Sometimes one small phrase in a conversation stays with you. The phrase magically finds the time and space where it opens something in your mind that you haven’t seen before. In exploring my writing, I do my best to imprint those moments for learning, opening my perspective, and future writing inspiration. Today something my mom shared with me snuck into that space, and likely not in the way she originally intended.
We were discussing my blog, and specifically, I was lamenting about how I can struggle to find what topic I should write about some weeks. She mentioned that she enjoys the segments that describe “the view from the bank.” Scenes of minks scampering down the bank and sliding into the river, within minutes it emerges with nice brown trout. Dense vegetation layered with herbaceous grasses and rushes underneath mountain laurel, spruce and sycamores.
Observing nature with all the seasonal changes, vegetative establishment, and wildlife interactions provides a picturesque backdrop for fishing. Fly fishing can require uninterrupted focus on a drifting fly, with such intense concentration that the world fades away. Stresses lift and lingering negativity is washed away. But the view from the stream bank offers scale and perspective, to see where myopic patterns of behavior are self-limited.
Hearing “the view from the stream bank” repeating in my mind while driving home, I thought of all the events my children have participated in while I was a spectator. I see their effort and joy as well as their struggles, missed opportunities, and building frustrations. Invested yet detached, my perspective helps me see more about my kids and myself. When I am too invested, I can find my own emotions creeping in the experience causing cheering to transform in real time to instruction, criticism of officiating, or worse frustration. But when I hold onto appreciation, I can see more broadly, and see the growth and beauty in each moment. The view from the bank can be some of the best moments in life.
Watching friends’ fish has a similar quality to watching my family members at concerts, recitals, and games. Excitement builds as you watch the cast roll out and gently land. The elegance of the cast, even from an inexperienced angler, is beautiful to observe. A rising fish taking a floating dry is fun to watch, but seeing excitement in your friends’ faces is exhilarating. That warm feeling of appreciation and pride of celebrating with a fishing buddy seems to last even longer than when I catch a fish on my own.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s taking their time to support their kids, taking them all over the place for their events. Looking back on my life, I could feel my mom and dad sitting on the bank, or in the stands or auditorium cheering me on. Now that I have my own kids and get that opportunity, I can see how important it is to enjoy the view from the stream bank. Thanks Mom.