01.22.18 | Awesomeness
Once upon a time the word “awesome” carried special meaning, suggesting something so magnificent, so stirring, that time itself seemed to stop (as distinguished from its more emasculated usage in today's world, say, that of a waiter commenting on the diner’s menu choice). It is a state to which many, maybe most, people can only aspire — a vicarious thrill of the imagination. An engaging written account, however, can sometimes provide a glimpse.
A Water-Based Religion is about awe in that true sense. Read this angler's account as meditation, as a kind of prayer, “What I love almost best about fishing is another property it shares with reading and writing: it concentrates the mind, while at the same time liberating it. It is much less about catching a fish than releasing the fisherman. This ecstatic dreamtime lies within the reach of anyone able to bait a hook and is what many of us, really, are angling for – a settled but excited state of mind in a place of outstanding beauty.”
It's not about the sport. It’s about the poetry. It's about the connection, whether it be to another, to nature, to struggle, to spirit, to oneself. You may recall from your high school days (continuing with the fishing theme) all such dimensions were on display in Hemingway’s The Old Man And the Sea through Santiago’s relationship with the marlin. Has connection at that level been relegated to works of fiction or is there still room for awe in today's hyperkinetic world ?
So let's start by teasing out examples of our own truly awesome life experiences -- times we were able to untangle ourselves from what we normally are not. Recall the reverie, the suspension of time, how the excellence of the moment itself seemed to carry with it the prestige of the infinite. Surely that must be replicable.