Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to my friends here at FishExplorer! I also want to wish all of the appropriate holiday greetings to those of other religions, and those who aren't religious - I just don't know the proper formula of words for everyone except to say I hope you are safe, healthy, and prosperous.
I grew up in a Baptist family, except that my immediate family wasn't interested in going to church. So I grew up with a strong religious background, nearly but not quite fundamentalist, but not church. My parents saw, and by example taught, a distinct difference between religion and church. Not a bad way to grow up actually.
I've heard many a person say that the outdoors is their church. They find themselves closer to God by being one with nature. I feel that way too. To me the entire planet is an art museum. Only the art is original work. Living, breathing work that is beautiful beyond any man's ability to do more than poorly represent it in one medium or another. Beyond that, it is a self-sustaining, self-recreating, work. With billions of intricate interlocking components.
The smallest of these works, the living cell, is breath taking in it's beauty and design. The totality of the life on this planet in all it's magnificent variations and interactions is beyond man's mind to truly and fully appreciate. But we can appreciate the power behind the creation, whatever that power is to you, or to me, doesn't matter. It's there, something is there, and it has given us a world to play in that is gorgeous. And I do love to play in it.
Fishing is my favorite way to play on this jewel of a planet. Fishing is an activity that takes me right into the midst of the beauty. I can wade into the river and feel myself standing on the top layer of a massive planet that is spinning on it's own axis as it rotates around the sun. I can close my eyes and sense that the solar system is flying through space at incredible speed, and that it is just a speck in a whirling cosmos of suns and planets and galaxies. Then I can open my eyes again and see the trees and birds and water and fish. I feel the wind and smell the colognes of nature on that wind, even taste it on my tongue.
To briefly capture one of the finest works of living art, feel it fight against the line, hold it briefly in my hands, admire its form and grace and beauty, and then best of all to return it to its world with a heart felt thank you...that is how I prefer to attend my church. Occasionally I will kill a few to eat, and when I do I add the extra pleasure of nurturing my own flesh with a delicate food fit for the highest of kings, and a reverent sense of loss for the fish's life.
But the cycle of life and death is part and parcel of this beautiful planet of living art. It adds a terrible beauty, a reminder of mortality, a sense of gratitude for our continued ability to be here to participate. The knowledge of our own mortality is what creates for us this awe that we feel when we stop to appreciate the beauty that is ours just for the beholding.
And so I'll be going fishing in a few minutes to celebrate life, not just this one holiday - precious as it is - but life itself. And I'll end this rambling by wishing each and every one of you that moment in the outdoors when the totality of the beauty of this planet whirls though your consciousness, much as our galaxy whirls though the beauty of the cosmos. Peace and beauty to each and every one of you.