An update from Monica, a sophomore Hunt Leadership Scholar planning to major in business and communication studies. She is interning at Taos Community Foundation:
I’ve always disliked fishing. My brothers were Boy Scouts, so each year I would go with them to Scout fishing events at a stocked lake. When I got older, I fished in Rhode Island (off a cliff ) with relatives. And I always felt terrible when I caught one, and had to rip the hook out of its mouth and release it. Actually, I’d make my Dad do the dirty work. But still, why needlessly cause the fish pain? But that doesn’t even begin to cover the boredom of waiting for a fish to bite.
So when I went fly fishing, I found myself pleasantly surprised. I loved it!
I was the only girl in the group to go fly-fishing. When we broke up into groups, I went with Anne Weil (my Wellness professor) and Van the Fisherman, a fourth-generation fisherman, I believe, who owned the company that took us out.
It felt like a dream to spend an entire day fishing on the beautiful New Mexico mountainside. Van showed me how to cast, adjust the line, where to look for fish, and various techniques. I caught several fish – the biggest was a 25 pounder!
Just kidding. My biggest was about 8 inches.
But it wasn’t about catching the fish, as Van said. It was about the process. And I liked that. My Wellness teacher fished just the way I do. She got excited about ‘strikes’ but didn’t really want the fish to bite either. It was funny, because when I got back to the group of guys, they talked about how they wished for bigger fish. Most people want that, but not me and my professor! We were content to sit all day casting lines and getting ‘strikes.’
Another part of the fishing trip that I would like to note is when my line got knotted. (To my defense, it got knotted because it was windy! Not because I’m a pathetic fisher or anything. I just want to set the record straight on that point.)
Anyway, my line got in this ridiculously hard knot. And Van tried to straighten me out. He played with the line for 15 long minutes. Every time he got close to fixing it, the wind blew and the line reknotted itself. And each time Van just said in astonishment, “I have never seen a knot like this.”
As he worked with the line, I thought, “Just cut it!” As time went on, instead of growing aggravated, I grew intrigued. I longed for the ‘easy way out’ and he simply wouldn’t take that route. He was not the type to succumb to instant gratification. I admire that.
I could go into a long spiel about how society loves to instantly solve its ailments and problems without thought of the long-term consequences – but I won’t.
I’ll just say that what I had mistakenly thought was a waste of time, is what he saw as a challenge. He’s unknotted thousands of knots in his time. Maybe he did take the easy way on some snags, but I’d like to imagine that each knot he encountered, he carefully undid with an acquired sense of patience.