Gary Miller: Leave room to think

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The older I get, the more I enjoy the small rivers around my area. I used to be the lake type. I used to look forward to the sport, and even the competition, of fishing. That competition was not necessarily with other boats, but it was as much with me.

It seemed each time I went fishing, the score was zero to zero and each fish I caught or didn’t catch moved the score in one direction or another. I loved it, but it seems now that I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have. Don’t get me wrong: my most memorable trips are still the ones where I caught the most fish; except perhaps for those where thunder and lightning were involved. But for the most part, the lake has provided some great memories. And I hope it has more to give.

The river, however, is another species. It calls for one to be good at multi-tasking. If you spend too much time thinking about catching a fish, you will soon be going through some rough water sideways, and then upside down. Old Man River, over the years, has collected from me many anchors, a slew of baits, and a few expensive rods and reels. And rarely does he give any back.

I can remember a few years ago, at nine-o’clock in the morning, having to dive in to retrieve another anchor that had come untied (it seems I lose about 3 of these each year). The river does, however, provide plenty of sights that do serve to feed the imagination. It’s commonplace to see deer wading into the more shallow areas and turkey flying from one side to the other, and the ducks gathered into small pools. The river is a kaleidoscope of nature: each turn provides a different view; each view, a different perspective, and each perspective, a different you.

There’s no doubt the older we get, the more introspective we become. I somehow think men are particularly this way; at times, to a fault. Thinking is good, but it shouldn’t replace conversation – it should only add to it. And for me, the river gives the perfect environment for both.

Maybe you are neither the lake nor the river type. Perhaps your activities take you in other directions. And perhaps they are so involved that you rarely have time to think about anything, much less something of substance. These are fine, but don’t let them keep you from dealing with the weightier matters of life. Just because we ignore them, doesn’t mean they will go away.

By Gary Miller. Miller is a syndicated sports columnist. He can be reached at gary@outdoortruths.orgt