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A Fisherman's Guide to Enlightenment

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posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 04:35 PM
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A Fisherman's Guide to Enlightenment


Finding your river.


Yesterday I hopped in my truck with my dogs and sped north seeking nature. There’s a small steelhead run happening in a nearby river, and with any luck the salmonids would be populating the riffles and pools looking for food. The river is small, shallow, but twisty enough to offer changes in depth with various obstructions, waterfalls and rocks for trout to rest behind. After a good rain, it is almost a sure thing the fish would be feeding.

The river is only accessible by logging road, through which a vehicle rarely passes. These roads are a sign of what lies ahead, a greater proximity between me and the concrete ant hill. In the city, it is difficult to be inspired by something so rigid, so systematic, where chaos and rivers are dammed, walls erected, that sometimes what is still organic in it becomes insignificant. Like my thoughts, I am still organic; a wall cannot contain me.

The logging roads are no match for my Delica. That’s right, I own a Delica—which are surprisingly easy to find where hippies make up much of the population. She's an outdoorsman's dream. She can go anywhere and haul everything. For a thousand dollars I can convert her to run on used vegetable oil; and if I can stomach the thought of smelling like french fries I might do so. She’s funny looking, but a tank, and out on the deactivated roads is where she can be seen in all her majesty, a mule becomes a white stallion, where no pothole, root or rock can escape her lifted fury. As a method to my freedom from the system, she is wise, a vehicle to my wisdom.

However, there are places not even vehicles can go; the best of them are off the beaten path. Though she had brought me far, I had to escape the confines and comfort of the Delica to proceed any further. My favourite fishing spot can only be reached by wading in knee-deep water, criss-crossing from bank to bank where it is still shallow enough to keep a sturdy footing on the slippery rocks. If I fall, I get wet. Over fallen trees, through bushes and boulders, none have ever stepped where my foot had landed. The most arduous paths lead to the best destinations; they are the best destinations.

Because it was hot out, I left my waders in the truck, and instead opted for shorts and sandals. What better way to feel the water? Stepping into the river, accepting its cold force, we become a confluence. The dogs, German shepherds, loyal as they are, disappeared ahead in search of whatever dogs search for, leaving me to fend for myself. Nothing here was under my control, everything was new. “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

When I finally reached the abode, I was greeted by my dogs and my old sturdy friends the trees, who watched with a loving gaze as I meticulously unpacked my gear. I use a hand-made 4-piece bamboo fly-rod. It was purchased in the 1920’s by my great-grandfather. Although it is slightly heavier than a modern fly-rod, it offers an indescribable spring to my casts. I am not superstitious, but I cherish this mere thing, this stick, something with little value to anyone else but me. With it comes a symbol of my memory, my language, and gives me a chance to fish with those whom I can only think about. In the wilderness, any tool becomes an extension of ourselves, and we treat them is if it were a part of us. This particular tool was an extension of not only me, but my family’s history. With pride, I presented a piece of my culture to the river so that she may accept it as a piece of hers.

Fly-fishing is an art form. Through it I can express my adoration and love of what surrounds me by living it. Only through expression and joy can I give thanks. The river listens. Each cast was a reaction to impulse, thought, instinct, emotion and the product of a life-long relationship with nature, me and the river as one. With my eye to the sun (shadows scare the fish) I moved as a heron through the water. Like the river, I flowed, I adapted, I remained in motion, constant, graceful, never stopping in one spot for too long. In the comfort of home, behind walls, I cannot react as I would in the push and pull of a cold river; there is nothing in a box to react to.

As fate would have it, what didn’t I catch? For hours I scaled the river and in the end caught nothing. I was wet, cold, muddy, and bug-bitten. However, what might be seen as a failure of my experience as a fisherman contradicted the smile on my face. Through my failure I have gained. Through the river I have lived.

How does one become a fisherman? One goes goes fishing.

Thank you for reading,


edit on 23-6-2013 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 06:39 PM
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Beautiful post. As a fisherman myself I very much enjoyed reading. Wonderfully written - thank you for sharing.



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 06:40 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


This almost reads like a Raymond Carver story--so beautifully written, but honest and simple. It is rare to see writing of this caliber, and it is quite refreshing!

Fishing is a very zen-like experience, I agree. Unfortunately, I live in the middle of a desert and don't get to fish very often. There is just something about being close to the water and being patient that nurtures the soul. It heightens the senses and brings us in tune with our internal and external environment; it is a kind of clarity.

I'm not an easy critic to impress, but this is quite possibly one of the best pieces of prose I've ever read on this site
I can tell you went fishing today



edit on 23-6-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 06:50 PM
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I love to set a line myself and also enjoy the art of writing.

This thread is great and I hope it gets to the front page.



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


It came as a relief to discover that your celebration of life was not marred (in my view) by the pain and death at your hands of some defenceless aquatic animal . It was the anticipation of a dead fish at the end of the story which somewhat detracted from my enjoyment of reading your beautiful words.



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 07:39 PM
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reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
 


Thank you for the kind words.



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 07:40 PM
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reply to post by mysticnoon
 


I fish to feed my family. How do you feed yours?



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 07:54 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


Are you John Gierach?



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 08:01 PM
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Originally posted by LesMisanthrope
reply to post by mysticnoon
 


I fish to feed my family. How do you feed yours?


It was not my intention to turn this thread into a debate about meat-eating and vegetarianism, I was merely expressing my honest response to your opening post.

My father was a very avid fisherman, and we were brought up eating fresh fish practically every weekend, so I do understand the thrill of the sport and the reward of the kill.

However, my own children were raised on non-animal foods, and there was always an abundance of those.



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 08:08 PM
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I gave the op a star and flag for his excellent post.

I have no boat. But I have been known to spend a 3 day weekend at the fishing pier. The pier area provides shelter tables, places to set up your BBQ Grill and even electrical outlets. It's the ultimate in urban camping. I would greet the sun with joy knowing I have two more days with this lake. I have fought catfish in near tropical storm conditions. Making the transition from day fishing to night fishing is interesting. Trying different techniques and different equipment combinations different baits is exciting. At night, the lights on the pier attract small white trout by the hundreds that become awesome bait. Much of what I eat there is catfish or trout cooked fresh, even deep fried with Cajun spices. Sometimes I don't catch so much but the whole experience is worth it.

Oh yeah.. when I do this.. people think I'm crazy
It's a retreat they cannot understand. Oh well, they lose out.
edit on 23-6-2013 by JohnPhoenix because: sp



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 09:13 PM
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Hey OP
(sandf )
I'm right there with you on georgian bay
only this weekend it was northern pike

fillets
with fried potatoes cole slaw and baked beans

its also about a boat too and time on the water in the sun (set)...and islands...and waves..and wind


eta
i forgot to subtract roads ...a road ends here
edit on 23-6-2013 by Danbones because: (no reason given)


oh, eta redux
google "peak fishing time" or similar for the solar lunar table...you may find fish feed by the moon and when the barometer is up...sun rise sun set....
edit on 23-6-2013 by Danbones because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 10:54 PM
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I absolutely love fishing. It satisfies my soul like nothing else.

It feels like something I'm supposed to do. I literally lose sleep during fishing season because I'm too excited to get up and fish.

A true passion... even when I get skunked.



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 11:30 PM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 


You just made my night, thank you friend. If it wasnt for my fishing adventures I may have been institutionalized a long time ago.

I feel when you go fishing, you change perspective. Instead of viewing nature your become a part of it. My favorite days are those spent exploring my river. Thank you for sharing this story, it was wonderful.



posted on Jun, 23 2013 @ 11:35 PM
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reply to post by DichroChrono
 


There is no such thing as a bad day of fishing friend, you are correct getting skunked is not so bad.



posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 12:09 AM
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Delica's are awesome!
Haha


 
Posted Via ATS Mobile: m.abovetopsecret.com
 



posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 12:45 AM
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reply to post by mysticnoon
 



It was not my intention to turn this thread into a debate about meat-eating and vegetarianism, I was merely expressing my honest response to your opening post.

My father was a very avid fisherman, and we were brought up eating fresh fish practically every weekend, so I do understand the thrill of the sport and the reward of the kill.

However, my own children were raised on non-animal foods, and there was always an abundance of those.


I think that is admirable, mysticnoon. In an ideal world, life doesn't feed on itself. I think it is honorable to do such a thing. An honest response; I wouldn't have it any other way.



posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 12:47 AM
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reply to post by CitizenJack
 





I feel when you go fishing, you change perspective. Instead of viewing nature your become a part of it. My favorite days are those spent exploring my river.

True enough.

For me, I forget my perspectives. When I fish, it is the river that fishes, I return to the perspective that matters most.

Thanks for sharing.



posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 01:30 AM
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well written ... very true ... spend many a day fishing here - even if not catch anything its worth the walk to the river .. left cities and that cesspool people call "civilisation" years ago ...
s&f



posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 10:02 AM
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Thank you for reading everyone.

Perhaps it's too subtle, but the story is a parable for thinking. I had such a great day fishing it required a parable.

Many often equate enlightenment with a particular state of being, an attainable state where one instantly "knows" the truth of existence, as if somewhere out there is this uncatchable fish. Fishing for fish, but not fishing for fishing's sake is a crime against oneself.

The river of life flows by us incessantly. To be in the water, to enjoy its flow, one must travel far to get there, sometimes down spiritual paths none have travelled—the best spiritual paths, our own spiritual paths. We must leave our boxes, our systems of thought where everything is laid out for us and we must explore. We use our methods, our modes of thought, our language, our personal culture—whatever it takes to get to that river.

Wading in the river, wading into life is necessary for experience and understanding. We slip, we get wet, we adapt, we learn, forever moving like the river we stand in. From the river, within the river, along its curves and bends, we seek, sometimes for something, sometimes for nothing, but we never stop being that river, and the river ends up fishing itself. Sometimes we strike, sometimes we don't, but we are always better off thereby.

Life is like a river. Spirituality is like fishing.



posted on Jun, 24 2013 @ 11:25 AM
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reply to post by LesMisanthrope
 
Only another fisherman can appreciate the experience you wrote of...Few can understand, (including my wife) how going fishing and coming home without fish can be an enjoyable and successful experience...



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