a godless october part 1: the lesson of the pesky fish

I woke up early this morning. 5:30am early to be exact. Which is especially early for me. I’m a 7am riser typically. The reason for this was… fishing, of all things. I’m not a “fisher” but I enjoy to fish, if that makes sense. Catch-and-release is all. I don’t do it all that often, but my friend Kevin and I decided we’d head up north of Spokane for the morning and give it a whirl.

The drive was beautiful. A mix of not-yet-turned trees and the early color changers. The sky was also a perfect grey tint. The type you’d expect for fall. It seemed like October had put on her best clothes that morning.

Fishing, as has been the case for me this year, was uneventful. Peering into the water off the side of the dock, I saw fish beneath me nibbling at my lure. But they somehow kept their distance from the hook. These nibbles were also felt in my hand by the vibration-esque feeling of a lure being toyed with.

I didn’t have the heart or the skill to try and set a hook that a fish hadn’t gobbled. The whole interaction was this odd sense of knowing that what I sought was literally toying with me. The fish was rubbing itself up against my reality and its — in sight even — but still just far enough out of reach to leave me slightly unsatisfied.

This same reality — the one of close but not quite, there but not grasped, seen but not felt — is one that flows through a lot of life. Our encounters with something we seek can seem so close, but if the situation isn’t all perfectly orchestrated, the reality becomes just slightly… off.

But what I’ve discovered, through no other means than time and time again being frustrated by not having situations pan out exactly as I hope, is that sometime’s the brush of hook against fish — the near miss of close but not exact — that’s where the real beauty is. When expectation falls flat, your left with reality. And you can either be frustrated, bummed out or discouraged. Or you can encounter reality for what it is, not what you expected it to be. And you discover something new.

You realize that you, a gill-less, leg bearing, thought speaking, land dwelling human are witnessing a gilled, legless, thoughtless, water dwelling creature. And that your two worlds are so different but they are intersecting and neither one of you has to leave the world you are in for this to be the case.

There’s mystery that presents itself in any moment, even when the moment isn’t the one we hoped or set out for.