Wednesday, April 17, 2013

In pescum veritas

And suddenly, again; it's not about me anymore. Yet another underpinning of my life has become not so much something I do, as something I share.

The Opener is quickly bearing down on us. Despite a recent wintry dump of wet snow followed by a warm spell, which is all very promising, and I'm sure to enjoy some time on the water; yet, what I look forward to most is spending at least part of opening day with Sam. 

From my fondest memories of childhood, so have I raised this child thus far. I remember clearly, fishing under a fallen tree for dolly varden smolts, as a toddler - though my parents laugh warmly and tell that that was a twig to which was tethered by a small rope a red, plastic fish. But to the baby who gazed down into the clear waters of some unnamed B.C. river, upon the lively darting trout, the rod combo is a minor detail. What stirred me then, and what stirs me (and so many of us) now is the bright vibrant potential of those swiftly moving creatures. It is the instinct to capture, and the instinct to wonder that so imbues them with the ability to captivate. And, as my father was captivated and sought to share this fascination with me, so now do I seek to share it with my own sons; Samuel now and I so hope also with Isaac later. I seek to deliver to them this unique joy, which only the lighting up of our collective instinct can bring to pass.

As Samuel grows in mind and body, I am beginning to understand the reason behind why so many adults would say to me that they looked forward to spending their weekends with their children; back when I thought only of where I would be going to have nachos and beer, and with which friends - or where were we going skiing, or fishing, or fooling around on the beach. I had no clue that these activities could be rendered almost completely irrelevant and uninteresting by the simplest of things: love.

Speaking of instinct, I suppose that our protectiveness of our kids and our love for them can be termed as such. In purely scientific terms, I imagine that this is the only thing that makes sense. But Science, like Religion, has a way of becoming too absolute, and in human terms I think it is always enough just to say "love." Though it is a joy to analyse what it is to be a person, it also falls on us to experience what it means and, very much like that dim star that shines in a dark pocket of the night sky, look straight at it and it vanishes. There is studying the thing, and then there is being the thing; I've always been more interested in the later, hence why I so long ago eschewed the philosophical study of Mind and took up the wonder of literature. One sought to theorise about the thing, but the other is the great, clear manifestation of it and so often, again, with that un-focus that so aptly unveils that dim little star, the inside definition of who and what we are.

Do I digress?

A little, perhaps. But I think that having kids changes one's life and, by definition, this new perspective also changes the meaning of life itself. I am no longer living just for myself, but for these others that I place above myself; and my days are no longer as concerned with what gratifies me - or even them - but what will most bring us together, and most bring us real joy in life. Sometimes, that's hard work; other times it's time spent together.

And other times, it's fishing by a river together. And as I look forward now to taking Sam down by the tracks and walking out a ways to see what's going on and try our luck, I see another thing through this window. I've mentioned ad infinitum (or you might say ad nauseum) the indescribable joy and fulfillment of the moment before the catch, when the offering is taken, and the fight begins, and doubts are laid aside - and tonight as I finish this up I think I know the source of it. Obviously: love. 

Love, and the deep, instinctive fear of their hunger through our lack of success. Because you never know what the steelhead gods will throw your way - snow storms and droughts, or blessed rains and sweet, cool weather - and success is largely predicated on these conditions. But bring to the bank one of these beautiful, scintillating creatures and fear is replaced by joy; catch many and anxiety is dispelled by contentment and peace.

So, logically and pseudo-scientifically, I know already what new level of pride I will feel, when Samuel - whether this year or next - fights his first one and wins the battle: a new level and magnitude of that feeling, mingled with love, of which I'm certain that I have as yet no clear idea of how it will be

And that is the beauty of being. No matter how much you think you know, you never really know until you've been. You'll never live it all - but keep your eyes and heart open, and you'll live and be so much more than you ever thought you could.

p.-



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