The Catcher and The Catch

He carries a basket of fishing goodies and a small net as he treks to his favorite spot, the one about a mile in and just over where the trail jumps left and the pool gathers deep. I think they call this place Sam’s Creek but a true fisherman will never disclose his exact whereabouts. I ask myself if they do this out of fear of their competition or their desire to protect the serenity and the existence of their spot. Whatever their reason, I like the mystery.

The water thrashes about as it runs down the way. The crashing of the rapids gives no wake to silence while the sun occasionally peaks through the canopy of hemlocks above. He stands there in the middle of the swift moving stream. He is like the moon hanging in the sky; still and quiet as he sends his gaze down into the water. He causes me pause while I draw a parallel of how God keeps watch over His creation below. He is steady, still and aware.

If I didn’t guess his trade by the obvious fishing poles, I’d think him a bit silly sight in his over-sized getup. His pants and his boots held onto him by two large suspenders and he proudly wears a floppy cap, all the rage with the other trout fishermen his species. He looks like he might play the part of a clean cut desk man and I suspect he has traded his corporate crown for the floppy cap if only for this one quiet day of reprieve.

In one fluid and smooth motion, he raises his rod in one hand and holds his line in the other while he flings the rod back and then forward, back and then forward, back and then forward, back and then forward. With each back and forward move, I hear the line whip and run, whip and run, whip and run, whip and run. I watch the misty spray spring from his action and it showcases a small rainbow when the sun hits it just right. Again, I pause and reflect on the symbolic nature of the rainbow and God’s promises.

For a few sacred moments, he is at peace with his world and even I have caught a little peace just by being present in his world. He hears no other sound except the gushing water and the line; whip and run. With each new cast, he throws an old care. His mind relaxes under the circumstances he finds himself in and as he wades deeper into the cool water his body relaxes, too. I bet he wouldn’t care if he didn’t land a fish on the other end of his line. He already caught what he was fishing for anyway and a fish would be double the pleasure.

I like to watch him. He doesn’t know that I do and I would never intend to intrude on his great big world of paradise. Nor would I ever intend to profit from his bliss but joy is contagious and one cannot help but to fall into his love of the outdoors, the cool waters, the chance at a catch, his sacred spot and the peace that ensues. I don’t see this as dishonest gain on my part, taking something that was not mine to take, but simply guilty by association of the same mountain stream territory on this beautiful fall day. No, no shame at all on my part. I just want to hang out and watch him and I hope that I can convey his world with my words. If so, he will have given me the gift of a tranquil moment that I will recall each time I open the pages of my journal and read the entry entitled “The Trout Fisherman…Peace Like a River”.

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