Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Standing knee deep in the comfortable, warm waters of my favorite bass river, casually casting a chunky cork popper in fat, lazy loops, I mentally rewind to the previous day’s writers’ group meeting. As has happened much too often lately, I'd brought nothing new, nothing to read – my pen strangely quiet. So, when my turn arrived, I apologized and suggested that we take my allotted time to discuss the dreaded writer’s block, for I was clearly experiencing one. With a wry smile and with great assurance, Catherine waded in. “I know the problem” she said.
I laughed, at the time, both at the concept that a contented man is a writer in trouble and at the odd notion that I might be such a man. But here, a mere twenty-four hours later, as I blithely toss a fluffy fly towards a shaded riverbank, I realize that she’s right.
How could such a thing have happened?
My thoughts are interrupted by the nagging bounce of my fly rod as a small bream nips unsuccessfully at my large-hooked popper. I pick up the line and flip it a few feet to the left, to deeper water, hopefully away from further distraction.
Perhaps here's how it's come about. I’ve chosen to approach life lightly, to put aside the hustle of profession, and to embrace a simple existence. I have the love and company of a wonderful woman and the ever-bountiful joy of family and friends. I have found my place in the woods and an easy, natural lifestyle that invigorates me. And, to top it all, I've had the good fortune to have reached this tranquil equilibrium in the autumn of my life rather than in its winter.
And, speaking of seasons, it's summer. Real summer. Lazy days and firefly nights - more suited to the enjoyment of a cold, crisp hefeweizen on the porch than the pursuit of a publishing deadline. Gaps in my writing regiment, a laughable abstraction, are to be expected.
Yes, Catherine, I’m happy. And if that means that I don’t have the inner turbulence, the mental conflict, or the angst that will drive my writing, so be it. I have no desire to write my way to fame and fortune or to blog myself to prominence in the fly fishing world. I’ll leave those to others who seem to need such things.
The irritating bounce returns. Can’t the bream see that I’m fishing? But noon heat approaches anyway, so I pick up my line one last time, spool it to reel, and head up the trail towards home. The remainder of the day holds a cooling float on the pond with Mary, a brief afternoon nap, and an evening of dinner and bluegrass music, in town, at the general store. And that hefeweizen. Happy things.
Maybe I’ll write about them tomorrow.