26 August: Having been here four days and traveled from Klaksvik in the north to Sudoroy in the south I’m getting a better sense of what so attracts me to the Faroes, which seem at the moment to be two features: scale and setting. I have believed for several years that bigness and high population levels were contrary to establishing good societies. They seem to me to make self-government less feasible, human relations less personal, work and commercial involvement more impersonal—in essence to promote anonymity and with that a lost sense of counting as an individual while simultaneously losing strong connections to group and community, in short losing at both ends. Here in the Faroes the largest city is just over 20,000 and most villages count their residents in the hundreds. Here in Sudoroy, the island counts about 4,600 people and Tvoroyri, the town where I’m based, no more than 900, and it happens to be my favorite community, the one to which I’d seek to emigrate if I were able. The island is said to be about 30km long and no more than 5km wide. In short, it feels built to scale for humans. And, moving to my other point, built for beauty and occasional astonishment by Nature. Not a place where an inflated sense of self-importance would come readily and would be immediate evidence of greater than average self-deception when it did. I stood near the island’s southern terminus in the wind and drizzle this morning, clouds hovering and fog threatening, and watched a small flock of birds below me on a narrow rocky beach moving in tandem feeding and, I imagine, enjoying themselves. They belong and know it. Even the ubiquitous sheep appear to feel it. The stolidity of animals contributes to their appearance of belonging where they are and fitting with the elements that Nature has placed them among. Human awareness of similar circumstances must come easily in a land like the Faroes. Along with gratitude; every time I look up to the mountainous horizon or turn my head to the waters of a fjord or swaying ocean, I feel grateful for such an existence and time to enjoy it.

Photo by Craig Brestrup

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