Monday, February 17, 2014

Grinning Like a Fool

Written by Karen.
My grandfather's family in Norway comes from a long line of fishermen and farmers. While I have always liked scraping the mud from beneath my fingernails and coaxing plants to thrive, I've never been one to grab a fishing pole.  It wasn't so much that I didn't like the activity, but it just didn't seem to have much of a payoff.  What was the point? There never seemed to be any fish caught at the end of the day.  

But, I do like boats - especially wooden ones with aged patina - and when family cousin Einar suggested that he and his wife, Ellen, take Adam and I out fishing on the fjord in his boat, I jumped at the chance.  

The sun was warm, throwing flecks of sunlight off the bobbing waves.  Einar backed up the wooden boat and started chugging over the clear glass-like water.  After a few minutes, he slowed the boat and showed Adam and I how to wind the fishing line up and down - trying to get the fishing lures to dance tantalizingly near the mouths of the fish lurking in the frigid depths below us.  I routinely wound the lures up and down, mostly distracted by the fresh smells that blew across my face and captivated by the endless dark blue waters and the beautiful green mountains that surrounded us.  

And, then, I felt it.  At first, I thought it was a snag.  But, no, the pull on the fishing line was sustained.  I had caught a fish!  And, it wasn't a minnow!  It was all hands on deck as Einar reached over the edge of the boat with the net and scooped up my fish. I was grinning like a fool. I looked up and could see my grandfather's family home in the near distance.  I had caught my first fish in the fjord where my grandfather had grown up.

I was no longer distracted by the fresh smells that blew across my face and captivated by the endless dark blue waters and beautiful green mountains that surrounded us.  I was focused on getting my fishing lures to dance down below us in the crystal clear waters.  I wanted another fish!  This was fun! Who knew? Fishing on the Norwegian fjords! And, so it happened.  Again.  And again.  Over the course of the afternoon, Adam caught a couple of fish as did Einar and Ellen.  We were going to eat well tonight!  

It's a simple thing, fishing.  It's about wooden boats, family, friends, camaraderie, memories, enjoying your surroundings, drinking coffee and eating cake, and spending time together.  And, sometimes, it's even about the fish.
Einar and Ellen's wooden boat
Putting slowly out of the harbor.  Einar and Ellen's house is less than five minutes drive from their boat - and the open water.
First fish of the day! 
Another one... 
The natural scenery 
Family farms and homes off in the distance
Catch of the day. We ate them for dinner with potatoes and a big bowl of just-picked berries and cream.
Heading back to the harbor

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