Monday, April 14, 2014

The Tao of Fishing (Poetic Prose)

Riverside sitting, the kind that summons the blood sun and sets aside the urge for instant gratification, is just one activity (calling it such puts a burning stretch on the definition of that very word) that brings Stu, like a child, close to the heart of all things. A school teacher by trade, his life affords him 14 weeks a year devoid of responsibilities apart from the exuding of compassion toward his fellow man...and taxes. He fishes to remind himself that he is of nature, that he is nature. He is an assortment of atoms and an illusion of empty space, arranged in a way that has allowed the alias Stu to come to be.

taoism, lao tzu, fishing, tao of fishingPatience is his beacon, and though not always pointing to true north, he's often aimed in its vicinity. Whether nine fish or none, Stu remains. His trusty blue denim hat, bleached by the sun's tendrils and frayed by the wind's whip, is closer to compost than to top-shelf and has seen better days. He waits out the sun and the flies and the false nibbles -- grasses, pebbles, and the probing turtle that hasn't made the menu.

Sitting by this river has taught him to smile at an empty stomach and a cold damp drizzle, as well as at a fat fried fish and the late May breeze. Companionship he occasionally finds in a colleague or a friend from out of town. Loneliness tells him as much about nature as the shapes of rocks and the changing hues of the sky on high. An empty moment is nothing more than companionship out of time.

He is turmoil. He is peace. He is nature.

Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

Lao Tzu


  1. Damn! This is great. It reminds me of my grandfather. I really like how you gave the ideals of merging with nature a voice (Stu). This was a very evocative piece. It also reminds me of the book I'm reading right now, "Desert Solitaire" by Edward Abbey. It's a nonfiction work about his time spent alone in the Utah desert. There is something uniquely soul-enriching about solitude and open space. It makes me want to get to the mountains asap. Anyway, good work, I liked this very much.

    1. Thanks, man! I heard Chris Ryan mention Eward Abbey and really wond to read some. Thanks for the reminder. Yeah, a walk in the woods is good medicine. Can't wait to get out on a hike soon. Catcha.


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