Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
To many, it may seem farfetched to associate the feeling of being perfectly content with a sport as salty as fishing, but not to me. The way the cork grip of a fishing rod gingerly held between my fingers instills the feeling of being so completely at ease is unmatched. To me, there is nothing more therapeutic than a good day of fishing.
My ideal day of fishing takes place at my favorite local spot, Jamaica Pond. I am fishing in my usual area, the stretch of shoreline between the two large maple trees all the way across the pond from the boat house. The sky is partially cloudy and the air a comfortable seventy degrees. The shoreline is rocky and unforgiving, piercing the water at steep angle and extending to unknown depths. A patch of weeds just breaks the surface around sixty feet out, and just beyond that, a man-made island spotted with willow trees provides a fair share of ducks, swans and geese with refuge. I have on my favorite Nike windbreaker and polarized Ray Ban sunglasses. In my hands is a seven foot, medium action, Abu Garcia Veritas rod equipped with a Shimano Stradic spinning reel. The pond is completely placid, creating a perfect mirror image of my rod as I hover it over the water.
It is in this place, under these conditions, that I am perfectly content. Here, my mind is free to relinquish all stress inducing thoughts. Thoughts on how poorly I did on my last math test, or if I think Lisa likes me or not, are not present in my conscience while I am fishing. It’s almost as if fishing subconsciously instills the feeling of freedom from the world inside me. It’s as if the smell of damp earth and Algae have an instinctive calming effect, the act of holding a rod has an instinctive focusing effect, and the prospect of catching a fish has an instinctive adrenaline inducing effect. The second I grip my rod, it fuses to my fingertips, becoming an extension of my body, the medium through which the pond and I communicate. My whole spirit calms, only focusing on the vibrations that run through my rod into the tips of my fingers. My mind empties itself of all thoughts as the world around me turns quiet in anticipation of the unmistakable vibrational pattern only the bite of a fish can produce.
Upon the first cast, my rod takes on the role of a magic wand as it rids me of all the stress and anxiety I’ve gathered in the last few days. With all the things going on in my life right now, from family quarrels to crises among my friends, I find it hard to be happy sometimes. But I take solace in knowing that no matter how hard things get, I will always be able to get away from it all. Having access to a happy place or just having one in the back of my mind at all is an invaluable asset. Having mine only a bike ride away is something that a lot of people don’t have, and something that I cherish and am thankful for every day. To other people walking around Jamaica Pond, the spot between the two large maple trees across the pond from the boathouse looks just like every other spot. But to me, it is my refuge, my escape pod from the planet of stress and pain, the place where I am perfectly content.