Saturday, May 16, 2009

L’Anse aux Meadows

From Iceland’s wind-blown heights,
Viking mothers look out on the sea
where heaving waters
surge and fall and
swallow stalwart sons
who plow the depths
to harvest sustenance.

At heaven’s rim an ancient god
in eagle form sits silently
and stares; stirring into flight,
his wings send winds
that blow on men
and cover all the earth.

From a hollow vik, Bjarni
sailed for Greenland’s shore
to visit with his father.
The eagle’s wings
pushed his long boat far away
to a place unknown by Norsemen. From his bobbing craft
he looked upon the treeless
shores of Helluland.

But a new land
was not Bjarni’s quest.
He sought Greenland,
found his father,
never went viking
while his parent lived.
Leifur heard the wondrous tale
and searched the sea
with thirty men to find the land
that Bjarni saw.
When he found the place
he went ashore. Skraelings,
dark and naked, came to see
men tall as trees with
hair as yellow as buttercups.

There were fruits
where white man never
yet had gone, nor
tasted of its bounties.
He called it Wineland
for grapes voluptuous on the vines.
With fruit and timber
Leifur started for his home,
to tell of strange places,
and people stranger still.

Iceland was astir
with Leifur’s saga.
Thorfinn goaded to adventure
took his wife, and
an expedition to settle
in the new found land.

At L’Anse aux Meadows,
amid wilderness and wild men,
Snorri came to Thorfinn
and to Gudrid, the
first Caucasian born
in Iceland’s colony.
Five hundred years
would pass before
Columbus came for Ferdinand
and Isabella to claim for Spain
the world that Leifur found.

D. Gary Christian
Santa Clara, Utah February 16, 1999

Friday, May 1, 2009


Bjornlaug was born 13 June 1861. Her parents are Eyjolfur Gudmundsson, born 11 October 1829 in Illugastadir, Tjorn a Vatnsnesi, Vestur Hunavatn, died 19 October 1913; and Valgerdur Bjornsdottir, born 9 September 1828 Litla Borg, Breidabolstadir i Vesturhopi, Vestur Hunavatn, died 11 December 1916.
Bjornlaug immigrated to America with her parents Eyjolfur and Valgerdur; they had joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1883. Eyjolfur and Valgerdur and eight of their children emigrated to Spanish Fork, Utah via North Dakota and Helena, Montana. Somewhere in their travels to Utah, Bjornlaug must have met Boas Arnbjornsson, born 3 August 1855 in Ytri-Kleif, Eydalir i Breiddal, Sudur Mula; they showed up in Spanish Fork together in 1885. Boas’ parents are Arnbjorn Sigmundsson, born in 1810; and Gudny Erlendsdottir, born in 1819. They were married on 6 September of 1885. They changed their last name to Anderson.
They had seven children: Bjorn Nul (1884-1885), Thurren Gudrunbjorg Runolfsson (1886), Elenbjorg Ellen, Kari (1888-1966), Boas Eyjolfur Bruce (1891-1937), Valgerdur Audbjorg, Richter (1893-1959), Valdemar George Washington, (1895-1979), and Rose (1897-1969).
Bjornlaug was a fun-loving and always had a sense of humor. Like the rest of the family, she loved music and would often sing to the children. Like many Icelanders Bjornlaug was superstitious. She had a large leghorn rooster which she believed would come to the kitchen door and crow when someone was coming for coffee.Boas died 28 March 1908. Bjornlaug married Runolfur Runolfsson 16 September 1921. Runolfur was born 10 April 1851 at Draumbaer, Vestmannaeyjar. His parents are Runolfur Magnusson, born 22 February 1818 in Kross, Rangarvalla, died 20 March 1894; and Ingiridur Bjornsdottir, born in 1817 in Vestmannaeyjar, died 4 July 1870. Runolfur died 20 January 1929.
Bjornlaug died 23 November 1942 in Spanish Fork, Utah and is buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery. Bjornlaug went by Legga Anderson or Lauga Anderson in Utah. She is number 2 in Icelanders of Utah.