Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ragnarock Redux

Yesterday, I had a brief conversation with two tourists who have been stranded in New York due to the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. What could be more evocative of Ragnarok than the eruption of a volcano which had been buried beneath a glacier? Ice and fire, hrímþursar and Múspellsmegir, the two elemental forces between which Iceland is sandwiched, both impinging on the lives of the children of the Twenty-First Century.

Given the relatively scant mention of the Sons of Muspell in extant Old Norse literary works, I am inclined to agree with Bertha Phillpotts' thesis that Surtur gained prominence in Norse mythology after the colonization of Iceland. At any rate, Surtur appears to be a completely different sort of supernatural being than Logi, the personification of fire (note the gorgeous illustrations at the linked site!) with which Loki engaged in an eating contest in Utgard-Loki's hall.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Never Did Work on the Blogroll...

I was too busy having- if you must know- adventures.

Living in a part of the country which still has evidence of centuries of human occupation is a wonderful thing because we have (duh duh dununuh) ruins to explore.

The Old Croton Aqueduct, which used to supply water to New York City (the aqueduct terminated in the reservoir which served as the setting of ***SPOILER ALERT*** Caleb Carr's The Alienist), now underlies a trail, which leads from Croton-on-Hudson to Manhattan. The weather being fantastic, a hike was in order- I started at the Lenoir Preserve, a nature sanctuary on the site of two old estates, and hiked down to the aqueduct trail.

A view from a terraced garden to an archway, through which one must walk to access a wooded, precipitous path to the trailway, doesn't this just scream "Here be adventure?":

A closer view reveals crossed branches, seeming to ward off the curious:

A scramble downhill to the Aqueduct Trail, which abuts the site of ruined estates:

Here can be found evidence of a bygone era, a time before the oceans drank Depression pauperized Atlantis now-forgotten tycoons:

Actually, I believe that the "ruins" are part of the original Untermyer Estate, part of which was transformed into Untermyer Park, which gained infamy through a connection with the notorious Son of Sam case. The park itself, rumored to be the site of unhallowed rituals, is definitely worthy of a future post.