Sunday, February 1, 2015

Curse? Addiction? Or Blessing?

The clock says 2:00.  In the morning.  The clock's tick keeps on ticking and all you can do is think.  Your mind's way too active and you try to force yourself to sleep but you can't.

And even though you aren't going fishing in the hours that will soon unfold, you're thinking about fishing.  You're tired, you need sleep, but your brain doesn't seem care.

You're thinking about hauling through the salt marsh, running in just inches of water, weaving your skiff through the creeks like a rally car driver on a dirt track.

You're thinking about studying a mountain stream, watching trout sip midges.  Thinking about the feel of the rod loading and line cutting through the air and quietly rolling out onto the water, upstream of the feeders.  Thinking about your fly disappearing into the vacuum of the trout's mouth. Then you set the hook.  

You're thinking about banging the bank with a streamer, aggressively stripping line, casting again.  You're thinking about the follow, the bump, the tug.  You're thinking about placing a popper right next to a fallen log with tangled branches reaching into the water.   You're thinking about that river largemouth or smallie crushing your fly after a quick twitch.  

It might be curse that you can't shake, this incessant desire to be out there, in the water with your rod and line and the fish.  Some may call it an addiction, a crystal-meth or crack-cocaine-like addiction, where once you start you can't stop.  This may be true.  But is it harmful? Maybe to your wallet and your "real word" obligations.  But it's not harmful to you.  In fact, it may be good for you.  It may be a sort of blessing in disguise.  A therapeutic escape, something that makes you realize it's the simple things in life that matter.  Not the everyday rat race and the climb to the top.

I'm reminded of some lines spoken by the Old Man in one of my favorite books, Robert Ruark's The Old Man and the Boy.  Speaking to his grandson, he says, "Rich is not baying after what you can't have. Rich is having the time to do what you want to do. Rich is a little whiskey to drink and some food to eat and a roof over your head and a fish pole and a boat and a gun and a dollar for a box of shells. Rich is not owing any money to anybody, and not spending what you haven't got." I couldn't agree more. 

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