My college roommate (quickly turned best friend) Val, hated poetry. But she felt that she should like it, or at least try to like it. Give it a chance. So every night before bed, she would read a poem. I don't remember what poet she started with, but I do remember that their poems rhymed. She especially hated poetry that didn't rhyme, she said, it doesn't make sense. I think this had a large part to do with us being music students at a conservatory and being indoctrinated with sontata form and rondos and AA - BA - CA - BA, and themes and variations. The leitmotiv always returns.
By the end of sophomore year, Val may not have always liked poetry, but she did appreciate it. She'd taught herself to like at least some of it some of the time, and she was better off for it, she said.
And here now I find myself standing by a roaring stream, thinking about Val -- if she could teach herself to like poetry, I reasoned, I could teach myself this...
Here now for the confession: Wading scares me.
I didn't start out fishing streams and rivers, I started out in mud flats and lakes. Good grief, my first fish on a fly was a carp. Moving waters make me feel pressured both literally and figuratively. I love being in them, mind you, but they press me to do difficult things, things I'm not completely comfortable with, nor sure of. Everything is moving, the leitmotiv is coming back, and I'm not ready for the progression. My frame feels too light, as if I'm going to be lifted up and flown downstream. I don't have a choice in the matter and it's a one way ticket.
Thus, when I go fishing alone I tend to avoid moving waters. And this, has been bothering me. It doesn't feel right to avoid hard or difficult things. Or things I don't understand. Like Val and her poetry. So lately, I've purposely headed to creeks alone. I'm reading poetry before bed.
I'm going to keep reading the waters, the tells, the poetry of the eddies. I'm going to keep wading, and wading alone, until I like it. It doesn't even have to rhyme.
So this morning, stepping slowly and carefully (thinking muleishly surefooted thoughts) into the current, I determinedly moved upstream. I didn't pick every pocket, or drift every run on the far side, but I did some. My confidence grew. And that is really all we can do in the end, reach what we can and move upstream -- falling, bruising, and looking tipsied sober. Can't go back though...can't go back. And so I go wading on -- with a bruised shin-bone and sometimes ego...and will have a few drinks at the end of the day to warrant my stance in the river.