I’m standing on a rock, tugging my line as enticingly as I possibly can. I watch the stream ripple happily and the smell of growth is about me. There are rocks existing in peaceful harmony with the moss that’s bound to them, and greenery that can only be taken in with a sense of awe at nature’s work. My father is fishing too, but far enough away that I don’t really notice him. He had taken me on many of these trips, where we lay away in quiet contentment away from home, responsibility, and worry. This time, we were visiting Fall Creek, a place so varying in activity. It has been bustling with city folk, eager to get away from their daily lives to come and have a good time. But it has also been silent, not like that of death, but like that of the silence of thought.
My line has traveled its course and I reel it in, casting it back out immediately. I look down at my blue shoes and regain my footing on the awkward rock. The line makes its slow, but sure path in the same direction as the last time. I glance over at my dad, who is now sitting on a log hanging over the deep river. He seems as relaxed as I am. A gentle mountain mist graces me with its presence and passes on, leaving a smile on my face.
No bites. But that’s not what fishing is necessarily about. Fishing can just as well be a reason to spend time in nature. I lazily throw my line back out after reeling in another unsuccessful cast. Suddenly, I hear a splash that wakes me up from my natural trance. I look to where my dad used to be and see nothing but a slightly wet log. Then, startlingly, a face of shock and bewilderment bursts through the surface of the water. The flailing mass that is my dad gropes around for a handhold on a rock near him and hoists himself out, along with a very moist fishing pole. He shivers out a few choice words and then an invigorated scream of excitement. I’m quite speechless, and with no other seemingly viable options, I burst into laughter. He joins me and we continue for a good minute until he realizes that he is no less than freezing from the soaking mountain water. He starts doing what looks like a penguin walk up the path that leads back to our camper.
I pack up the tacklebox, hook my line back to the pole and bounce up the hill, still in a good mood from the whole thing. As we near the camper, I can hear the thumping of my dog, Scout’s, tail on some piece of furniture within. My dad jiggles the broken handle open, pushes through and Scout greets us happily. I wait outside chuckling to myself at the whole scenario. I amuse myself with some simple twigs, depicting vast murals and grand scale works of art in the dirt. After my house and it’s stick figure inhabitants are complete, I spin around and regard my dad who has just come out of the camper, his skin still covered in goosebumps. He stands straight and triumphant at having endured that test of nature. A smug grin on his face tells me, “You should try it next.”
I don’t entertain this notion but instead offer a goodhearted jest. “D’jou have fun?”
He just stands there and laughs. Ever since I started camping, which was at a very young age, I have come to know such a thing called the Golden Hour, the time at which fish like to eat and therefore, bite more. We decide that our Golden Hour of fishing is not up yet and return to the river. It is the same as when we left it: slowly flowing, without hurry. Having learned better, my dad finds a flat shore rock and plops down, line in the water. After that whole fiasco, spanning less than ten minutes, I easily slide back into my nature-appreciation state of mind. The sounds of a variety of birds fill the air, and the soft clouds taking on a myriad of shapes bring me to a better place. I know that I don’t have to go far to appreciate life. I vaguely remember what has happened but don’t care right now.
I just drift into the blur. Another day in the life of a camper.
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