Not again. I can’t imagine the number of times I have thought of that remark let alone the times I’ve said it. I’ve been fortunate on many fronts and I’m more than grateful. The past 13-14 months or so, has been a journey of minor inconveniences compared to what others had to suffer through. I have no reason to complain. Then again with the Delta Variant on a rampage, I can’t help but wonder yet hope that common sense will prevail….
I have a handful of avocations, each having one thing in common: I am comfortable when it’s me and myself involved. That sounds a bit self-absorbed, but it simply means I’m fine being alone. Being alone and lonely are two different things, obviously. Having alone time is important for one’s rejuvenation, at least for me.
Photography, journaling, letter writing, playing the piano and fly-fishing are welcome pursuits for me. Granted the first and last distractions can be shared and done with others. On several occasions my wife, daughters and other family members have kept me company on nearby waters. Our fly rods might look like conductor batons in a free-for-all, an ensemble of asynchronous metronomes, where each length of graphite is tuned to the individual holder.
On those days when I’m out with a camera, my wife keeps me company. In the city, she waits for me to catch up when I stop to take a photo. After awhile though, the distance and the time it takes to catch up get a tad longer. On jaunts through the woods, the converse is true: our pace is calmer, slower than the one we use in the urban environment. Time takes its time [read: less frenetic] in natural spaces; and for me that’s how it should be.
To see something in the wild is often fleeting: the songbird you hear only to take flight once you actually see it; the whitetail deer that suddenly, inexplicably pops out from the background in what feels like a whisper’s distance, only to bound away just as you look to acknowledge its presence.
And then I’m handed a “pause” button. Fly-fishing can put a slight pause in what you’re looking at before the moment disappears. Having a landing net is an appreciation multiplier. It allows an opportunity to add a few seconds to really appreciate what you’re seeing. The Eastern Brook Trout is a jewel among fish. I never tire of catching this wild* freshwater creature that can only live in a healthy river or stream. Healthy, as in cold, clear and running. The existence of wild trout means the habitat we’re visiting is good for the fish and everything else that’s dependent on the river and surrounding area.
Ours is a symbiotic relationship with the natural world. Unfortunately, that relationship is out of balance and all things wild and natural are being short-changed by humankind’s behaviors. I find the safest social distance in the outdoors and the time there prompts me to examine the symbiotic and personal relationships I hold dear.
*wild versus native: a wild trout is one that’s been born in the very water it lives in. Wild trout/fish reproduce naturally in their habitat and sustain their populations. A native fish are those that have lived and thrived in areas that have had no or very little human interaction. A stocked fish is from a hatchery that’s typically managed by the state’s wildlife management. Regardless, please make an effort to carefully release these fish [a fly-fishing practice called catch-and-release]. It’s good for the neighborhoods we visit.