I am a social fisherman at heart. I enjoy fishing with others of like mind. The camaraderie, the jokiing, the shared victories and defeats, the quiet moments when no one feels compelled to talk. I really enjoy all of that. I have a fishing trip coming this weekend, a twice a year event with cousins. It is one of the highlights of my year. I can't wait.
Sometimes though I get people tired. I am around people all day. I rub elbows with co-workers and strangers and family. There are times when it seems like the world is wall to wall people. People everywhere I look, around every corner in the hall, packed into elevators, lines of them in front of me wherever I go, cars full of people crowding me on the highway, even the restrooms are full of people. I feel them closing in on me, like zombies in a B movie. They are always talking, talking to each other, talking on cell phones, talking to me. It can crowd in on me so bad that I can see their mouths moving but I don't hear them anymore. I start to shut down.
When I get like that I have a cure. I go fishing alone. I pick up a rod and wade off into the river and work my way down a mile or so. There are no houses there, no roads, no cars, no people. The river, the trees, the sky, the wind, the birds, the fish and me. That's all. Just me and the natural world. No people, no people noises, no mechanical sounds, no one talking-talking-talking but saying nothing, no ticking clocks, no hurry up and wait, no hurry up at all. I don't take a watch or a cell phone with me. I may take a flask of bourbon and a cigar, and I may take a break from the fishing and sit on a log at the river's edge and nip the flask and puff the cigar. Watch the birds for awhile. Close my eyes and listen to the wind in the trees and the birds and the soft sound of the water flowing. I'll fish a few hours like that, taking an occasional break with my eyes closed.
Something leaks out of me when I do that. Something I don't want, a tension of sorts. It empties out of me and leaves me better. When I have done that, I can go back and people don't bother me, not for awhile, not for a few days. I would make a pretty good hermit I think.
When I get people tired, I fish alone. I recommend it.