The Tao of Fishing

| 4/26/2010 7:27:05 PM

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A photo of Drew OdomWhen the garden is planted and the strawberries aren't quite ripe for picking and the corn has been sewn and there is little else worth doing on a Saturday morning it is a safe bet that quite a few folks can be found heading to the lake or the pond to do a little meditating – or as we call it around Odom's Idle Acres, fishing! Middle Georgia isn't known for it's lakes or water reserves but there are a few that have some good size fish and while I haven't caught a ton of fish on these little outings, I have learned a few things while sitting on the edge of the bank, pole in hand.

Fishing takes patience

Patience Takes Practice – What else is there to do waiting for 'the big one' to take the bait? You can't speed the process up or talk a fish onto your hook. They say patience is a virtue and if it is I think a lot more people - myself included - could learn to be a bit more virtuous. When your kid or your spouse or your colleague is knee deep in telling a story, being careful not to leave out any detail, or when you are the 2nd car at a red light and the first one doesn't punch the gas like Dale Jr. as soon as it turns green, remember to be patient. There is nothing in life that is worth hurrying through to the point of angering or disconnecting with others. I guess I could use more time sitting on the banks.

Ripples Still Cause Reaction – Not everyone is going to go through this life making waves and impacting all those around them. It just isn't everyone's calling. If you notice the next time you throw a stone into the water or you cast out your line, the ripples expand out from the center and we tend to think that the further out the ripple the less impact it has in those outer parameters. But the fish can sense them and they get spooked. They run. So it is with life and our actions. One small act can have an enormous effect as it spreads out from its point of origin. I think of the insurance commercials running now that show how one action can spark another and another and another. But so it is also with poor choices and disagreements. Like a neatly arranged line of dominoes, one harsh word or discouraging action can impact someone to the point where the ripple may never fade away.

There Is A Season – First spoken in Ecclesiastes 3:1, for everything there is a season. Turned to song by The Byrds, A time to plant / a time to reap / A time to kill / a time to heal / A time to laugh / a time to weep / To everything - turn, turn, turn / There is a season. Going fishing midday is a mistake. It is too hot and the sun is just overhead. Fish don't like shadows and a long, midday shadow can spook them to the bottom. Early morning or early evening is when the folks around here choose to cast their bait. And like fishing, there is a time for everything in life. If we choose to jump into something before the time is right, the results can be ruinous. I am a huge fan of seasons and signs. If you wait for the right season in which to do something, the signs are never far behind. There is a season.

Just Let It Go – Not many people keep the small ones. In fact, the rule is if it doesn't feed a family of four, it isn't worth keeping. Throw it back and give it a sportin' chance. In life, it is often best to just let it go. As humans we are quick to anger and slow to forgive. But if we take real, honest inventory of the situation, did holding on to that anger get us anywhere? Chances are they didn't and in fact the feelings of anger and resentment started eating away at us. In order to find true peace we need to learn to forgive and forget.

4/28/2010 10:02:25 AM

@Cindy - You are very welcome!

Cindy Murphy
4/28/2010 9:02:49 AM

Very thoughtful analogies between fishing and life in that thar blog, Andrew. I like that first one especially; it makes me smile. Dad always tried to teach us patience when he took us fishing as little kids. The art of patience is learned though, and inevitably, after a while, we'd end up playing on the banks and exploring the area, while Dad tended the lines until he called us back not-all-that frequently when it was evident there was a fish on the other end. Thankfully, over the years I've grown way more patient then I was during those childhood fishing excursions. This patience is definitely needed when listening to my youngest tell a story. The answer to the question "What'd you do at school today?" starts with "first you kissed me goodbye and told me to have a nice day", progresses to every moment, explained in great detail, until twenty minutes later, it ends with "and then the bell rang and school was over". I admit to prodding her along sometimes (or we'd be sitting at the dinner table all night, her food long since grown cold and "icky"). Although her reenactment of the day is sometimes tedious, her great attention to detail, and humorous take on her world is very cool. I'd hate to miss out on it because I didn't have the patience to listen. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

4/27/2010 9:22:47 PM

I would hardly call me a philosopher. I just kind of call like I see it and write in the only language I know - simple truth. Thanks for the kind words though. I appreciate your vulnerability in your comment and your candidness. Refreshing to hear another person believe as simply as I do. No stew yet. No such luck.

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