Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Such were the 1970's and this is Today

12:52 p.m. I had slid my "Dark Side of the Moon" c.d. into the player, switched the device to track 9, and prepared to log into Litton's Fishing Lines. I'm off to my job at 1:15, so I'll actually post later, as I've this and that to do yet. I don't know whether it's David Gilmour or Roger Waters who takes the vocal lead for "Eclipse," but I have been aware for many years of what to me seems the perfectly beautiful sardonic quality of that voice especially on this track. The final lyrical statement has a vibrant edge subtle as cosmic distance.

I don't perfectly recall if Thales first attempted to predict a solar eclipse some 200 years before Aristotle, but the ancients--or most of them, as science began to emerge with Thales--felt superstitious about eclipses and other celestial events. Opposite to the skies, I think of Christopher Columbus on the water, and much less of his men who spoke of mutiny against their Captain mid-ocean. I've wondered at Columbus's ability to lead those men, however, as anyone might think of Albert Einstein's statement, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." Obviously, Columbus held violence at bay. His ship was a rather small space to suffer an eruption of that. So as a matter of course in this respect, I don't fail to think of his men altogether.

The men seem to have hallucinated. That's an account I recall reading many years ago. Sea monsters. The men afraid out at sea so long. They got across thanks not only to Columbus's refusal to yield, but his working the problem out with men who wanted to end the voyage.

Quite a day today. I got the news. That phrase recalls on earlier post in 2012 on Burnham Park Pond, associated with General Knox of the American Revolution. I then cited the Steely Dan song of the title "I got the News" as a nexus between fairly distant history and me wrangling with the present,  but lets go south a little with respect to the Morristown region and focus on Spruce Run Reservoir and some results of the Howie Behr Hybrid tournament. It's not that I want to hide from you what I'm up to, but that 2012 was five years ago. Yes, it was quite the year for taking in nature's substance as if that myriad complexity divided into all sorts of goodies are "really good drugs," as my brother-in-law Iain--a first-rate amateur historian on the American Revolution--used to say. (I can't even begin to tell you outright how good these "drugs" really are.)

I got the news from Mike Maxwell sometime around noon, on my return from my physician--still working out this high blood pressure problem--and also from the bookstore, where I bought too many books--each of them Class A--for my wife's coming birthday, too many to bore you by naming.

Mike says 120 boats played the game. Twenty hybrids hit the scales. Think about that. Saturday & Sunday. All night, too. That is slow fishing. Winning weight was 12.46 pounds. Two hybrid limit. Mike told me the winners might have used live sunfish. I've never heard of that approach before.

I call that a big success. That many boats. Personally, I don't feel I missed out, having to work instead. I've enjoyed a couple of informal tournaments with iBass360 in recent years, but my days of competing honestly at fishing seem over. At ages 16, 17, 18, I competed with energy that never flagged until the very last tournament shortly before I left for Lynchburg College. A party the night before, I wasn't hungover in a painful way, because I was in the habit of drinking heavily. I think I could still smell the alcohol on my breath when the event was over after eight hours. Well before that day on the Salem Canal in Cumberland County, I had made up my mind. Becoming a tournament pro wasn't for me. Becoming a novelist was. But I had fished tournaments successfully, placing high in Mercer County Bassmasters rankings each of those years....and taking first place for the tournament on Spruce Run Reservoir when I was 17. I never forget the formality of being presented the trophy for that win. It was a real honor.

I still see myself fishing a  deep-diving crankbait. I rarely used the brand, but Bomber was the big one on my mind from yet earlier years of first getting acquainted through Field & Stream and Outdoor Life magazines at age 13. Until I was 12, I deeply involved myself with science, even though my miracle year at age 9--interest in zoology--was already over by a few years. Nine years old, I tried to originate ethological theory. There was nowhere to go with my interest. I was 10-years-old when I released it--remember this distinctly--feeling a twinge of guilt, but knowing I had to be part of society. Even so, science and I hung on until I was 12...and beyond. During my senior year in high school, I took Advanced Biology. My final project involved observing bass reproduce, and earned the highest mark in my class for that course. I never let science go, of course not.

While fishing tournaments, I cast over and over, never feeling repetition, because every move counted. My wins were always few and smallish bass when virtually none other got caught, but in fact manic energy tabbed these bass. I can't speak for other winners in the club in this respect, but I had a high-energy strategy that intended to grow, and until Aldous Huxley and Ernest Hemingway led me out a secret passageway, I thought I might make it to high-paying scales. Some people think such diverse interests in one man's life--even a young man's--represent a conflict of interest, and though I can't understate the degrees of conflict I have suffered since boyhood--it was Hemingway who claimed a writer needs an unhappy childhood--I don't fall into the victim trap as if anything is wrong with a life as it in fact is. To think of a perfectly harmonious, peaceful life does recall numerous times I have loved just that. But after awhile, that gets boring. So I never have forgotten MCB's tournament on the Susquehanna Flats, a two day event, we club members staying at a motel, card game into the night. The winner boated a few bass up to four pounds, and at the scales the man gave me a long look. I felt both honored and slightly put off. He was about 35, somewhat of a tough guy. I was built. I lifted weights after school and it showed. My shoulders were broad and muscular. Biceps developed, as was my chest. The abdominal six pack wasn't very pronounced, because I didn't like sit-ups, though I did them. Just not as much as the weights. By late summer after senior year, I probably had some flab from all the beer. But I was nerdish, rather than tough. Honored at Susquehanna Flats in Maryland, because the man's gaze singled me out as worthy to show up. A little intimidated, because he seemed to give away that he was pissed at me as a young upstart. I'm no fool. I know that, potentially, there is grave danger in a look like that.

I wasn't even drinking age. But I behaved as if I was from the moment I joined the club. Such were the 1970's.

The most recent two posts were about Mike and Philippe. They had a great time. Their confidence hasn't flagged. Now with this third post on the Howie Behr, I indulge. Another past tournament on Spruce Run Reservoir I fished at age 18 drew members of the Bass Angler's Sportsmen's Society statewide. I didn't place in that one. I wrote about that in my post, "As if She would Forgive Me," and will leave behind a link to that post, but I don't need her forgiveness. Or if I do on some level I don't really know well enough about, that's a matter of all in due time. Maybe it's really the other way around. I suppose she needs mine. And if so, I need more of those harmonious perfections yet, knowing that none of it will count, without truly understanding a difficult issue. Maybe, when I wrote that post, I was wise enough to know just this I've stated months later, then playing out yet another tricky day by my craft and wiles.

I don't usually like the loud banging around of The Who about that.

Steely Dan I have much better respects for. An English major counts. I know this the hard way, which is not at all to say I don't have a great college education. The degree is not all an education amounts to. Anyone who thinks a degree is all a college or university education amounts to is a fool. But I don't say a degree doesn't count, obviously not. So what Steely Dan hears may be true. But I would feel honored if they would still be proud to know me. "I got the News," after all.


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