There’s freedom in the obliteration of 21st century wifi ego by a system of water: the utter loss of self duing a blizzard hatch or while working down your favorite run as the film goes quicksilver at the magic hour. The endless thudding heartbeats it takes to bring a good fish to hand. The gravityless grace-state of drift. But eventually the bugs stop, the pod is put down or the pool goes flat, daylight fails. You spool up and go home, back to regular life, back to Babylon (with maybe a vanilla malt in the intermezzo if you earned it). It’s temporary at best, and it’s also the point of entry for all the painful “fly fishing is an addiction, man” rhetoric because we keep seeking those moments in the resonant void.
As both Siddartha Gautama and Kris Kristofferson teach us, true freedom is only arrived at through non-attachment. But where does that ultimately leave a down-and-across dude?
There is no non-attachment for these punters. There is slack and there is mending and there is sink, but always a physical connection to the unseen, a stick to poke into the guessed-at and unknowable. Galileo’s telescope or a turn of the webby ahead of some silk to find what we desire and confirm what we suspect. Ahab’s harpoon or the sleechy sculpin muppet meat pushing water at the end of some chop-shop CCT, from hell’s heart I cast at thee.