THE PEACE AND QUIET OF FISHING
The angler drove his old Ford truck down a familiar dirt road. The trees on both sides of the road had grown and covered the road in a green leafy tunnel. The angler quietly wondered to himself why some people found him odd. He didn’t keep his catch, but instead quietly released them back into the cool water from which they came. Some found that odd, but he didn’t mind. Mostly, he enjoyed the peace and quiet of fishing. Fishing was fun and something he truly enjoyed, however it was at best an excuse to get out in nature, away from the crowds and noise of everyday living. He couldn’t wait to get to the stream and…
The angler’s attention quickly shifted to his passenger, the 6 year old boy sitting in the truck beside him.
“I’m going to catch a fish this big!” said the little boy, holding his outstretched hands out as far as they could go. The angler smiled.
Once at the creek, the angler studied the water with a practiced eye. Noticing the seams in the current, knowing where his prey would be. He breathed in the fresh air, and smiled quietly to himself as he seen a rise in the current right in front of him. This is the life, he thought. He quietly shut the truck door, not wanting to disturb this fine day. He quietly picked up his rod from the back of the truck…
“WOW! Daddy did you see that rock! It splashed so big!” shouted the little boy.
The angler’s frown melted away immediately when he saw the smile on his son’s face. He knew that one day his son would be older and take fishing more seriously. But until then, he wanted him to come with him, more than he wanted the peace and quiet of fishing; knowing that if he fussed, the little boy might not want to come next time. So he patiently explained that throwing rocks into the stream would scare the fish.
“I won’t do it again Daddy. I promise.” said the little boy with wide eyes.
“I know.” said the angler. He had known something of the sort would happen, that was why they were here. He knew there wouldn’t be any other anglers here, and if there were he would have driven on by to the next fishing hole. Here, they were alone.
That was one of the things he loved about fishing. The solitude and the chance to reconnect with something lost; something more natural and more primitive than everyday living. He studied over this as he quietly rigged up his son’s rod. The boy watched with wide eye fascination and an eager smile upon his lips.
“Here Son, try this.” said the angler. The boy took the rod eagerly and started toward the stream. The angler watched him for a moment before turning his attention to his own rod. He pulled his fly box out of his vest and started to look for that new nymph pattern he had tied the night before…
“Daddy! I’m hung up!” the little boy shouted.
With a sigh the angler turned from his own rod and started toward his son. He wondered how it was possible for him to get out so much line in such a short period of time. After unraveling the line from his son, a couple of rocks, some weeds and a tree, he turned back to his own rod. Now if he could just find that fly…
“Daddy! I got a fish!”
The angler turned to his son to see him proudly holding up a small bass. Only the angler’s pride and smile could have been larger than the boy’s proud look and smile upon his face. After a quick picture he asked the boy what he wanted to do with the fish.
“I want to take it home and show Mama.” he said immediately.
With a knowing smile the angler began to explain that they had a picture to show Mama, and the fish might die out of the water. The boy frowned at this.
“If we turn him back in, you might get to catch him again someday.” suggested the angler. The boy quickly smiled at the idea. The angler unhooked the fish and allowed his son to hold it. The boy quickly lowered it to the water where the fish quickly swam out of his hands. The boy looked up and smiled.
“That was neat Daddy!”
As the angler kept an eye on his son, he quietly fished up stream of the little boy. The boy’s attention span wasn’t very long, and soon his rod lay on the bank next to the creek. The boy asked permission to throw rocks into the creek and it was granted, as long as he threw them over there and not up here. He chased minnows, dug in the dirt and played in the water.
The angler noticed him shiver and told him it was time to go. The boy begrudgingly started toward the truck.
“Don’t forget your rod.” called the angler.
The boy went back and got his rod and brought it to the truck. The angler stowed their gear on the back of the truck. He picked up his son and put him in his booster seat and buckled him in. As he buckled the boy in, the boy’s arms suddenly went up and around the angler’s neck in a tight hug.
“I love you Daddy.” said the boy.
“I love you too.” said the angler.
As he drove away he glanced at his son. The boy was already fast asleep; he had had a big day. I love the peace and quiet of fishing thought the angler. And as he looked at his son, he realized, this is the best fishing trip I’ve ever had. With a tear in his eye, he was already looking forward to the next fishing trip.