Letters Home: Betsy Kepes in Iceland

Hallo from Iceland

Godard- waterfall of the gods with Maxine, a volunteer from Belgium. Photo: Betsy Kepes

The weather in Iceland, even in July, is epic. Two days ago it was so windy was blown over as I carried a bale of hay up a small hill. Yesterday after my volunteer group did trail work in the warm sun most of us had burned faces. And the evening before that it bucketed rain and was barely above freezing.

The high ridge walk we are repairing. Photo: Betsy Kepes

Yes, it is delightfully wild and woolly here. (Sheep everywhere, a special Icelandic breed with a soft, long fleece.)

Twin lambs in front of an old sod barn. Photo: Betsy Kepes

I’m here as a volunteer with the Icelandic organization SEEDS. Eight of us are staying in a farmhouse in a remote valley in eastern Iceland and Porvaldur Hjartar is our host.

Walti at the wall. Photo: Betsy Kepes

We call him Walti as we hear his Icelandic as a soft cascade of vowels and consonants that English does not contain. Walti is a tall man with white hair and a shy smile who can climb a mountain and build a stone wall faster than any of us.

Working high on a foggy ridge. Photo: Betsy Kepes

I am the oldest volunteer (by 30 years!) and the only one from the USA. Our closest wifi begins 2,000 feet above the farmhouse. It takes dedication to be digitally connected.

Until next time, Bless. (goodbye)


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