Finding Rhythms

An island on still water shot from a boat

I got to the reservoir at about 7:30 AM on Saturday. The water was glassy. There was no wind. But there were plenty of trucks and cars parked in the lot. The people at the park were predominantly men. That’s about as far as one could go when describing them. It looked like a random sample of men who live in Ohio.

Some of the trucks were badly beaten and old. Some were brand new SUVs. The boats were a mix of cheap kayaks, grandparent garage canoes, beaten row boats, and highly rigged bass boats with new electric motors. The rods were everything from improvised garage sale finds to some very high end carbon fiber setups from Orvis. And here we were at the reservoir. A body of water that is an equalizer in the way that only a park can be.

There were a few groups of two men – never more than two – standing and sipping coffee from paper cups or mugs while slowly dragging on cigarettes in the silence of the morning. No one spoke above what was necessary to communicate with their fishing buddy. I slipped into the water and wondered if anyone else was seeing what I saw.

No one can travel safely in the USA right now. A significant percentage of people wouldn’t have the means even if they could. So we gather what we have at hand and come to the water. We push off, paddle, and cast. I’m not sure that anyone who was on that reservoir at 7 or 8 AM on a Saturday even cared if a fish bit. I know I didn’t. It was the practice and the silence that brought us there.

It’s almost impossible to think about anything other than the moment in a fishing kayak. Casting erases all past and future. There is only the path of the line and the gentle sound of the lure or fly touching down. That’s all there is and all there can be. The world is small, defined, and finite. It is all the things it can’t be when the gear is hung up to dry in the garage.

For me, all of this feel permanent. What I’ve seen I can’t unsee. I’ve found a way of letting go of what I “endure” as my part of the contract. I don’t imagine I’ll forget that as we all settle into The New Normal.

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