Saturday, November 4, 2017

Good Reason to Suffer Rigormortis at Work

It wasn't that bad, but could have been. Never give in to getting tired, not if you need to get things done.

Steve pulled into the lot in front of my family's condo 10 minutes early, still pretty much dark. I had just finished a cigarette. Smoking I used to hide from everyone. I've mentioned the awful habit in one other post, and right now on the table supporting this laptop is a well-crafted nicotine vapor tool. My wife never has agreed to my smoking, and effectively confronted me about it recently. My well-reasoned fear involves the habitual comfort. Take that away, given my work stresses, and how can I function up to par? Deal with withdrawal on top of how hard it is now? I've quit many times before. I know what it's like.

At least with the vapor, I can cut back on the tar. I'll need a real cigarette on occasion. They not only really can be a pleasure, they are medicinal to a least to people addicted. They help put me in a meditative mood for a moment. Just enough time to get an idea I need, for example. What medicine won't kill you in the long run? Just listen to the ads on TV.

If, statistically, intellectuals don't smoke more than other groups of people, there certainly is some glamorization of smoking among us. One of my Great Courses professors said that he smokes and doesn't believe cigarettes are anything nearly as dangerous as the popular culture fears. My innocent son, who decried cigarettes as a young boy as if they are the embodiment of evil, has read many books since. And one afternoon this spring I found him smoking a cigarette outside our condo in a pleasant natural setting. I never gave him any hell for it.

I see a lot of anglers smoke, too. There's something natural about smoking. Ask a native American.

We got live shiners at The Sporting Life on U.S. 22 in Whitehouse, then cut over to U.S. 202, going westward to Flemington, and then over to Neshanic Station. The same spot Mike and I fished recently. Walking in, frost was distinctly white. (Walking out little more than an hour later, we didn't notice any.)

South Branch Raritan River water felt warm, but it was losing degrees quickly. Towards the end of our fishing, I said that if it were a warm morning--like yesterday's at 55--we would have caught more bass. Maybe. I caught a 12-incher on my first or second cast about eight feet deep. Smallmouth. Steve had one hit.  

Friday, November 3, 2017

Not Fade Away

Before I slip out the door at sunrise to fish with Steve Slota, some short follow-up on grand affirmations and the troubling turning point--Not. It would be, if I weren't in the habit of making every problem an advantage.

When I was six, my father bought me Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He was very well on the way to his world-class career as a musician, and in love with the Beatles. As a matter of fact, he held a rock concert--all Beatles music--at Christ Church Cathedral Indianapolis, Indiana. A conservative columnist for the city's big newspaper accused him of being communist for this act. In short, that's how I got to Jersey. Why my original family came here.

Rock music--communist. Laugh out loud.

My favorite song on that album, "A Day in the Life," features John Lennon crooning, "I'd love to" Yesterday, I wrote about grand affirmations achieved outdoors as actually having the power to do this. In subtle ways.

Well, maybe sometimes not so subtle, but whether or not is hard to tell, more often than not. Anyone who has felt a contact high knows that the esoteric meaning of this phrase--getting a rush from someone else who is high on a drug--is far from the limit of the phenomenon, because we all know--at least any of us who has any empathy--that one individual's emotion affects others' in the room or beside the pond or whatever.

So when you come back from the Big World--the world Outside--after it has taken you into its womb and given you a new birth, all in an afternoon, you're larger than life at least for a little while. You walk back in through the door of our American civilization and transform it. Give it a breath of reality, which it always needs as much as any of us needs natural air to breathe.

Air's natural anywhere, but does, in fact, go stale behind closed doors.

Don't think I'm fading. That's what clam treader Barry Franzoni used to say of any of us clammers if we quit for the day too soon. My son's gone away, but I'm still here.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Turning Point

Saturday's post didn't get to the gist of the recent Lake Hopatcong outing, but maybe my distraction is revealing in a positive way. Since 2007, my son, Matt, and I have fished the lake every fall, usually during the third week of October. That third week of October 2012, we flew to Missouri and then drove into southern Illinois to Shawnee State Forest, Snake Road, in search of new snake species we had never before seen and photographed. A very successful trip. But later that fall, November 17th, we got out on the lake.

Without thinking of Matt away at Boston University, no fishing the lake for us this fall of 2017, I started to think of inviting Jorge, back when we float tripped a length of the South Branch September 9th. He had expressed some interest in fishing Hopatcong sometime with his sons. I felt a deep desire to pass the torch that morning, but it never occurred to me until this evening to recognize this pivotal turn of events from one father with a son grown, to another with sons more and less the age of eight, the age of Matt when I first took him out of Dow's Boat Rentals.

Before the obvious occurred to me, that my feeling out of sorts with fishing has to do with the loss of my chief fishing partner, I was thinking maybe I can yet regenerate the connection with the lake before the year is out. I have one more trip scheduled before I might ice fish a couple of times this winter. But the post I wrote August 2016, "On the Big Pond with my Wife and Son," haunts me. What I called grand affirmations involve high level contemplative encounters through participatory activity outdoors. Fishing, in other words. Fishing became religion for me. For years. And then that day in August, as we rode back into Dow's just after sunset, I felt loss. It had been a wholesome good day on the lake, but as we chugged back, I felt as if I were leaving all of it behind.

Of course, I hoped it was just that particular day amiss. Looking back, I know it wasn't. Posts last year, some of them, reveal just a little of my job stresses. Since then, I've managed to get a strong grip on this, as yet, relatively new job in a Chef Studio. I began as a total greenhorn. But things have changed. My son is not only gone but grown up. To show a boy the world is not the same as to celebrate it with a young man. We certainly will fish again, but whether or not the innocence of these former glory days can ever return for me, this is less the concern than my telling you, my readers, that the likes remain possible for others who find it in fishing.

It's not only important to whomever may achieve such happiness. Grand affirmations include the surrounding world. They ultimately bring hope to others in subtle ways. I used to write a lot about going out, and then coming back refreshed--re-created as we say recreation--to function all the better at work and with family and friends. It makes a positive difference in a big way, even if all anyone else knows of it is very subtle.

So my knowing this, don't think for a moment I will abandon the quest. Things have definitely changed. But I will get out. And I can't predict what developments might yet await.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Type and Voice

I get on my high horse and write a post like the previous. Feels great, as if the air I breathe has an exquisite chemistry not available here below. I may not be the best at high styles, and I only imply any doubt because no one else has ever read my journals, and I like to make things seem mysterious sometimes, but if I'm not the best, and I certainly don't think I am, the point is, anyway, that I step down and write to you on levels even more frank and ordinary than this right now. Any writer can seem a real ass, because he takes language and tries to fix it in place by pen or some form of type, as if to lay down some kind of law, when everybody knows words are native by speech alone.

There I was riding on my Black Charger the other day, or so it seemed, and now that I try to make a little fun of it rather unsuccessfully, you might ask what's real and what isn't. Hemingway's conclusion to Islands in the Stream. I lived alone in Surf City, New Jersey. November 1982. Refusing to watch TV, only to read and write, besides treading clams, I did watch once. The movie version of that Hemingway novel. An ending absolutely unforgettable. The actor's deep voice as if Hemingway's own:

"It is all true."