Familiar Waters by Mark Dillow, 11/6/08 ©



There is something in angling that tends to produce a gentleness of spirit, a pure serenity of the mind” – Washington Irving

Last week I took advantage of the final night of the weekend to sneak down to some local waters for a bit of late season bass fishing.  The evening was the first after the end of daylight savings time, so I knew it would only be an hour or so of time on the water before night overtook me.

My evening arrival at the water went largely unnoticed, as I had hoped.  This place is near an urban park, not widely fished, and I hoped to avoid undue notice.  This is small water, and heavy fishing pressure could quickly damage the quality of the fishery.

The temperature was comfortable, and there was no wind as I began casting the deer hair fly across the pond.  Casting large wind resistant flies is tough, so this day I chose my 8-weight rod for the task.  This water holds some large bass, and the extra fighting strength of the stout rod would be helpful in the event of a hookup.

As the sun raced to the western horizon, my fishing trip drew to a close.  I changed positions to an area that I knew there was a shallow area of rock that extended out from the bank, allowing me to wade into casting range of the far bank.  As daylight waned, I was treated to a masterpiece of a sunset.  Two owls hooted across the pond at one another, and ducks buzzed me as they looked for resting water for the night, their wings ripping the air with the sound of small fighter jets.

This evening I was only able to raise one small bass willing to chase a fly.  But I experienced the solace and relaxation that the outdoors can offer, even though I was only ten minutes away from my front door.

Anglers, especially fly anglers, tend to be a restless lot, willing to travel long distances to reach fabled waters. Locales such as Alaska, Patagonia, Belize, and New Zealand tempt the dreams of many, though few can afford the cost of such a trip.

It occurred to me tonight that the thrill I get from catching bass on small local ponds is probably not significantly different that the thrill I would get from going to Alaska…except in cost and inconvenience.  Now, in case my wife reads this, you will have to help me convince her that the only way to know for sure is to take said trip to Alaska; purely in the interest of scientific investigation, you understand.

While travel to exotic locales is tempting, when it is healing and solace I need, the local waters seem to be my best comfort.  There is something to be said for familiar waters, where you can fish until after dark, knowing you can safely wade back to shore.  Where each stump, rock, and tree are as familiar as the voice of a good friend. The land and waters take you to their bosom and the soothing is both immediate and real.

Were I to depend upon distant waters for my healing, I fear I would often be ill.  Quick getaways into nature allow me a dose of stress relief after work, and keep me centered and sane.

Is it not also true of a good woman?  Temptresses may beckon from distant places, the screen of your television or computer, but they cannot ever replace true love of one familiar to you.  One who is there before the day begins and ends, in sickness and in health.

There is comfort in their familiarity, and healing in their touch.  There is strength a man gains from knowing that when the daylight fades and shadows lengthen, the woman God gave him is there showing the safe path to the shore.

Safe harbor when storms of life blow.  A place of love, comfort, contentment, and peace.

Proverbs 18:22 – He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.

Categories : Devotionals

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