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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Fishing VS Catching

I heard someone this morning tell how Mark Twain loved going fishing but hated catching fish so he did not use a hook on his line. Catching fish interfered with his relaxation time, since he had to take the fish off the hook and do something with it.  When he wanted to relax and do nothing people thought he was lazy so he took his pole and bobber down to the river and people thought he was fishing and left him alone. He would throw his line in the river tied to the bobber and people would not bother him because he ’was fishing’ and he was able to relax as much as he wanted.

That got me to thinking about when I first started to fish as a boy.  It wasn’t so much catching a fish as much as a chance to be alone without being pelted with questions or frivolous discussion. Since I was just a boy no one expected me to catch a fish anyway. I could spend hours sitting on a dock or by a river and came home fishless but very relaxed.  Then as I grew older and went fishing I was more or less expected to catch fish and then later joined the bass clubs where it was very competitive. It was fun but often the stress encountered was the very reason I started fishing to begin with - to relieve the stress and be separated from my routine. No demanding paper route customers, no family, school demands etc. When fishing I could relax and be removed from my responsibilities. Fishing fulfills my four R’s of mental health. Relax, reflect, rejuvenate and recover.

So it's not about the fish after all, at least not with me. It is a time to meditate on problems, search for peace and relax. Pleasure fishing has no pressure, no adverse consequences unless you self inflict them for not catching fish and no effort is required.  My computer has an application that defragments my hard drive, sorts my files and puts them in order to make it run more efficiently. I find it sad that we don’t have a quick fix for people like clicking on a program to defrag our inner selves. Fishing fills the need for humans who clutter our lives with all the garbage that is spewed out each day on television, our work place, internet, and news sources. So it is not about catching fish, it is about the act of fishing and relaxation.

I have written numerous times about taking time out to go down to our swing with a beverage and feeling the breeze in my face, hear the soft sounds of the woods and the spring (in the photo above) gurgle. It is a quiet and relaxing time when I do that. There are no fish in that spring but I don’t care, I’m fishing, and the therapy and healing going on within my inner being make it worthwhile. Things are happening inside that you can’t observe from the outside. When I’m wetting a line waiting for that fish to come along I rejuvenate myself and relax. The slow current, the breeze, the expectation, and the concentration on the bobber compel forced relaxation.

Stop and consider for a moment how many places you can go now days just be alone to think and refresh your soul. I don’t think most people can get away like that. They may not know what they are missing but take it from this old mountain man, fishing can restore you in a way nothing else can. So before you judge me for fishing in our spring during the dead of winter; you can only see what is outside but the real work is being done internally. It is a chance to restore your inner self and help your overall health in the process. It is a well recognized rule that when a person is fishing you do not disturb them. Take time and a pole and bobber and go fishing. Not catching but fishing just like Mark Twain used to do. Or I guess you could pay a therapist $200.00 an hour.  Your choice of course but for me I just like the peace and quiet of fishing and to relax.



Sakoieta said...

Good stuff Bruce. My younger brother was always about competition in fishing and who could catch the most fish, etc. I like to sneak away to some private fishing holes where I could take my time and enjoy myself. He would often mock me when I returned and tell me he bet I didn’t catch anything. So I usually after a little bit would show him the beautiful pair of brown trout I had caught or the walleye pike. Often that was done after I had spent a good long day watching the fish swim and play and then just before heading home I figured a nice meal of fish would go good so then I would catch a few just quickly, pack up and head home. A good way to spend a day. Good post.

Kathryn said...

My smile for today...and I needed it. Thank you. I guess trolling for nice words like these might be considered my current version of fishing. Not the same, but it helps. So glad I stumbled on your blog.

Bruce said...

Glad to have you visit our blog Kathryn. We try to post things about our life style with a little added mountain philosphy mixed in. My friend Sakoieta has the really good posts laced with wisdom.