I have taken up fishing.
Okay, perhaps that’s slightly overstated. I have spent a few hours casting a line over the side of a boat in hopes of catching dinner.
That’s actually not accurate either.
I never really expect to catch anything. However, two years ago I lassoed a fish in a lake near Yellowknife while visiting our son and the camp where he worked. Yes, I did write lassoed.
Somehow I managed to wrap the line around the belly of a fish enough times to drag him in (for the record, a fish being pulled in sideways feels a lot bigger than he is!). While I did successfully land the unsuspecting little fella, I let him go. It hardly felt fair to keep him after my cowboy antics.
Truthfully, my ideal for fishing is a worm on a hook (that someone else attached) dangling off the edge of a boat while I sit in a comfy chair with a cold bottle of water, reading an engaging book. I’ve heard myself say out loud that I’m a “process person.” I don’t need to catch anything to enjoy the time with my husband on the lake.
But secretly I’ve wondered if that’s really true. I do have a competitive streak and the thought of thousands of Nemo’s avoiding my hook and skunking me does stir something. I considered the possibility that my laisse faire attitude might be a cover protecting my ego in case I leave the water empty handed.
Well, last week I lounged on a boat deck while my spinner or bobber or something-or-other lazily dragged through the water tempting the locals. The drag of the crafts’ movement kept the rod consistently flexed toward my line. I watched the clouds, hoping my fish-whisper side would emerge and I’d catch the big one.
A tug. Then nothing. Another tiniest of changes in the pull on my line. “I think I have a fish,” I announced with the bravado and certainty of a slug.
“Yes, you do!” shouted my cheerleading husband as I reeled in supper.
“Are you sure?” I questioned. “It’s not putting up much of a fight.”
Most seven-inch rainbow trout don’t pull their captors overboard.
So much for supper. He wasn’t even an appy for one so I set him free to live another day. Well, let’s be honest. Bill unhooked him and encouraged him to swim on.
I spent the rest of our outing pondering how relatively unsatisfying my catch of the day felt. There was a twinge of adrenaline when I realized I had, in fact, caught something. But overall I recognized that I like the idea of catching a fish more than the real deal.
I don’t love seeing the little guy hanging from the line, hooked and helpless. I felt more excitement watching him swim away from the boat knowing he could go off with a story to tell.
Perhaps it’s enough to acknowledge that sometimes hopes and expectations don’t line up with reality. And maybe it’s even good to test out some of those hidden longings to see if, in fact, it truly is something I’m passionate about.
I’ll keep fishing here and there…with my book and cushy chair – knowing that the fish don’t have much to fear.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst