I woke up just before my 5 am alarm and jumped in the shower. The night was spent dancing on the surface of sleeping, dreaming and waking.
Despite the lack of deep sleep, I was not tired at all. I was filled with energy, knowing today it was just me, the Rio Chama and hopefully, some nice sized trout! I made some coffee and a PB&J, grabbed my gear and headed to Blake’s to pick up a breakfast burrito—#4, easy on the green. From there I was off…
The Rio Chama is a major tributary of the Rio Grande and runs through Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. The section I was fishing, on this day was just below the Abiquiu Reservoir, a tailwater that offers runs, riffles, and pools. This section of the river—with its red rock bluffs and wide-open skies, is indescribably beautiful.
Silence & Dynamism, Peace Within Movement
As I fish the seams of this great river, surrounded by the vastness and beauty of nature, I feel honored and blessed. The rushing river, red rock bluffs, and the singing birds fade into an experience of unity. I have no thoughts, no troubles, no stress—at this moment I can feel both point and infinity simultaneously within me.
This experience of unity consisted of feeling and experiencing my body AND at the same time observing my body from a place of wholeness or expanded awareness. As my body was making casting motions (the point), I also felt a clear and tangible experience of wholeness as an overarching presence (infinity). This presence is not at all separate from me and is connected directly to a knowing within that it is all-pervading.
If my life is a book—the letters are actions and the words are the story created from those actions. My time on the water is the space between the words. In this space, I am free…
Angels did not appear, music did not pour from the sky—despite this “knowing” I felt, the experience was very natural. I felt more like “me” with a greater sense of self than ever before. I realized that using words like father, businessman and fly angler to describe “me” felt very superficial.
The sense of self I had realized— on this day—was here long before and will be here long after my physical body is gone… Yet, as stated before, my body was right there, as present as ever… Point AND infinity—peaceful and moving—calm but very active.
As I write this I can see and feel myself in the canyon. This is a memory that I hold dear, it is nourishing like a warm cup of tea on a cold day.
The Beauty of Fly Fishing
Getting a dry fly to its intended target and observing it travel to the dinner plate of a trout, creates for me, a magical blend of focus, joy, and peace. Sometimes this process is noticeably effortless. Sometimes this presentation process is almost as fulfilling as the take itself.
When I fly fish—the focus, desire, and intention are dynamic and moving, while the river, mountains, and trees create an expansive, silent quality that is calm and peaceful. The balance of these qualities together is why I love fishing.
The opposite qualities of silence and dynamism, or peace within movement–I am convinced is a total blessing. I believe the effects of this dual combination provide us with a greater capacity to experience patience and peace in more stressful life situations.
“Some go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God.”
Tony Blake said, “some go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God.” Maybe I don’t consciously go fishing to think about God, but I would certainly say that what I call God does show up.
I continue to strive to make my trips to the water about the experience of nature and the process of hooking fish rather than landing the fish. I personally want to slow down even more. AND, when I do catch a fish I want to give thanks. I want to share a mutual respect with the fish, leaving me feeling more connected to nature and myself.
This is a guest post by Eric Carter-Spurio
Eric is the Founder of Anchor Fly, a newly published online fly fishing platform. He and Co-Founder Chuck Hohl share a deep passion for fly fishing and strive to get on the water whenever they can. Eric currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina and Chuck in Missoula, Montana.