Fishing for Time and Space
Many men go fishing all of their lives without realizing
it is not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau
We are rushed and hurried creatures. We keep calendars, set reminders and make deadlines that we may or may not keep. We strive under pressure, but thrive? Hmmm. I’m not so sure. Maybe ‘survive’ is the better word. We survive under pressure and we keep a frantic pace with little room for deep breaths and wide open spaces. We talk of summers long ago when our little tanned feet knew green grass and the camaraderie of friends. We recall camping trips or days at the beach as if the mere memory of such ordinary days is enough to fill us with the calm and centered self we long to find again.
Rest, friends. Slow your pace and give yourself room to really live. We must work, we must create, we must prepare meals and clean our homes and tackle the laundry. But we must take a few moments to be … to be ourselves, to explore our thoughts, to rest our minds and see where whimsy takes us.
I’m married to a determined man. He’s determined to work hard, do well, and exceed his own goals and standards. I’ve learned a thing or two from him over the years and as I’ve come to discover, it’s something Henry David Thoreau knew, too. Men go fishing or hunting, hiking or biking. They do it not so much for the fish or the buck or the exercise (though those are all valid reasons), but for the calm in the storm. They hunt for the quiet time in the woods. They hike because it’s a slow and steady pace that allows them to notice the trail along the way. One cannot fish and hunt in a frantic world brimming with constant noise and rush hour traffic. Fishing, hunting, whatever the escape, it requires quiet determination, patience and the willingness to stand still and let nature take its course.
We can learn a lot from a man in a tree stand. We can decipher lessons to live by from a man standing along the banks of a river in Yellowstone country. He’s driven by the need for calm and clarity, for mastery of a skill that requires him to stop and wait and listen.
Try it this weekend. Stop and wait and listen. Climb to the top of the hill and see what you can see. And then rest your weary soul.
Find time to exhale, friends.