I stood there for a good three hours, wading in an alpine lake in Wyoming’s Medicine Bow mountains, determined to catch one fish. Continual winds blew the normally placid water around; I almost took a dive more than a few times on the unstable, rocky shelf, and my entire left leg fell asleep for a worrisome amount of time. This is vacation?
Normally such a wait – in traffic, at the DMV, in line for Pliny the Younger at the Russian River Brewery – would drive me insane. OK, I’d keep my sanity waiting for Pliny, but you get the picture.
Inexplicably, the wait for a fish to nibble at the fly didn’t bother me. Serenity passed over me as the minutes ticked by. Be calm. Think like a fish. Be the fly.
I changed flies, re-cast, jiggled the line, sang a little song, spoke in soothing tones, crouched like I was about to jump on a $20 bill laying in the street. The fly bobbed happily along the surface of the lake, looking pretty darn enticing if I do say so myself. Nothing. Not even a fish rising – the fish’s usual technique to mock the fisherman.
I imagined thousands of trout gathering for a meeting just under my Parachute Adams, with their leader explaining to the masses that they should never, ever bite that thing floating on the water. What if they were getting organized, passing out flyers on how to avoid getting caught? I panicked. What if I never caught a fish ever again? I’d have to continually lie to family members at the end of our fishing excursions, as the rest of them always seem to catch something. Curse them.
But I was more than happy to wait. I had all the time in the world. No fish was going to break me. And finally, a hit. Not hooked, but a hit. I was ready to dive in the water and catch it with my bare hands, but thought better. Then at last, a fish deigned me worthy and had the courtesy to put the whole fly in its mouth. I brought the fish to shore, a brook trout measuring a whopping eight inches. I didn’t care. I took the fly out of the trout’s mouth, gave it a little scolding, and put it back in the lake to rejoin his co-conspirators.
Fishing – you either love it, or just don’t get it. In our family, four of us get it, and the fifth just stays behind playing golf. The thing about trout is that they only live in clear, cold water, really far away from civilization. That’s why we drive a thousand miles to Wyoming every summer. I really didn’t mind the wait for my one fish that day, which is so far removed from everything else in my life. Why hasn’t so and so returned my phone call or email? Why is the waiter taking so long? Will that red light ever turn green?
We’re all so impatient.
I say embrace the wait. The next time you’re in a long grocery line and the customer at the register needs a price check, take a deep breath and visualize yourself waiting to catch a fish. You may get some odd looks, but you’ll eventually get what you want. As long as you “get it.” – Alec
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