I don’t have many memories from childhood- but some of the good ones include fishing adventures. My Dad loved to fish- and funny- I don’t know if he ever actually got to do it, he was so busy fixing, untangling, un-snagging, and re-rigging our lines. I remember the air and the grass and the sound of the water. I remember how my Dad could expertly tie knots in the fishing line and how he would fearlessly grab a worm and split it in two with his bare hands.
As I got older, it was fun to sit and watch the men enviously change their rigs over and over as they watched us girls haul in the fish using only our water-logged “worm sundae’s” and a little patience. One day, Sally and I counted “Thirteen!” from the bank, while Dad was helping Grandpa, who was risking life and limb to rescue his lure from way up in a tree. Even then, in the midst of the worst of aggravations, my Dad would put down his pole to tie on my hooks whenever it needed doing.
I’m so thankful to both of my parents for helping me to develop a love for the outdoors. It was in moments like these- and many others- from camping to more simple backyard experiences, that I learned to talk to God and believe in the unseen. Things were very tough at home- but there was a place I could go- even if I didn’t understand the respite I would find there.
So this week, I have been fishing with the Wil-de-beast. Historically, he hasn’t cared all that much about fishing- but it now seems he has caught the bug. He wakes up in the morning thinking about the pole. He even missed a workout- which for him, is unheard of.
On the first day- the Wil-de-beast and I decided we wanted to try worms, so we dug up the field grass, right where we stood, with whatever implements we could find in the tackle box. Our most useful tool was the fillet knife- we were able to carve away chunks of ground and quickly grab exposed worms before they got away. Using a knife ensured that we had nice worm pieces anyway. This was sort of a trap-setting, living-off-the-land kind of thing and I’m sure the worms were juicier and the catch was sweeter since we extracted these babies from the earth ourselves.
This fishing fun led us to the Walmart store, where the Wil-de-beast spent an inordinate amount of time in the fishing aisle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so eager to plunk down ten bucks on his necessities; now I know why Grandpa was willing to risk his life up in that tree.
The beast has spent hours alone out in the not-so-easy-to-fish-in paddle boat exploring little coves and experimenting with different bait. He caught some big bass and some nice crappie- but he also caught the ability to enjoy the journey- fish or no fish. As I look out the window, and spot the boat tucked into a little cove, my eyes fill with tears as I realize these are hours spent with God. As he watches the water ripple and listens to the birds sing- there’s likely a voice speaking to his heart and it’s likely that the Wil-de-beast is talking back… and he thinks he’s just fishin’.
It’s these kind of little things that really blow me away.