Brookies and Therapy

Brookies and Therapy

Stay with me and read this quote all the way through – I promise you, there is a fishing tie-in later:

“I was in yoga the other day. I was in full lotus position.  My chakras were all aligned.  My mind is cleared of all clatter and I’m looking out of my third eye and everything that I’m supposed to be doing.  It’s amazing what comes up when you sit in that silence.  “Mama keeps whites bright like the sunlight, Mama’s got the magic of Clorox 2.” – The first person to message us with who said this gets a Brookdog hat and decal. If you don’t remember this jingle, chances are you born after the late 80s.

It was a few weeks ago while fishing the Shenandoahs when this quote popped in my head. If you’ve never fished this little slice of heaven here’s a quick intro.  You’ll end up hiking – A LOT – through some pristine wilderness just to get to the creek.  When you finally do, you’ll be taken back by the beauty of the water – its clarity, the color of the rocks, and the number/variety of pools, waterfalls, and runs that will challenge nearly all of your casting skills.  However, if you’re careful on your approach to good holding water and you’re able to get your fly in place while presenting a drag free drift, 60% of the time, you’ll catch a fish every time.  “What fish,” you might ask?  The native gem from east of the Mississippi – the source of our namesake – the brook trout.  This whole experience can be quite cerebral.

I digress – what’s somewhat unique to fishing this region and others like it is the amount of time you spend walking. The water is also unique as the plunge pools, waterfalls, and runs produce the constant and dominating sound that moving water makes as it runs down steep gradients.  This is often so loud that it’s difficult to hear anyone around you or to carry on a conversation unless your fishing buddy is within a few feet.  The effect of this is to put an angler in his/her own head.  I think some would call it Zen.  I’ve fished this type of water a lot – but just when I’m reaching this point of clarity, “random thought syndrome” kicks in and quotes like the one above just pop in there.  Many of the guides and fishing partners I’ve spent time with over the years can attest to the way I act in these circumstances.  They’ve had the privilege of being annoyed by my random movie quotes and bursts into random songs and verses.  Where does all of this randomness come from and why does it enter my consciousness?

I’m willing to bet that I’m not alone in exhibiting this behavior. What I’ve been trying to figure out is why this occurs.  Is it a symptom of constant bombardment of the media, commercials, social media, text messages, instant messages, etc?  Will it ever go away?  Is it a sickness?  Am I insane?  Should I seek help?  Nah – I’m cool with it.  In fact, in reflecting on these outbursts, I’m filled with joy and sometimes break out in laughter.

Rarely, if ever, is this behavior annoying – well to me at least. Often times it’s entertaining to see the reaction on the face of the people I’m fishing with and these quotes and songs become embedded into the memories of those days on the water.  I get the line, “That s#$t’s in there deep, bro,” nearly every trip.  On one particular trip while fishing Slate Run in PA (a body of water ripe for this behavior to emerge) a line from the Flight of the Concords’ song – All the Ladies of the World – got in there REAL deep.  “All you sexy lady-man ladies.  You sexy lady bitch.  You sexy man bitch too.  Even you must be in to you.”  You’re welcome Nate and Tim.

So, fly fishing is definitely therapeutic. No other experience brings out these random strands in the old duder’s head.  I’ve participated in a few Project Healing Waters events that prove this to me as well.  Complete peace of mind.  If you don’t fly fish and are seeking this sort of release – give it a try or at least find something that will produce the same effect.  There is a lot of hype in the media about how today’s frequent bombardment of information in the form of bullets and one liners is reducing the intellectual capacity of both the youth and old alike.  I think this is only true if you don’t fly fish or do something like it.  Although all these random thoughts and catchy lines from commercials and pop songs flow freely while wetting a line, the experience allows you to get above all of that and laugh at yourself in the process.  I want my baby-back, baby-back, baby-back.  I want my baby-back, baby-back, baby-back.  Chili’s baby-back ribs…barbeque sauce – wait…what?

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