I had these irrational fears of children and horses before travelling to Iceland. Kids made me feel awkward as I never had younger siblings and will forever be "the baby" of the family. Horses' size, strength, and capability intimidated me as I've only rode one (sneaking out when I wasn't allowed, no less) and she bucked me off.
But the fear wasn't very reasonable and my perspective mutated as I've seen the beauty and intelligence in these beings.
Bergey Jökla is the name given to the bright-eyed little girl that won my heart. We created magic together sitting down with an unflattened Cheerios box in front of us- my preferred canvas I always used in my own childhood- and tubs of felts and crayons as our wands.
Bergey would dramatically scribble and dot the cardboard much in the fashion of a maestro, and I would locate faces and features within and help pull them forward.
I quickly saw that she and I had so much in common, there was no way I would feel afraid or awkward with her.
Now that I've moved from the farm Bústaðir back to Sauðárkrókur farm I miss the little Bergey hum, her song of life, that would narrate her days. I miss playing with her and being weird and animistic and true to ourselves. I feel like the time we spent together recharged my inner child.
When it came to horseback riding, I was more than willing to face this fear, as I recognized that that's the only way to overcome it. I couldn't have asked for it to unroll more beautifully...
Kári and Magga, my host parents, got suited up and prepared the animals to ride them out into what was an extremely foggy evening. I was given the reins belonging to Jarpur; name meaning auburn. Respectfully handling and being in close proximity with the creature felt comforting like being with a friend. I mounted him and we set off into the farmlands, each step of Jarpur's symbolized a step forward in our unison and my trust of him. The wet misting of the fog on my face and the cool clouds of breath coming from my horse navigated the ride. We came up to a glacial river and Jarpur stopped and hesitated but I feel like we had an unspoken, almost psychic communication. He was kind to me and gently started through the water.
The fog was thick as pea soup, only the grassy field, cloud-like tufts of wool snagged on barbed-wire fences, and the view of his mane were clearly visible. A group of neighbouring horses came running over and ran to the same beat as us like a tribal drum. I distinctly remember at this moment thinking, "This feels more like a dream than being planted in the waking world." The surreal beauty of the moment had me suspended in awe.
In life back home, being caught up in unnecessary phobias had closed doors to beautiful experiences. I feel that Iceland has gifted me in opening me up and I've initiated new possibilities for when I return to Canada, and from now on.