The lure hits the water with a splash on the pitch black water, the only sound except for the croaking of frogs and the rustle of the trees. It sinks quickly, then begins the journey home to the steady rhythm of the winding reel, jerking upwards intermittently to the flick of the rod, waiting for the unfortunate gulp of a nearby crappie, bass or catfish.
These are my Saturday mornings, and they are what keep me sane.
My grandfather taught me to fish on his Texas ranch when I was a young kid. There's nothing like in the world, especially for a self-ascribed media junkie who wears a shirt and tie most days, to stand on the bank of a lake, wearing muddy jeans, a ball cap, and a torn T-shirt, casting lazily in the rippling water over and over again, ingesting only the information transmitting from lure to line to rod to hand. It's a beautiful process, and simple, mindless and pure.
It's the kind of escape that brings balance. You can lock your phone in the car without guilt because you're out of cell phone coverage, pull away from thoughts of how much money is in your bank account, how the federal budget will get balanced, or how many followers you've gained on Twitter in the next hour. It's an awesome feeling that only nature can afford.
The trees are budding, mornings are heralded by bird calls, and my hostas are poking out from their beds of dead leaves. Along with changing temperatures and the ever-present chance of rain, there's something else in the air: a call back to simplicity, to community and self. Under the shroud of winter, it's easy to get lost in the technology-driven micro-culture fueled by Law and Order marathons and nights spent inside under a blanket catching up on IMDB's top 100 movies. But now it's the time to sit outside, and enjoy a cold beer with the people you enjoy. It's time to leave the computer at home, go for a walk in the park and have conversations un-muted by the presence of the television.
I spend most of my week, as I believe many do, in front of my computer, intently staring, clicking, typing, scrolling, dragging, and making frustrated faces. There is a constant buzzing of information streaming in, piling up on itself, needing to be either consumed or caught up on. The digital noise gets louder and louder, and while you're plugged in, you can't turn it off.
If you sit in a field very quietly, and listen, nature is just as loud. First you'll hear the wind across the grass, then the groan of the trees, then the buzz of the cicadas and grasshoppers, then the chirp of the songbirds. It's the cacophony of life, and it be just as loud. But the difference is in the digital world, we're all dams to the river of information, and it piles up at our doorstep for us to sort through. In nature, it's a constantly flowing stream, and we're just a part of it as it goes along, and it feels good to our core to be reminded of that once in a while.
So against all those hours of living in the fast lane in front of my computer screen, the four hours I get during Saturday's beginning, with the sun peeking across the horizon and my fishing line playing across the water, make all the difference.