Washing My Soul

Photos By : Justin Dobson/ Pete Van Hattum     

The past year has been an interesting voyage for me.  I’m really quite fortunate to have fishing as a part of my life through all the unpleasant changes I’ve faced.  There are times I’ve almost forgotten what the sport has done, or can do for me.  Explaining this to someone who doesn’t fish reminds me of an Albert Einstein quote; “If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough”

Sure, I can explain what brings me joy, but combining all that fishing has given me throughout my years is complex and pretty tough to sum up.  I’m sure I could and most likely will spend the rest of my years trying to better understand what I can’t explain simply about fishing.

However, there is one aspect of the sport that I’ve become focused on lately.  That’s the feeling of renewal.  It seems my troubles are released and I leave the water feeling much better than when I started.

Water is an amazing thing.  Something I take for granted sometimes really.  I’ve always been fascinated by the sheer mystery of what lurks under its surface.  It’s like a different planet with a landscape being inhabitable by those of us without gills.  Life, love, battles, journeys and death all happen in that underwater world, the majority of which we never see.

Water itself is recycled.  It’s brought from the ocean by clouds, emptied on the mountains, and carried back to the sea by the rivers to be renewed over again.  Waters journey sees it through many changes, whether it be stuck on the top of a snowy peak, eroding a mountain side, or permanently changing the flow or structure of a river.  Water is life and nothing on earth survives without it.  To not appreciate something so powerful seems ignorant.

I’ve come to grips with the fact that nothing stays the same.  Change is good, but I won’t forget how the waters have carved me.  I have to endure the floods that may change the river, so new holes can be made.  No matter how high the flood waters get, life in that river goes on when the water subsides.  I’ve fished nearly my whole life, and at times I’ve lost my way.  Too caught up in life’s problems to remember what it is to be mentally refreshed.  After some of my darkest hours, I’ve picked up the rod and reel and turned back to this sport I love for healing.  I peel back all those layers of complications and just focus on something so simple:  being alone; standing in a beautiful place surrounded by this earths most powerful renewing gift; trying to perfect my cast, and trying to catch what I normally can’t see, but can only imagine the possibilities.  How’s that Einstein?