I ask myself this question every time my husband wakes up at three in the morning and heads out into the darkness with his fishing pole and tackle box.
I wonder, is it the peace and quiet of being on or near the water with nothing but the sounds of waves lapping at the sides of your boat or the shore of the creek, river, lake or ocean? Is it the lack of any responsibility at that very moment other than hooking your line with the right lure or bait? Feeling for the slight pull of a fish on?
I wouldn’t know, really. This is all just guesswork. In the six years I’ve known my husband, I’ve asked him a handful of times to take me out with him and teach me how to fish. I think I’ve sat next to him in the dark once while he fished off the shore of Long Beach Island while we were down there for a week’s vacation with friends. This was pre-children and pre-marriage.
I wanted to be hurt. I wanted to be offended that he never found the time to take me fishing. He’s loved the sport since he can remember. His mother loves to tell the story of how he took his plastic fishing pole into the backyard and tried fishing in the grass at two years old. I always thought that if I could share this one thing with him, this one thing that he was passionate about, that we’d be closer in some way. Well, maybe, but perhaps some things just aren’t meant for sharing in that way.
As the years went by I started to realize something. Fishing is something sacred to him. It’s something that I would enjoy, I’m sure, but it’s not something I’m passionate about in the least. The fact that he spends hours upon hours reading and writing about fishing, tells a lot. He is a fisherman, and I’m a fisherman’s wife. It can be lonely at times, but I have to respect the fact that he goes out fishing for peace of mind, silence and his own form of quiet joy. It’s in his blood, just like riding horses is in mine. I feel those same things when I’m on a horse and he’s not once asked me to teach him how to ride.
Our two boys are now three and nearly two years old. He’s already taken the eldest out to the creek and pond with a fishing pole. They come back with smiles on their faces and sweet memories to share. The last trip was on Father’s Day. My father-in-law, husband and three-year-old trekked out into the woods with fishing poles and worms in hand. They came back laughing and joking about moments they’d shared.
What’s the point of this, you ask? Well, my point is this: I’m glad that I have a husband who fishes and two wonderful sons that can benefit from knowing the joy that fishing can bring. I can see a long and beautiful relationship forming already. It won’t be long before I’m hearing the alarm clock going off at three in the morning and listening to three sets of feet shuffling out the door, and I’ll just smile to myself and go back to sleep.