In the simplest terms, you present the fly and the fish takes it. Drill down however, and things are not quite so easily defined.
The fish gets hooked, and subsequently gives up significant amounts of energy trying to break free. Sometimes it does, taking a tiny piece of your spirit along with.
Other times you land the fish, and take in its beauty. Then you release it, at once giving the fish back its life and giving the ecosystem surrounding it a chance at a better one. Meanwhile, the fish and that ecosystem have given you something too. A racing heart. A sense of accomplishment. A moment of bliss.
Even if the fish finds a way to escape, it has still provided you with something. A lesson learned.
From the long-term perspective, everyone has their days…what seem like eternally memorable outings. Sometimes it is entire seasons. Even years. Nonetheless, we constantly yearn for more.
Are you taking away, or giving your all? Wantonly? Relentlessly? Generously? Unexpectedly?
I do not have the answers myself. We’d all like to think that when we’re standing on the bank we’re at one with our surroundings, but we might be fooling ourselves. How do you measure such symbiosis, when for each success there’s a failure waiting right around the next corner? And visa versa. The magic, consistently balancing the opposing forces, seems almost out of reach when you consider the next tick of the clock. How will you know if you achieved that harmony until you see the final weigh-in?
My guess is all you can do is hope. And keep fiddling with the scale.
MG signing off (to take a careful look around)
Editor’s note: There is one certainty: if you make that cast and a tree branch takes that fly, you are taking a trip to the fly shop, and giving someone your cash.