This I Believe: Take What the Lake Will Give You

Jan - Slidell, Louisiana
Entered on June 13, 2008

This I Believe: Take What the Lake Will Give You

As one who enjoys the outdoors, and fishing in particular, I guess there’s no surprise that this is what I believe: Take what the lake will give you. Over the years I have come to realize that this belief is not only one that pertains to the occasional fishing trip, but to life itself, with all of its ups and downs, celebrations and heartaches, joys and sorrows. Take what the lake will give you.

In fishing terms “Take what the lake will give you” means exactly what it says: If the blue gill are biting that day, and not the catfish, be content to settle for the former and do not grieve the latter. If the catfish are hungry on a given day but you had your heart set on landing a few white perch, don’t stew about what might have been. Take what the lake will give you.

If you will pardon the pun, Carpe diem! Seize the moment, and rejoice, quietly perhaps, but thankfully so, with what the lake did give you from its bounty that day. And even if nothing is biting on a given trip, even if you apparently come up empty-handed, yes, even then, take what the lake will give you – an hour or so in the outdoors, peaceful breezes, the companionship of fellow fishers, the simple yet pleasant chance to just get away for a bit. Take what the lake will give you. This I believe.

Take what the lake will give you is not a fatalistic belief or a depressing belief. It’s not a way of saying “Who cares?” or “Whatever” or “Nuts to life!” or “Why bother?” or “Life isn’t worth the trouble.” Instead, take what the lake will give you is a positive belief, and one of wide-eyed expectations. It’s a profound, yet, simply-stated, reminder that fishing’s moments and experiences, and life’s too for that matter, are filled with opportunities for satisfaction and for rejoicing, with seemingly simple and often overlooked gifts for our enjoyment and refreshment – to help us regain perspective, and to help keep us putting one foot ahead of the next – in fishing, in family, in work, in relationships, in duties.

Take what the lake will give you is a proverb of sorts. In its brevity and in its wisdom it puts us in mind of truths, and offers anew a valuable and refreshing compass – not just for fishing, but for life itself – for our yesterdays, for our todays, for our tomorrows.

Yes, I believe take what the lake will give you. And, oh yes, help me believe this more and more each day.