríl 21, 2012


The Icelandic word for personal space is mannhelgi.

The element helgi has to do with sacrality: you see it simply meaning "the holy" in the names of saints, such as Ólafr inn helgi -- Olaf the Saint or Saint Olaf. It's an old word, though, stemming  from an old concept of marked-off space. Territorial rights extending beyond the national border proper are landhelgi. For Iceland, an island, this is in practice territorial waters, famously extended 5, then 20, then 100 miles from the rocky shores. This extent is not "holy" in a sense familiar to most people in the modern, vaguely Judeo-Christian West. It is more like whatever animates the idea of to helga sér land like the first settlers of the island when they circumnavigated their claims, shot flaming arrows over them, or performed other ritual actions that said this is inviolate, marked off for me, to me, made mine in a way more than simple property and grazing rights. How else would one understand them? They did not make fences, ditches, defensive works. What they did do must have been meaningful.

I like this idea of holiness, of sacred space. In the modern West, it feels almost like a secular sacrality. That's probably because we've forgotten this other, older notion of the sacred.

I kiss the dog on the nose and he moves his head away. I have violated his hundhelgi. I apologize to him.He does not understand my words, nor my intent, but I do it anyway. It is meaningful on a ritual level.

laugardagur, mars 31, 2012


"They sneeze at moments of high emotion."

Dogs are strange animals, at any rate until one truly imagines things from their point of view. Then they make very good sense. If they bark at passing trucks, it is because when one barks at approaching trucks, the trucks very obligingly take the hint and go away. Obedient creatures, really. If they shy away from strangers' hands, well, what makes you think any right-thinking person would be comfortable being pawed at by total strangers on the street? I wouldn't be. I might bark at them too, I might. I might even bite.

The sneezing, though. Prancing around in hopes of enticing me into play, he may sneeze explosively. Also at the prospect of going for a long-awaited walk. I laugh at him.

But I sneeze in bright sunlight. It's been explained to me as a short circuit. My visual receptors flash awake and fire a signal up my optic nerve, fair enough, but the nerve must in my case lie a little too close to my lowest sinuses. The electrochemical flare leaps and I feel it like obnoxious tickling pollen and I sneeze. The dog never laughs at me, busy tugging me down the stairs into the morning.

Something must be firing wildly in the head of a prancing dog, his heart so full of feeling, his brain overwhelmed with zooming pulses. Joy must tickle his nose.
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