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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gone Fishin'

Photo by Simply Heather
Visit her Blog - http://joyfulbussin.blogspot.com/
And her Photo Blog - http://simplyjoyfulphotos.blogspot.com/
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Suggested prompt...
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Write about going fishing.



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I didn't understand him. My father would go out to that river every Sunday and would fish. My mother didn't allow anyone else to go with him. We would all go to service. What gave him the right to skip out of it? He called it his religion. I only remember my mother mentioning church to him once and I'll never forget his reply.

"I learn more out there at the water than I ever will from that man's preaching."

I wondered what he meant by that. What could he possibly learn from the river water? All I learned from the river was how to get my shoes dirty and my mother mad. Or perhaps how to catch a frog without his expecting anything.

But still, my father went out every Sunday.

Finally one Sunday I didn't bother asking my mother again. I asked him instead.

"Dad, can I go with you today?"

He didn't look up from the fly he was tying. He didn't look up to see the disapproving look in my mother's eyes. All he did was nod once and say, "Yes, I guess it's about time you try my religion."

My mother didn't have anything to say to that. She just pursed her lips and went back to getting my little sister's ribbon tied in her hair. I knew she was upset, but I didn't care. I didn't want to go to church today. I didn't want to sit in the pew and hear the same man talk about the same things again. I wanted to understand my father.

I helped my dad carry his equipment to the truck. It made me feel important in a way. I also felt a little out of place. I was so used to wearing my uncomfortable Sunday best on this day of the week. It felt a bit odd to be dressed in my play clothes.

It wasn't long and we were standing at the river together. He hadn't said a word. Once in a while he would whistle through his teeth as he tied a fly to his line. I sat on a rock next to him as he waved the pole over his head and into the water.

It was so still. There was not even a breeze in the air. The water was crystal-like and showed the reflection of the trees like glass. The only motion was my father and his line, and the slight ripple it made in the water. It was quiet. It continued to be this way for some time. Once in a while there would be a slight jerk to his line and he'd reel in a fish just like that. It looked easy enough to me. I could have fallen asleep if the rock I sat upon was more comfortable.

Then after what felt like an hour or so, he turned to me. "Come over here and try this out."

I took a hold of the rod and he showed me how to work it. It seemed easy enough.

Then I felt a little tug and my father told me to start reeling. So I did.

All at once the tension was gone and the line came in quickly.

I'd broken the line.

He told me to be more gentle. He told me that the big fish that bite are going to put up a fight, that I have to be patient and they will get tired before me.

Then he took back the pole.

And I resumed by position on the rock.

What happened next I will never forget. I will forever remember the way it was. There was a tug on his line and away he went. He was in the water! He kept a hold of his pole and started splashing through the water. I didn't understand it. What was he doing? Doesn't that scare the fish away? But there was still tension on his line. He headed down the river and I followed along the bank watching until he came up with a fish the size of his whole arm.

I didn't understand it then, but I never forgot it. Now I understand what made it a religion.

We may fight with things to the point of breaking, but if we have the patience to hold on, if we are gentle and submissive, we will come off conquerer. He had waited for the fish to get tired. He had kept his line from breaking. And he had won.

I didn't go with my father on Sunday again after that. I went back to church as Mother said. But I never forgot the experience and I never will.

Dani

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9 comments:

Dani said...

I didn't understand him. My father would go out to that river every Sunday and would fish. My mother didn't allow anyone else to go with him. We would all go to service. What gave him the right to skip out of it? He called it his religion. I only remember my mother mentioning church to him once and I'll never forget his reply.

"I learn more out there at the water than I ever will from that man's preaching."

I wondered what he meant by that. What could he possibly learn from the river water? All I learned from the river was how to get my shoes dirty and my mother mad. Or perhaps how to catch a frog without his expecting anything.

But still, my father went out every Sunday.

Finally one Sunday I didn't bother asking my mother again. I asked him instead.

"Dad, can I go with you today?"

He didn't look up from the fly he was tying. He didn't look up to see the disapproving look in my mother's eyes. All he did was nod once and say, "Yes, I guess it's about time you try my religion."

My mother didn't have anything to say to that. She just pursed her lips and went back to getting my little sister's ribbon tied in her hair. I knew she was upset, but I didn't care. I didn't want to go to church today. I didn't want to sit in the pew and hear the same man talk about the same things again. I wanted to understand my father.

I helped my dad carry his equipment to the truck. It made me feel important in a way. I also felt a little out of place. I was so used to wearing my uncomfortable Sunday best on this day of the week. It felt a bit odd to be dressed in my play clothes.

It wasn't long and we were standing at the river together. He hadn't said a word. Once in a while he would whistle through his teeth as he tied a fly to his line. I sat on a rock next to him as he waved the pole over his head and into the water.

It was so still. There was not even a breeze in the air. The water was crystal-like and showed the reflection of the trees like glass. The only motion was my father and his line, and the slight ripple it made in the water. It was quiet. It continued to be this way for some time. Once in a while there would be a slight jerk to his line and he'd reel in a fish just like that. It looked easy enough to me. I could have fallen asleep if the rock I sat upon was more comfortable.

Then after what felt like an hour or so, he turned to me. "Come over here and try this out."

I took a hold of the rod and he showed me how to work it. It seemed easy enough.

Then I felt a little tug and my father told me to start reeling. So I did.

All at once the tension was gone and the line came in quickly.

I'd broken the line.

He told me to be more gentle. He told me that the big fish that bite are going to put up a fight, that I have to be patient and they will get tired before me.

Then he took back the pole.

And I resumed by position on the rock.

What happened next I will never forget. I will forever remember the way it was. There was a tug on his line and away he went. He was in the water! He kept a hold of his pole and started splashing through the water. I didn't understand it. What was he doing? Doesn't that scare the fish away? But there was still tension on his line. He headed down the river and I followed along the bank watching until he came up with a fish the size of his whole arm.

I didn't understand it then, but I never forgot it. Now I understand what made it a religion.

We may fight with things to the point of breaking, but if we have the patience to hold on, if we are gentle and submissive, we will come off conquerer. He had waited for the fish to get tired. He had kept his line from breaking. And he had won.

I didn't go with my father on Sunday again after that. I went back to church as Mother said. But I never forgot the experience and I never will.

Dan Felstead said...

WOW! Dani...that is hard to top and left me speechless other than to say you are so spot on in your story. Sometimes as a parent, the smallest thing to you will be remembered by your child for the rest of his/her life. I often wish I could go back for a redo and spend as much time with the little things as I did planning those major trips to Disney world. My son remembers those"little things"...those fleeting moments when all my attention was focused on him regardless of what was swirling around me at the time.

I too remember those special times together one on one with my Dad or Mom. Thanks Dani, for creatively telling a story that is truly a life lesson. And thanks Heather for a photo that evoked these feelings.

Dan

Wildspirit said...

Catching fish is not the first priority for me--if it were, I would still be fishing bass tournaments--and winning them. However, I was just too interested in the beauty and nature-filled environment of the ponds, streams, and lakes I have fished. With a camera now instead of a rod and reel, I enjoy the experience even more, lazing under a shade tree by the water. Fishing was just an excuse, I guess, and not winning many tournaments was due primarily to the distraction of wildlife such as raccoons, bobcats, eagles and ospreys, kingfishers and coots, herons and gulls--and sometimes bikini-clad girls. I just lay the rod and reel down and relax.
The pure enjoyment of being at one with nature in a natural setting, rather than watching the TV at home...oh yes, and avoiding the normal routine of home-related chores and maintenance--very boring stuff that I usually postpone to another time as I head for the water with my camera, peanut bar, and a jug of Gatorade.

rosebud101 said...

I've done it.
I don't like it.
Let's save the fish.
Eat beef.

Simply Heather said...

Dani - Dan said it!! I read this just after you wrote it and was so touched by it.

Wildspirit - Your thoughts are what I would like my father to realize. He always loved fishing, mostly from the boat but...he suffers from physical ailments where he's not able to clutch, balance well (many forms of arthritis). I am trying to get him to do this, as you shared...go out for a ride with a camera in hand, to the places that he found peace and joy in. Some day, he might...but I think it's the company he's missing the most.

Wonderful prose!!

Simply Heather said...

Dan, always a pleasure to touch the heart :o)

christine said...

I was just going along with the crowd, you know, as you do, nothing to think about except where to go for the next meal, who to eat with, you know, the usual thoughts regarding good food.

Anyway, as I say, we were just pootling along when Jen suddenly dashed ahead. I could see why, there was this fantastic food just there for the taking.

She's always been faster than me, and her eyesight's better, too. I guess I've always been a bit jealous, but not any more, oh no.

She went and grabbed hold of this tasty morsel, and next thing we know she's screaming in pain, there's some sort of hard, pointy thing in her mouth, and she can't spit it out.

Now she's trying to get away, but she can't, she's being pulled out of the water. There's nothing we can do to help her.

We watch, distressed, as she disappears into the blueness above us, flapping and jerking. Her screams cease as she leaves the water.

Dani said...

Thanks so much, Dan, for the kind words! I thoroughly enjoyed writing this one... It's a lesson I've pondered quite a lot about fishing, since my husband loves it so much. If you've ever seen the movie "A River Runs Through It" it really has a lot to ponder on the same subject. :) Some of my inspiration came from there.

Makita Jazzqueen said...

The picture was just so beautiful, it actually left me breathless...