Day 6 — Stöðvarfjörður

This was an epic day.

It was sleeting slightly (which is much better than rain in my book) and seemed calm, so I thought it was perfect weather to take the Sitka P. Coldfoot Memorial Drone up.

A few words on Sitka P. Coldfoot. He was the soul kitten. My wife Amy and I had disagreed about what kind of pet to get. I was always a dog person and she hated dogs and was a cat person. So for many years, we didn’t get a pet. Until finally, we compromised — and she got her way.

In exchange for me agreeing to get a cat, I got to choose which cat to get. We’d gone to the local shelter and were interested in a black cat, but we were told to come back two days later. When we did, we learned the black cat had behavioral problems. So instead, we looked at a tiny, adorable tuxedo cat. He was so small he could fit in the palm of my hand. And he was so goofy that he was doing somersaults in the little cage. But when I held him, he looked up at me, sighed contentedly, and fell asleep.

To say I fell in love with him in that moment is a huge understatement. But look at that face! How could you not fall in love with him?

He was incredibly smart and incredibly sweet (and eventually grew into his ears). He used to do the most amazing, acrobatic jumps playing with his “bird” toy (a wand with a feather at the end). People didn’t believe how high he’d jump, so we made this video:

He was devoted to us and the absolute sweetest and best boy you could imagine.

We lost him far too early, but we had a great ten and a half years with him. It’s not an exaggeration to say he inspired me and Amy and that we both still miss him every day.

The lock screen on my computer is still this photo of him and it makes me happy every time the computer boots up to see him:

So when I decided to come to Iceland and bring a drone, we decided to name it the Sitka P. Coldfoot Memorial Drone so that I could be reminded of him and introduce others to him.

And today, I thought, it was perfect drone-flying weather. When I left the house there was almost no wind. I hiked out to the edge of town, past the campground and the Evergreens to this patch of land where there was not much around except for tussocks, wild grass, and some streams coming down from the mountain.

As I got farther away from town, the wind picked up. It really seemed like it was too windy to fly the Sitka P. Coldfoot Memorial Drone. But I’d come all that way and I thought maybe I could get a quick flight in and film the waterfall.

I’d taken the following video from my phone, so I figured it would look even more fantastic to get video of it from the Sitka P. Coldfoot Memorial Drone:

I’ll let me tell you most of the story… along with some footage.

Here’s the part I didn’t mention above. I had the video of the flight on my phone. And watching it, I realized I was flying in a field where plants grew 1-2 feet tall and where there were almost no distinguishing landmarks. So the footage didn’t give me much of a clue as to where the crash occurred. I walked up and down, getting wetter and wetter, not making any progress.

I was pretty much ready to give up.

I was thinking about how stupid it felt to buy a drone, bring it to Iceland, and then lose it.

And I was thinking about how when the drone went up three or four feet, it was seriously being knocked around by the wind.

I was thinking about how majestic the drone looked in the air and how stupid I felt when I realized I couldn’t control it or get it to come back to where I was. (Even the automatic “return home” feature wasn’t working.)

So, wandering around in that field, I remembered that this was no ordinary drone. This was the Sitka P. Coldfoot Memorial Drone.

And even though I felt silly doing this, I started calling Sitka’s name. I remembered why I’d wanted to name the drone after Sitka. And I called for him.

I’m not going to tell you I heard meowing or heard voices telling me where to go. But I did get a very clear sense of where I should go. I followed that sense, carefully scanning the area.

And in about two minutes, I found the little drone (which, like Sitka when we first met him) basically fits into the palm of my hand.

I brought the drone back to the house. Carefully cleaned and dried it, and put it away.

I don’t pretend to know what happens to anyone (felines or humans) after they die. But something outside of me led me to where the drone was. And I’m so happy we named it after Sitka.

Also, I’ve learned my lesson about flying the drone when there’s too much wind. And maybe I’ll just stick to the big field by the house, where I can definitely see it no matter where it might land.

After that morning, the afternoon was relatively uneventful. I got a lot of writing done at the Fish Factory and am on track to complete on original story every day for the 30 days that I’m here.

Also, if you’re interested in supporting me and like what you see… I have a Patreon where I’m also posting a lot of content (including photos taken every morning at 9:30 a.m. from the same two windows of the house where I’m staying). It’s free to follow and cheap to support (with various tiers that have their own rewards). Check it out here. Drafts of some of the pieces I’m working on here will be up on Patreon soon.

More later.

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