I took off one later summer weekend my senior year of high school, to stand knee-deep in a cold, swift run, tossing fake grasshoppers at real trout. I don’t remember if the trip was expressly to think, to work something out, although that’s a lot of the reason I fish. I do remember some dark form- a madtom, maybe, or a big sculpin, darting between my legs. It’s the first time I can remember realizing there were a hundred other things going on around me at any given moment. That a guy standing in a river throwing dry flies for trout wasn’t the only thing happening, and almost certainly not the most important. That all the rest was probably worth paying attention to.
Angling is the way I learned to explore the natural world. It’s how I learned to solve problems. How to ask questions. That initial curiosity led me into the sciences, particularly conservation biology, and as I learned more about aquatic systems I learned more about their threats, their resilience, their ability to recover- if we allow them. If my writing here accomplishes anything, it hopefully conveys that sentiment to a broader audience.
And maybe it’ll get someone to pay a little more attention to the hundred other things going on.