Since I didn't fish today, my thoughts may not be so anchored as usually are. That pickerel almost looks bigger than the boat, but 12 feet is fine on Lake Musconetcong. We have always rowed, and I love rowing. That day about a year ago with Steve Slota we had a rain shower and I was prepared with rain gear. If I had gone today, what the hell, if it rained I'd let it soak, since temperatures lingered somewhere in the 90's. I phoned Steve an hour or so ago, and we plan to fish Lake Musconetcong Tuesday evening. But since I bought the Minn Kota 55, I want to use it, and it will make getting around a breeze.
I was thinking of how I explained fishing weightless plastic worms recently, that the secret isn't technique, and assuming that you know where to find bass on a given body of water, it isn't location either, or presentation or anything, basically, but being yourself attuned to nature, and it's really more than that: it's being nature. What isn't natural? Our pride? Because that's what all the nonsense about how we are separate from nature comes down to: our man-made products and character. But that answer to why we are outside nature would satisfy only the presumption of the smug.
While being human necessarily implies responsibility, things and events humanly produced involve choice and are not a given feature of nature--the faculty of choice, reason, nevertheless has a certain nature. Although reason is exercised volitionally, it's not an unnatural or supernatural reality. It's an attribute of nature like anything else. Reason and consciousness have identity, are part of existence, nature. Our synthetic creations--all rearrangements of nature by human creative process.
To fish a worm, other lure, or bait well--and I'm not saying I always do, but I usually do at least fairly well--you mustn't limit yourself to your mental faculty. I take my first cast as casually as my next breath, but on cue my mood shifts, and I fish with heightened awareness. A lot of us do. You are more than a part of ordinary brain function. Your skin only seems to be the absolute border between you and the environment. The air you breathe is really inseparable from your life, and it isn't only connected to the whole earth atmosphere, it is the whole earth atmosphere.
If you let awareness exceed mere mental faculty, awareness may inform you where to put the next cast, and when to make the next twitch. But this is where I differ from Buddhists and the like. (I have studied all that fairly extensively, but always have held my own position against it while being sympathetic.) Environmental cues transmitted through awareness may inform you. The ego is the point of awareness (you), but no conscious human state whatsoever is without ego and some degree of reason. Even the insane or presumably insane retain at least a vestige of reason. Otherwise, they would not be conscious at all.
To those Buddhists who insist that they go beyond ego, what irony. The ego protesting that he goes beyond ego! You can just hear Curt Cobain in the background mocking their confusion as he shouts: A denial! about a dozen times until he fades into a subtler...ego state.
And if life exists beyond death as I've always believed it does and think this is a natural human belief, its divinity is neither contrary to nature nor other than nature.
But think about this as relates to fishing: what's the point of thinking where to cast next, except when very specific targets of structure are involved? Even within a likely area of structure, unless fish hang outs are visible to reach directly on target, there's usually a lot of random play involved. So any point in thinking about where exactly to cast within a likely range is really an exercise of groping for something blind to you--or possibly something you are subtly informed of, which is the whole point of this blog post.
You don't need to drive yourself nuts trying to suppress thought (don't) in trying to become aware instead, trying to identify a hint from the environment, etc. But play at it. If you fish persistently enough and don't get stuck in the attitude of he-man against resisting bass or big, expensive, Western Technological bassboat against difficult and alien nature, you will become more and more aware quite naturally. You will find incentive in the search for fish because the process intimately interests you. And plenty of us out there do this, if few of us think of how to put it to words.
And that's good for all and everything. If nature is alien, uh, who is alien? And how did "the" alien as an abstract consideration--or cult--how did alienation originate as we understand it today? Shakespeare used the word distraction in his Hamlet Soliloquy to designate insanity. So by his standards--Jesus, we're living in a madhouse!
It's good to get out.