-Continued from Part I-
As younger children, we found water to be a body in which we could indulge in recreationally, whether that be through swimming or swinging off a rope swing into the depths below. But as we got older, we realized the water provided more than just an indulgence; it was also a provider.
Though we accompanied our fathers and grandfathers on their early morning fishing trips to the banks of the creek, we would often become sidetracked as we waited and waited for the rod to stir from its petrified state. Minutes would pass before the rod would twitch, and thus we began to wander to take our minds off of the stillness (it is well-known that children do not like stillness). We would travel up and down the banks of the creek, walking through the sweetgrass in search of some hidden path or rare artifacts from previous adventurers. As we grew older, we began to understand the peaceful beauty of the still rod.
Fishing itself is a religious experience that is something to be greatly appreciated. Much like the repetition of the Rosary, the continuous cycle of the casting and reeling of the line creates a trance-like state in which one can be in touch with his or her true self. Though always engaged with the task at hand, the stillness allows you to really observe how you fit in with nature. You look over and see the flip of a Red Drum’s tailfin. You hear the rushing of the sweetgrass as the gentle sea breeze wafts across the marsh. You see a Blue Heron standing on the edge of the bank waiting for a fish to come by, not unlike yourself at the present moment. You see nature, and through nature, you see God at work. Yes, the stillness of the rod can bring you closer to God.
Your personal reflection is interrupted as you feel the rod begin to twitch; softly at first, then at once it bends sharply. On the end of your line is a prize that requires hard work, and depending on the prize, that work could be a while. You quickly spring into action by snapping back the rod to set the hook in the mouth of your fish. You give some slack as to not break the line, then reel it in to bring your prize home. By alternating between giving slack and reeling, the fish begins to tire. Eventually, it seems as if the fish gives up the fight and reeling takes priority. This, of course, comes with a surprise. Just as the fish gets close to the bank, it gives one last huzzah and fights again; but alas, it has lost the battle. Through hard work, you gain your prize to show off to your family and friends. You may not realize it at the time, but nature has once again taught you a lesson: you must put forth effort to receive the prize.
After a long day by the creek, you feel satisfied. It doesn’t matter if you caught 35 fish or none at all: you are perfectly content with what the day has given. You had a chance to see nature in its raw form. You had a chance to bond with your father. You had a chance to appreciate life, and thank God for His blessings. You, my dear friend, are satisfied.
-To Be Continued…