Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Soul Priority

Bruce A. Jacobs at aliasbruce:

So I'm casting in a trout stream a few evenings ago. It's a downright holy beautiful dusk, about 75 degrees, the light softening into dull orange as the last of the sun filters through the contours of a riverside cornfield littered with straw-colored stalks from last year's crop. The water is ice-clear and swishing-fast and I can feel its cold through my waders. A friend told me the fishing would be incredible for these few days after the big rain that swept the muck out of the stream, and she was right: the trout are leaping out of the water for mayflies, and I already have a hefty brown on my stringer that I'll gratefully take home for dinner after having returned maybe a dozen smaller trout to the water.

I am wading back upstream toward the riverbank trail to head home, and I have basically let go of fishing for the day but I figure, hell, why not cast my way back. So as I slosh upstream I make maybe my second or third casual cast, and a few feet from my left leg -- whammo! -- fish on. Nice one. Whoa. Really nice one. I give it line, play the fish out, try to avoid doing anything stupid, and I clumsily if effectively land it, and, man, it's an even bigger brown than the other, just gorgeous, fat and the length of half my arm and wet-sheened with its brown and yellow skin and red and black speckles. And now, suddenly, I have dinner for two days instead of one. I thank the river and this trout -- which is the least one can do before eating a creature -- and I resume wading upstream, shaking my head. I'd been barely fishing at that point. I'd thought I was done. Who knew?

All of which is a way of saying that time spent without intent is a good thing.


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