“It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are.” – Wendell Berry
It was a summer night just about that time when the sun begins to drift away and the air begins to cool with delight. After a long day of fishing down in the river, my dad, brother and I had just arrived at a new fishing spot in hopes of finding some new opportunity. We were now at a smaller stream where the granite boulders formed a small canyon all around. It was about two hours from where we grew up -- high in the Sierra Nevada mountain range close to Lake Tahoe where trees are tall and the air is fresh. The evening birds were singing their songs, and the light streaking through the trees above. I felt the wind gently refresh my sunburned skin. The water seemed to welcome the change as it transformed into a liquid glass. For a fisherman the time was perfect to be out fishing. The bugs were flying around and off in the distance I saw a fish rise for its dinner meal.
The canyon stream was somewhat small and had a rather rich vegetation growth around it. Fishing in a smaller area like this requires you to be smart and simple. But the stream offered some great pools -- ideal for fishing. We separated a little as we were fishing and I decided explore upstream a little in hopes of finding a little bit of luck. After a while of fishing up there but not catching anything I decided to turn back and join my dad and brother.
On my way back I saw my dad in the distance and decided to watch him fish. And it was like seeing a craftsman that has been devoted for a lifetime, I could see his wisdom and love for fishing from there. While I grew up fishing with my dad, it was only in the recent years that my twin brother and I were able to return to fishing with our dad. And in many ways this felt like returning to our home. In this moment of seeing my dad move to the next fishing hole and then throw his line into the water I was flooded with all the great times I have had with my dad fishing. I remembered how he taught us how to tie a hook on a line. How he always passed on his secrets to where the fish would be and the best strategy on how to catch them. I remember his selflessness as he would lend his pole or his lucky lure, even if it was his last one. And yet, for just a moment, I was able to see him in his element, simple and pure. I saw him being himself and doing what he loved. It may have been a simple moment, but it is one of the bigger reasons why I want to fish. I will always be thankful of that day, and I am so glad he has spread his love for fishing down another generation. I can only hope to do the same.