Entering, Not Escaping
Surely, many of us view fishing, and fly fishing in particular, as a way to escape, however briefly, the demands and stresses placed upon us by the workaday world. It’s such a common belief as to have become a cliché of our sport.
Within that cliché, however, is a sliver of profundity. It’s not simply that we leave our problems behind when we’re on the water — those problems do not vanish. They still await resolution. It’s that the act of angling takes us literally to a different place that allows us to change perspective. Another cliché of our sport, after all, is that our problems seem smaller upon returning from a fishing trip.
When fishing, moreover, we can also gain perspective. Consider: as we cast, we immerse ourselves in a world of water and wind, dirt and blood, a world far older and more elemental than our constructs of steel and concrete, a world that represents the irreducible foundation of our lives. If we are receptive, we benefit from this experience, and we take that knowledge, that empathy, back to our homes, our workplaces, our relationships.
Perhaps, then, we’re not escaping when we fish, but instead entering. And perhaps over the years, the little epiphanies that result, whether they’re unconscious or fully recognized, add up to something significant, maybe even lead to wisdom.
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