Remember “Shame on Us?”
Well, it turns out that there’s more to the story and the “more” is very hopeful, as in full of hope for all of us anglers.
The world of anglers who flyfish for Chinook here in Oregon is pretty small, and not much of consequence gets by without notice, especially if one of use behaves in a particularly noteworthy manner.
A friend heard about the “Shame on Us” post and sent me a text yesterday evening,
“Are you fishing right now” it read.
“I called him, prepared to report on my most recent foiled effort to lure a Springer to any of m best flies, thinking he would be interested.
“Actually, I called to talk about the guy in your latest post,” my friend said.
“Go ahead, what do your know.” I asked?
Long story. Complicated story, Good story,
My mood started out neutral, absorbing details—but after two or three minutes soaking it all in, I was sitting at my fly bench (see creation above), ceased tying and was sitting there smiling.
Here’s the short version.
The young man who behaved poorly at the Boat Hole reflected on the incident, his behavior, and the behavior of everyone around him.
He genuinely regretted his reaction, and more importantly, he began to soak in some of the nuanced wisdom the situation offered.
None of us is perfect. Each of us has our own gunnysack filled with our life experiences, emotions, basic personality, and temperament. Our actions, reactions, and so forth are influenced each moment by the contents of this large gunnysack we carry around with us, everywhere we go.
Naturally, the bag grows larger each year and may, possibly, influence us in a different manner as we age, as we experience more, and as we learn, if we learn at all.
Who among the clan of salmon anglers carries a gunny sack without a single instance of regrettable behavior? Not me, that’s dang sure. I could rummage around and find a few memories of times when I behaved poorly. Only a few? Let’s let that one drop.
But we can learn. We can do better tomorrow, if we learn from our mistakes today.
At 6 PM yesterday I had no idea if the young man would ever be something more than a “pest” to contend with on the estuary. Now, after the conversation with my friend, I I look forward to fishing the same pool with him anchored nearby.
[Sidebar: anyone who knows me understands that I’d rather be fishing alone, with no one anchored near, with the freedom to anchor and fish anywhere I choose. But In this instance, I mean that if I must share water, I would consider this person a “welcome” companion in the pool.]
I’ve probably tortured this blog post. All I really wanted to do is tell everyone that some good has come from a very unpleasant situation, to share my optimism over what I’ve learned, to ask everyone who reads this to reflect on our own history with kindness and understanding—and to ask everyone to extend the same kindness and understanding to the young man who behaved so poorly in the Boat Hole a short while ago.
We’re human, we screw up, and maybe, just maybe, we can be better today than we were yesterday.
Jay Nicholas 29 June 2018