Sunshine and Sheep in Iceland

Iceland is famous for the beautiful aurora borealis, but for World Hum writer Jason Wilson, the country brings up many memories of sheep. His nostalgic visit to Iceland is described in his article Whistling at the Northern Lights.

“Reykjavík is a wonderful place to lose one’s sense of time. You might be sitting in Kaffibarinn, watching a brilliant Arctic sunlight pour through the windows—then suddenly look at your watch to realize that it’s 4:30 a.m. The corrective, of course, comes when nights gradually start to reassert themselves in September. Early that September, Eeva-Liisa, Trine, and I decided we should leave Reykjavík for a little while. We really need to get out and see the country, we told each other as we sat around a smoky café table.

And so we rented a car and drove the countryside, with the intention of observing the annual, traditional sheep roundup, called the rettir. In Iceland, there are half a million sheep—nearly twice as many sheep as Icelanders—who roam freely throughout the summer, grazing. Rettir is a festive time, full of songs and drinking, as whole farming communities gather together to drive the sheep to a common pen, where they are all returned to their proper owners. It is quite a thing to see thousands of sheep driven across the vast empty spaces by men and women on Icelandic ponies, dressed in orange.”