The Fishing Hole

Photo by Rangga Aditya Armien on

Again, an older poem. I think quarantine is going to my head because I’m very drawn to poems right now that involve nature and man’s relationship to nature. In nature, we are always getting and giving medicine. I think of the natural world as the greatest healer. I know, when I’m at zero point, I need to re-connect with nature in some capacity. I have a lot of poems about fishing. Actually, I grew up fishing a lot. It’s not something I enjoy. Perhaps because I’m a Pisces (whose sign is a fish). My dad and grandpa were big fishermen. I never really enjoyed it. 1) I had no patience for it as a kid. 2) I didn’t like the taste of fish at the time 3) My parents bought me a bunch of ‘guppies’ in a fish tank and I was an animal lover as a child. I could not understand why we were using what was in my fish tank as bait. I would get out onto the ice (during ice fishing) and name the guppies and talk to them. Then someone would go and put one on their line, and I was kind of upset about it. I still don’t have much interest in any kind of fishing except fly fishing. I grew to love this when I was older and realized the ‘sport’ of being able to tie your flies and the precise movements needed to have a ‘great cast (there’s the perfectionist in me). Turn something into something I have to perfect, and I’ll sit all day and try. Still, it was not the fishing that I loved. It was the connection with nature. In fly fishing, you’re wading in the water (again being a Pisces, I love water), and it calms me. I could care less if I caught a fish. If I did, I almost always through it back. When I go fly fishing, I do a lot of casting, there’s a ‘secret hope,’ that I don’t catch anything because (even though I throw everything back), I can’t stop thinking about harming the fish. Naturally, I’m not a good fishermen. I do love being outdoors though. Growing up, I did love it when my grandpa would take us out in his boat. I enjoyed the sun and the water. I think I just did not have the patience to sit for hours in a still moving boat, where I couldn’t swim, waiting for the fish to bite. I do understand the serenity people get from fishing. I get it just by going and sitting by the banks of the water today. I don’t need to catch a fish. I’ll sit and just think. During the pandemic, I’ve spent most of it alone in a tiny studio apartment. Until a few weeks ago, it did not bother me much. I’m pretty introverted and good at entertaining myself. One of the things I’ve been studying during the pandemic is the stars. I’ve been studying astronomy and astrology a lot. In fact, the series of poems I’m writing now are mostly about that. This month, there is a lot of talk in the skies of Uranus because it’s ‘stationing,’ and then will go ‘retrograde.’ Uranus, I’ve learned, is the planet of ‘surprise.’ It’s kind of the planet of ‘you expected this,’ and ‘surprise, you got this.’ It could be ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ but it likes to turn things around. We are living in a time where I feel like that’s how things are. One day things are here and the next they’re somewhere you had no idea they were going. I read this poem this morning, and I thought it was appropriate for these times. Someone sitting around asking ‘big questions,’ about their life thinking these are the things I should think about, when suddenly nature throws them a little surprise that they had not even thought about because they were too distracted contemplating these ‘bigger questions.’ It sort of reminds me to be present and to pay attention to what’s going on around me. As Tom Petty wrote in the song, Crawling Back to You, “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.’ It’s not the best piece of writing I’ve ever done, but I found it fitting for today.

The Fishing Hole

The car mechanic saw a bear in a sun flash.
Roadside trees, places to bring your boat ashore.
Puritan country, followed by stars
that did very well in the absence of “wise men.”
The road veered endless,
frogs lay awake in a midsummer pond,
where he sat earlier in the day
thinking about a friend that had estranged himself,
about his father he will never bring back to life
and unexpected loneliness that creeps
like winter over his afternoons.
He was forced to think about friends he never became friends with,
women he never made love to in their reality,
about warm murmurous light,
and days when the children slept
when the house was completely quiet.

He never expected to see a bear.
He was only looking for a fishing hole
where he could be scarce.
Really, though, in such quiet
surely you ARE really looking
to see a bear. No matter what you say.

SURPRISE is a quiet thing.
That’s it’s gift, it startles you awake.

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