May 25, 2009

Iceland Expedition - Part 3

Moon over Puffin City

Another adventure from Iceland as reported by Bearbirds, who also supplied these great photos.

"I'm going to visit the puffins," Bearbirds said.

"What are puffins?" I asked her.

"They are birds. You mustn't come along. It would be too exciting for you."

"Oh, dear Bearbirds, I promise to be as good as gold!"

"Okay, but you have to stay in my backpack!"

I agreed and we walked along the shore for one hour or more till we reached a big rock. Bearbirds climbed up. I peered out of the backpack, but all I saw were shrieking gulls.

Suddenly Bearbirds whispered, "Look Edelweiss, there is a puffin!"

A funny looking bird was sitting on the grassy part of the slope. It had a black cap over its white face and a big orange-red bill making it look like a parrot. Then another puffin came flying, but it had difficulties to land. Like a human who opens his parachute to break his fall the puffin straddled its legs with its orange diving fins. But it stumbled, felt on its back, got balance again and then waddled around in its black tailcoat like a penguin.

The two puffins didn't pay attention of us. They were so clumsy, it would be easy to catch them, but I wasn't allowed. Now they began to argue.

"Really, this isn't a nice place. Let's fly back to our last year's rock!" the he-puffin said.

"No, it's much better here. Think over what happened to our youngsters last year," answered the she-puffin.

"You haven't yet seen this place by night!"

"But I have asked the others. Here are no artificial moons deflecting the youngsters."

"The sneaky humans are everywhere! They have erected so many moons in and outside of their nesting holes just so that our youngsters are not able to navigate by the moon as we have taught them. They will get lost between the big human dwellings both here and elsewhere," he muttered.

They turned away from each other and stared at the sea.

Then thousands of puffins came flying out of the water. They landed, toppled and toddled around with great dignity.

Eventually the two puffins turned and faced each other and the discontented one said to his companion:

"In Moon's name, let's try here."
It sure was exciting to see the puffins, even if I had to stay in Bearbirds' backpack. They looked rather tasty, but I think with their stocky bodies and large beaks they would have made cat food, er...mince meat...out of little me.

Love & hugs, Edelweiss

May 22, 2009

Iceland Expedition - Part 2

Lost in water

The next days we stayed at a lonesome horse farm in the great river plain. On the first day Bearbirds was sitting in the guesthouse starring out of the window and tearing her hair in despair.

"Look, Edelweiss, everything outside is under smeltwater!"

"Gut Ding will Weile haben - good things take a long time, you always say. It will ooze away in a few days."

"But meanwhile - what shall I do here?" Bearbirds shouted. "Nowhere can I ride or hike!"

I nodded compassionately and slipped out. Through mud I sloshed to the farmhouse to meet Skotti, the resident tomcat. We sat down on the windowsill and looked out: A man was balancing on a small plank over the water to reach the stable.

Bearbirds tried to stumble through sludge, snow and mud. Between ducks and geese a snipe was stalking around a tuft of grass. I licked my paw.

"Don't try to catch it. It will lure you in the bog. You would get very wet and dirty," Skotti said.

Next day I walked with Bearbirds on the gravel road. Outside the fences we met a herd of horses, then we reached the river bank. Between black lava sand the glacier river was carrying ice floes to the sea. Bearbirds was interested in a seal and I was watching a couple of red-throated divers.

Later Bearbird was riding her horse along the same road, but it stopped by the herd and didn't want to go on. I heard it grumbling:

""The devil's own horseshoes! They could have chosen another fool but me to be shod for carrying an untimely, stupid tourist!"

It stopped such slander the next day when Bearbirds was holding a switch in her hand.

"I have to resign to my fate," the mare muttered and trotted to the river bank willingly.

The last day the free living horse herd broke down the fences and invaded the farm meadows where the water had decreased.

"They are like humans. Who is restricted wants to be free, but who is unattached desires fences," Bearbirds said.

I have to think over this question carefully even if I belong to a freedom-loving folk.

I hope you like the Iceland blogs and great photos, courtesy of dear Bearbirds.

Iceland has such haunting beauty, don't you agree?

Love & kisses, Edelweiss

Iceland Expedition - Part 1

It's been a long time since the last blog but I am glad to be back. I've had an exciting time in Iceland with Pop's dear friend, Bearbirds. Here is the first report of my Icelandic adventure, as reported by Bearbirds. Here I am hitching a ride on Bearbird's backpack.

The snowshoe lesson
Last month I took the plane to Germany to take part in Bearbirds' third Iceland expedition. I thought we would start immediately but Bearbirds said: "Gut Ding will Weile haben" (Haste makes waste) and prepared and packed for days. How boring!

Eventually we went to Denmark, took the ferry and arrived in Iceland three days later.There was a lot of snow in the mountains and we were going to try out our new snowshoes at once. The snow was very soft and it was a nice and easy walk till we reached a steep slope.

"Be careful", Bearbirds said, "there is a river under the snowbank."

I love snow but I hate water and I didn't really like to fall down through the snow in a hole full of running water. But the sun was shining warming up my fur and I forgot the hidden waterholes.

"Come on!" I shouted to Bearbirds, who had sat down on a rock at half height of the slope.

"I can't see the next marking pole," she said.

"Don't bother about it, we will find our way," I answered.

"You two, you are a bit silly, aren't you?" We heard a whispering voice and faced each other. No, this was neither Bearbirds nor me. Who had spoken?

"Sit down, Edelweiss, but take care of us," it whispered out of the ground.

I looked down to the small snow-free space around the rock. Between old grass, moss and heather some little flowers raised their lilac heads:

"We are the vetrarblóm, the winter flowers. We are the first who come out braving cold and snow. We are the forerunners of the summer."
"But why do you call us silly?"

"Because you are going to break your legs on your first day in Iceland," the vetrarblóm whispered in chorus.

After some thoughtful silence Bearbirds said, "You probably are right. Let's go down, Edelweiss, and many thanks to you, dear vetrarblóm."

The little petals nodded slightly in the wind.

Stay tuned for Part 2.