Today my cousin Steinn taught me how to fly fish. The farm I'm staying, Seglbúðir in Kirkjubæjarklaustur, has excellent streams and waters for fly fishing and beautiful scenery to match.
I had some minor apprehension going into it, as I had only caught 3 fish in my lifetime and my clumsy nature seemed destined to land me in some tragic accidental hooking incident. Nonetheless, I was happy to spend quality time with my relative and learn something new while enjoying the sights and sounds of the family's land. We had spent a good portion of the week herding sheep, which was in parts stressful, tiring, and rewarding. Much of the stress was from my own anxieties over making mistakes, of course, as my family was nothing but patient and encouraging with my amateur shepherd struggles.
(unsurprisingly my only picture from the days herding sheep)
To keep things brief, fly fishing sounded like a fun activity that would probably involve less awkward running up and down hills after much more agile sheep, and indeed it was.
Fly fishing is not, as I thought when I was a small child with a confused and active imagination, regular fishing but with an actual fly as bait. It came with a variety of minor struggles on my end, from nearly getting trapped in quicksand to tangling my like countless times, and at the end of the day we had caught four beautiful Icelandic fish, one of which was a brown trout we had for dinner that night. But what I most appreciated from the day and what has moved me to write about it was the peace and reflection our time on the water gave me. There was something quite special about that spot; its wildlife and terrain created a perfect blend of sounds from birds to lapping water to wind to the distant quiet roar of the sea that I could hear in still moments. The clouds and mist exerted more of a presence on our surroundings as the day progressed, which my cousin lamented as much the scenery like surrounding mountains and glaciers were covered. This scene was just as enchanting to my eyes, though, and my heart swelled a bit at the sight of the now-distant farm houses and barns barely visible in the misty evening but still standing as landmarks of familarity and comfort. I watched my cousin cast with skill and a practiced ease, I watched the cria flit above the water expertly searching for their own fish to grab, and I found a sense of quiet joy as I lost myself in this moment. My homestay is almost over, 3 weeks with the loveliest and most welcoming family I could have asked for one the prettiest farm in Iceland, and I find it difficult to accurately express the sense of gratitude and above all the peace I have had in my time here. My restless, cluttered, often anxious mind has been put at ease with the days of working and enjoying life with my relatives. There has been so much beauty both in the incredible landscape of Ísland as well as in the more emotional sense of forging such special connections to my relatives and my ancestral roots, I know I have a journey ahead attempting to process it all after I return home. But for the time being, I have been able to live in the moment and experience each day as a unique and rewarding opportunity, taking the time to appreciate all in my life that has led me here and all that this wonderful program is giving me in this moment.
So, short story long, fly fishing at Seglbúðir farm is great for a break from herding sheep as well as for existential contemplation, and here's a picture of me with a fish we caught. Sjáumst!
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Ásta Sól Kristjánsdóttir
Blog editor and Manager of the Snorri and Snorri Plus Programs