Posted: Sunday, July 1, 2012 5:11:16 AM
Ever since I was little my dad has insisted that we go fishing on vacation. In fact if you were to look through our picture albums you could find almost identical pictures of first my sister and I and then my younger sister and brother with our old fashioned gear and maybe even a good old fishing hat. In these pictures, my dad is holding a fish and surrounded around him are his kids, perhaps with at least one looking at the fish clearly disgusted, looking the wrong way, or smiling in a way sure to embarrass you later on. The pictures may not be perfect, but the memories are real. And thus lies the secret to nature, just like the photograph. Despite its imperfections, it’s real.
For some families, camping or hiking is their trademark, but for mine being woken up far too early to go on a boat for hours in hopes of bringing home dinner was ours. Fishing was far more monumental than a simple few hours, it was my dad’s connection to his dad (my grandfather), and an experience that was expected from a C------*. Fishing may have been my dad’s connection to his father, but for me as a kid fishing was just plain boring. Sitting still, holding a pole and waiting for a fish to bite (and I have a talent of managing to catch nothing but seaweed) was not my idea of fun.
And then years later, I had a sort of epiphany. I was on the water fishing with my dad, uncle, and possibly my brother and it just felt so good, so relaxing. The sun’s warmth felt positively delicious. The silence was comfortable and peaceful, not boring. There was a joy in being awake with the sun and feeling the gentle slosh of the boat-back and forth, back and forth. I suppose nature was welcoming me.
My grandfather is no longer alive, so maybe in a way fishing has become a sort of token to him. Big Bear has become my “nature place”. I like staying in a log cabin-okay…apartment- and looking out at the woods and the picturesque lake and mountains.
However, even with this insight into the joy nature brings, I am not completely delusional. When I was little my girlscout troup camped in someone’s living room-we weren’t exactly roughing it. The sun and my skin are not very good friends. I have spent more evenings curled up with a good book then I ever have gazing in wonder at the stars. The closest I get to nature on a regular basis is going on walks with my labradoodle next to the sewer. Oh, and I still think fishing is a bit boring.
This generation lives in a virtual reality. But here lies the problem. This “virtual reality”, it’s just not real. It will never compare to a sunrise, a walk in the woods, or simply laying next to a friend by the water.
* My last name