An Angler and a Force of Nature

by Wayne Heinze


I am a force of nature, or so I consider myself. And an optimistic one, too. I have in fact, never met or heard of anyone as optimistic as I.

I think it is partially a function of being a force of nature, partially a separate gift, and DNA with an overabundance of the stuff. And there you have me. The glass is not only half full, but the stuff it contains tastes pretty good.

An optimistic force of nature. No one who has ever come to know me would question the optimism. But admittedly they often use colorful adjectives to describe it to my face at times. Few are the optimists among us, rarer the forces of nature.

The blessing of what I am, and it is a God-given blessing, has never served me better than in the recent years struggles with health issues. Most particularly a type of cancer requiring a bone marrow transplant.

For the purpose of this essay, I will offer one doctor’s quote concerning the nature of my disease, treatment and consequences. “We save your life, but to do so we put a monster inside you.” Right on, as it turned out, and devastating to those not fortunate enough to be a force of nature. But I am a force of nature. And nature is the most optimistic thing there is. Unsure of that ? One word: Spring.

So a force of nature deals with things like monster insertion in no uncertain terms. This force of nature does not deal with my monstrous insides; it falls on the monster to have to deal with me.

The old-time bank robber Willie Sutton once said he would gladly spend two-thirds of his life in prison if it enabled him to spend one-third doing whatever he wanted. The force of nature that I am has a naturally themed passion: I am an angler. It feeds and compliments my optimism, part and parcel of my being a force of nature. That’s why the monster won’t win; I’ve got some fishing to do.

If you spend a couple of months a year in a hospital and a significant amount of time convalescing at home, quality of life is a term that starts getting bandied about. Many people realize that just as the wind and tide wear down the coast and mountains, the world can grind away at their resolve and usually will.

But a force of nature, such as myself, goes fishing on my sixty-fifth birthday and catches sixty-five fish. As planned. That one day can make up for a lot, can’t it, Mr Sutton? And of course there are numerous days of greater or lesser degrees of well-being that allows this force of nature to wade joyously in his pursuit of angling adventure, roaring in mirth like Beowulf at any monsters that think they have attained an upper hand.

My fishing simply is enough to outweigh, with its inherent optimism, the inherent negativism of disease. I fish, therefore I am; monsters do not, therefore they are not. A life worth living is a life where fishing is part and parcel, as in the life of a force of nature.

And I suppose it is the infinite possibilities of the pursuit of fish that have kept things so fresh and exciting after all these years, all those casts. While fishing can be a simple and a universal diversion in its basic form, it can be as intriguing and multifaceted as any endeavor on earth. Izaak Walton wrote famously, “Angling is so much like mathematics that it can never be fully learned.” So true, for no matter how much you delve into any one aspect, how much time and energy and pleasure you derive, there is always more.

The blending of the familiar with the constantly changing and different is the heady essence one inhales while fishing. No two days are ever the same, rarely two casts. The weather, water, fish, the mechanics of the cast, the quest, thousands of other factors interact to keep the angling lifestyle constantly amazing. And it is played out on some of nature’s most beautiful venues. And when it is not, it is played out in a beautiful, amazing venue in the eye of the angler-beholder.

To a force of nature, this is nature at its finest. Whether in the Florida Keys, Montana, the Russian steppes, Cabo San Lucas, and all points between, the sport of fishing involves you with beautiful nature, again expanding your pursuit.

And it is not all exotic locations that are the key, it is the ability of this force of nature to perceive easily the beauty wherever fish exist. And more often than not, it is not exotic or far away.

In nearby Philadelphia, the Wissahickon Gorge would satisfy the mind of any angler who thrills at a freestone stream. And I can show you things like drainage ditches, outflow pipes and swamps that have beauty, fecundity and joy far beyond their initial comprehension. Even a force of nature can ask for no more than to have gained the sight to see this.

So you catch a bad break and end up dealing with things you didn’t know existed three years ago, and the ever unknown future becomes a murkier present. What to do? Well, for a force of nature that one is a no-brainer. Either continue to fish, or fish more. It is what I have done and will continue to do. The monster has no say in this, and no way to escape its own fate, inexorably linked to mine.

And monsters don’t fish, as I mentioned. So my joyous fishing life, and the peace and serenity it affords the balance of my existence, including my medical struggles, will continue to be swept along by a force of nature, which is me.


Copyright © 2015 by Wayne Heinze

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