Gone Fishin’

Life’s finest moments acknowledge no past and require no future. They halt time in its thoughtless linearity and bend it into encircling, enveloping infinity. And do not think they are all happy, either; a moment’s meaning lies not only in its content but in its presence, in its immediate reality. If we choose to become alive to the vitality around us, we will find even sorrow is woven of its own deep sweetness—not to mention beauty, love, nature, and being. Heroes teach me that it is I, not savage or gentle circumstance, who may rob my life of meaning. Some few luminous souls have even infused neglect, torture, ridicule, and death with the life of spiritual light—hence when Thomas Becket dies we notice not so much his passing but what all that happened means.

Still, happy moments most easily teach us meaning. Holding a girl’s hand, for instance, may surround me with its allure and aroma—if I choose to awake to the beauty. Words may lie dead on the page, but if I seek I find them jumping up and arranging themselves into hidden meanings and beautiful cadences. A cord lives or dies—either fervent and pulsating or dead and barren as a winter tree—according to my willingness to hear.

Some such moments press their meaning insistently upon me; I cannot ignore their fullness, their self-contained wholeness.

And such was fishing with my dad last summer.

Scout Lake. Hostess fruit pies. Rainbow trout. Poles propped up on leaning rocks. Skewering the worm, watching it wriggle. Casting: arching my back, pointing the pole to the trees, letting the hook and bait fly, listening to the line unwind, plunk!, waiting, watching the pole, talking politics, family, waiting; then the rod quivers, stopping speaking, watching intently, hoisting the pole, flinging it over my shoulder, reeling, reeling, the rush, the fish—flopping, looking at me with one accusing eye—then slicing it open, watching the guts fall out in the stream.

Meanwhile, the lake, the green pungent odor of pines, the lapping of turquoise on rocks, the shine of the sun on our skin—all of this surrounds us, envelops us, enfolds us in its comfort.

There is no more, and there needn’t be. This is enough. It is whole.

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Published in: on November 28, 2006 at 5:10 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “Some people go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God.” Im not sure that quote fits your post but I wanted to share it with you.
    Tyler, I too spent many hours fishing with my father. He had a million fishing stories and I never got tired of hearing them. Fishing is good for the mind and good for the soul.
    Great post Tyler, I enjoyed every word of it.

  2. Snarkey–

    Thanks for the compliments. Fishing is, as you say, good for the soul.


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