Saturday, November 28, 2009

When All Else Fails, Imagine

As the weather has gotten colder, I have been less eager to venture off to my favorite fishing spots. While I’m not quite ready to hang up the poles for the year, I realize each day that the likelihood of a fishing excursion is getting farther and farther away.

With the change of season and daylight savings time, my sleep patterns have shifted in ways that are odd and unpredictable. It could be my increasing age or the general stress of everyday life (not to mention the state of the world and all of its struggles). Whatever it is, I have been sleeping just 5-7 hours for the past month and I have started doing meditations daily. Sometimes, I use visualization to relax. It is kind of like having a daydream only you close your eyes. I guess it a hybridized version of a daydream and a meditation session. Either way, one of my most prevalent visualization techniques is a morning spent fishing.

Usually, what comes to mind are the mornings on Lake Oscaleta in South Salem, NY. As a waterside resident for 4 years, I was indulged by quiet mornings in the summers – 6:00am sunrise. The water would be calm and a slight steam would be flowing up from it. Some mornings, I would take my rowboat or the kayak and go fishing. With not another soul around and the calm water around me, this now provides amazing visualization imagery for me.

In my visualizations, I can see the steam and the glint of sun slowly rising on the water. I can recall the smell of the lake and its green laden waters – lily pads, leaves, and dark green hues. My favorite spots come to mind. Under large fallen branches or beneath the weeping willows – all of the environments that provide shade in the summer for the breeding largemouth bass. The docks. Wooden. Some are older and antiquated while others are trendy, new, and fiberglass. The floats. My imagination drifts to visions of children jumping, the shrill of their screaming as they plummet off of these tethered rafts.

Docks – these man-made objects that provide convenience for docking boats or dangling feet. They also provide a tranquil environment for some big, sleepy fish. As I coast around the fringes of the lake in my mind, I am able to unravel those experiences as wonderful fishing adventures.

Guess I will do some fishing this winter after all.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Some odd, recent fish talk has me immersed in deep analysis on the topic of goldfish. These gilled creatures, often admired in pet shops and homes, can serve as wonderful companions. Small enough to fit in a bowl or numerous enough to fit in a large tank, goldfish are often a child's best friend or a cat's entertainment. They live well alone and can get along with others.

I recently told a friend of mine that I wanted to get a cat. Unfortunately, the last time I had a cat, I was traveling so much for work that I wasn't home a lot. Eventually, the cat got mad at me and soaked my carpets with spontaneous urinary reminders. It was a painful bill to pay as I vacated my apartment, watching the carpet installers replacing the carpet in the spot she had chosen to remind me of her displeasure. Amazing how animals communicate their dissatisfaction. My friend - the one who I told about my recent desire to obtain a new feline friendie - advised me to get a goldfish. A goldfish. As an avid fisherwoman, I have difficulty with this idea.

How selfish is it to assume that a goldfish could possibly be happy in life when it is brought into this world only to share a large aquarium with lots of other fish and then be snatched up by a small net and placed into a plastic bag, only to spend the rest of its life alone in a small bowl on someone's dresser? And for what pleasure? Of watching people walk by, stick their face close to the tank and make funny faces? Or drifting to the surface twice a day to suck a few flakes of processed fish food? If I were a goldfish, I would jump right out of the tank and hop to the toilet or a nearby drain (similar to the concept illustrated in Finding Nemo).

Just today, I learned from a co-worker that he used to feed goldfish to his snake. He would leave them by the snake and it would slowly slither in and grab the fish. I had no idea that snakes desired fish, but a highly discernable palate is not surprising for a species that may have once survived on less.

Goldfish have an interesting predicament - life in a bowl or life in a belly? Which would you choose? Personally, I would run and hide every time the lid lifted in the store.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Trips Down the Same Path

Spending time in nature offers the best meditative remedy. Peacefulness. Calm. Contrast. Light. Color. Warmth. The daily changes of the fall often produce these effects, even on trips down the same path.

I recently spent a week in Keene, NH, taking care of Wrigley, the chocolate lab belonging to my aunt and uncle. With the sweetest canine soul of any other I have known, he trustingly led me to this path. The path was dirt and rock, somewhat sedimentary, but upon reaching the top, he had led me to a path in the woods. The path that he and his papa walk every day.

There are no fishing holes along this path, but I am certain that Wrigley would want to swim in them if we had happened upon one. Wrigs is a swimmer - throw a peanut butter cookie in the water and before a fish can call it bait, "Snatch!" Wrigs gets there first!

Along this path, the prevalent mud puddles found their way into our path on many more occasions than one, forcing us to dodge and maneuver them as we whisked by. The colors - multiple hues of yellows and oranges from leaves that had fallen from the protective trees along this route - are indescribable. Adjacent to this path, you can see one or two of the fairways of Keene Country Club, a golf course that I played a few times in my 20s. The walks that Wrigs and I took down this path were reminiscent of weekends I would spend in New Hampshire as a child.

The smell of wood stoves or fireplaces. That smoky smell that permeates my soul, conjuring up my own dreams of living in a home with a wood fireplace, a huge kitchen with a Viking stove, and many dinner parties with laughter and love. I've been called a dreamer, but this is my reality. A simple week of walking the same path with Wrigley brought me back to some of the basic ideals that I have always held true to my heart.

Now all we need is a fishing hole...for my soon to be Viszla to swim in!