I believe in fishing, and all the activity or lack thereof that may accompany. Having fished since I was the approximate size of my catch, I have learned that the ultimate goal of fishing is not to catch fish, but that there is no real ultimate goal, that that the memories and desires to return to them are of escape, temporary disconnect from human life, and glorifying in the exuberance of life that thrives in our welcomed absence. People who have never partaken in such an activity overlook this primary absence of goal and see boring derivation of enjoyment in capturing a primal creature so vastly inferior to us that its movements tell not of life, but of basic muscle reflexes that emulate life. But even from this I can express how refreshing a hobby it is in that I am removed from my element so that I am at the mercy of the absentminded fish. I have matured now to the extent that I do not rely upon them to appreciate the pastime, just the scenery through which I wade. No thoughts of Thoreau’s wondrous walks pervade my head, nor philosophical blunderings of man’s insignificance, simply that nature doesn’t care, and I am obligated to release by cares when in its company. Yet still I hear tales of biggest fish, supposed conquering of nature while it laughs in dismissal, and I realize that they just don’t get it, that there is no winning or prize or biggest fish caught. There is a lack of point that goes miscomprehended and should be recognized as such. The fish is ubiquitous flow that humiliates intelligent life that tries to conquer it, and is in vain demonstrating its purpose. People follow it, seek it, but skip over the absence of its concrete attainability. So I observe and respect it, but will never waste my life chasing the fish, nor tell of incredibly catching it, because when I catch, the only real impact is upon me. I will always fish, and will always watch those that pitifully drain themselves for the lunker that is as well between their feet as where they cast.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.