As someone more at home over in a commercial kitchen or in front of a keyboard, my enjoyment of the outdoors usually comes about at admiring the beauty of it, capturing it through the lens of my camera, or quiet rides on my horse – not roughing it.
But recently, I have expanded my horizons and my brother has started teaching me how to flyfish. Now… this is a sport I can get behind. Once I got the basics down, I discovered that it is a perfectly ideal way to spend an afternoon.
It starts off just me and my brother, sauntering out into the wild to attempt to tame it with a slender rod and a bit of line. We gear up and go out. So far, we’ve picked perfect, golden afternoons in the late summer.
We set up, he shows me how to not get into too much trouble with casting (so many willow branches, grasses, weeds, and trees have attempted to grab my flies – so many). Then we fish… only one rod between the two of us is all we need. And somehow, against all expectations, I experienced a psychological phenomenon of which I had only a faint inkling existed before now.
All anxiety, all worry, all cluttered, pestering, noisy thoughts faded away. It was quiet. I didn’t think about my novel, I didn’t think about my job, I didn’t think about interpersonal drama, and I didn’t think about… anything other than fishing. This explained it, this was why people like fishing. Maybe they have a particular passion for pitching a fly into the water, but I think it’s something else. I think it is a glimpse of this empyrean peace.
The first day my brother and I went out, we fished a quiet pond rippling under a gentle breeze. The second, we went to a hidden waterfall and watched our fly drift downstream while the sun played hide and seek behind the branches of tall pines. The third, we chased the hope of fish up past the headwaters to catch a perfect afternoon.
Peace can be hard to come by in this modern day and age. In a world of notifications and comments, blog dings and tweet whistles, where can you even find it? And have you tried flyfishing for it?
And, of course, a few photographs so you can picture it for yourselves.