Thursday, September 27, 2012

River of Zen

Right now I am parked in my little camper truck along the Arkansas River. I have been fishing for trout every waking minute for three days. Except for a couple of blustery afternoons the weather has been benign, the winds favorable to a cast, and the fish eager to give satisfaction. I have several hefty ones in my refrigerator, headed for the smoker.

I tend to stand in one place and cast my fly, over and over again in a kind of Zen trance, trying for one perfect cast after another, an old geezer with nothing better to do. Literally, nothing better to do. One of those old guys standing waist deep in a river dressed in the entire spectrum of beige, uncaring whether any fish happens to notice a nicely placed fly, a perfect float, a quiet retrieve and cast again. It is a study, a performance waiting for an audience, just one taker..

Right now I have the heater running, drying some clothes. I was standing about waist deep along the shore earlier this afternoon in a riprap of jagged boulders in a moderate current. The thought occurred to me that I could easily go over backwards into the water and fill my waders in a minute when I went over backwards into the water and filled my waders in a minute. In that minute, however, one's waders are still full of air, so your legs tend to float somewhere just above your head as you drift off into the current. You can't put your legs down to stand and right yourself. You are basically helpless, adrift, festooned in floating flyline about your neck and shoulders, hyperventilating from the shock of a sudden plunge into a cold river - in a word ridiculous, utterly humbled until your wader socks fill with cold water and you can sink just enough, turn over on your belly and head into shore like an old wet dog.

It was a moment of beauty, my moment of Zen. The idea matched reality on cue, the world just then corresponded perfectly to a fleeting thought. The universe settled in that instant, the planets aligned, the galaxies thrummed along in perfect unison, all things were in cosmic balance, my debt to gravity paid in full.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of when I running to work a few weeks ago. Moving at about 6:30 min/mi, I was in the zone, until a curb brought me back to reality. Tripping while running is a little embarrassing, tripping while running through a busy intersection at rush hour is quite humbling.