From the outside, fly fishing looks like doing nothing. You’re just standing there waiting for a fish to bite, and, even if he does bite, you’re going to throw him back anyway. But it’s different when you’re the one standing there.
When you’re the one standing there, you find out that fly fishing is the opposite of doing nothing. It’s doing something that lets you be where your feet are for a change. You’re not preoccupied, and you’re not in a hurry. You’re not hounded by busyness, and your mind isn’t jumping from one thing to another. You’re just there.
So you relax. You watch the sun dancing on the under-brim of your hat. You feel the cool of the stream pressing in on your waders. You stay quiet because the fish are cagey and you have to be careful not to spook them. You pay close attention because you may only get one quick nibble before the fish realizes that it isn’t a real fly. Every once in a while, you get impatient because catching a fish takes so long, but soon you relax again because you remember that catching a fish doesn’t really matter. The goodness of being there is good enough.
Relaxing makes your cast better and that makes it more likely that you’ll catch a fish. When you do, you get to hold his slippery self and enjoy his rainbow beauty up close. When he swims away you’re glad because you can see that you haven’t ruined him. You’ve just borrowed him for a few minutes. Then you smile to yourself and start all over again.
Fly fishing let’s you remember what being content feels like, and being content in all that beauty makes you wonder what heaven feels like.
“[P]eace like a river. . . .” Isaiah 66:12
“[A]s we enjoyed peace of mind, . . . as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear. . . .” Alcoholics Anonymous