Category Archives: Random

Cyclical Overthinking

As I sit this morning, I must bar all thought. A blank space, fingers moving, typing. A warm-up exercise for the day to get the fluids moving. To conjure a thought, new, fresh. It is a thing for writers to write about their writer’s block, but is it a thing to force yourself to be blocked? I’ve always stated that repetitive motion is not understanding and I hold fast to that. The complexities of understanding are to see whatever issue it is from all sides. Sounds easy enough, politics has been polarized over the years to make us believe that it is one way or the other. The only way to simplify the block is to say it is either on or off. But it is not quite that simple. To force oneself to be blocked with the intention of being blocked is the same as being blocked with the intention of not being blocked. Feel free to read that last thought again as I gather some new ones.

It is curious, thinking about thinking. The idea of where a thought comes from and how those thoughts come to light. Paradoxical really. Time traveling through predictions of future thought but being there at completion and going back to change it. The quantum superposition of thought. In our minds we carry the cognitive ability to imagine, fictitiously, any scenario. Any possibility. As infinite as it all seems, somehow we drown it out. We focus. We bear down on the thought that we are incapable and by doing so renders us incapacitated. Feel free to read the thought from the first paragraph that you reread the first time.

I find it impossible to keep up with overthinking. What started as a blank idea, free of thought has now become a buzz in which I can not type fast enough, but it is sinking in. The ideas that I can pluck are not explainable on the fly and I have hit a wall that casts aside new ideas.

I will not relate this to fly fishing.

I will not relate this to fly fishing.

I will not relate this to fly fishing.

Now, I’m trapped in the thoughts prior to this point. To more deeply think and explain the prior writings. They are already there and I promise they were not edited. It is much like linear time travel in real time. As titillating as thinking about the process of thought is to me, I feel as though it should be left there. Unchanged. Unabashed. Pure, raw thought… about thought. As ambiguous as it seems, maybe it isn’t at all. One day, I’ll wake up and write about this. Please reread from the beginning.

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The Escape

The sun beats down on the water as pearls of focused light spray themselves across the projector screen of a stone face. The drama unfolds in some futuristic, alien movie. Untranslatable and silent playing a message across the world at all times. It is a moment of zen, of purity.

The breeze gently slaps waves into the hull of the boat and against the shoreline allowing a subtle break from the heat. The prime function of the cooling evaporative effect in the human body working in overtime. Beneath the surface of the water, mechanisms are working in concert to sustain life. Life is making decisions of it’s own, choices to eat or die, to be prey or be predator. From atom to amoeba, from insect to human. All right here for a reason. It is chaos on an imperceivable level. It is output and work to maintain what we simply know as life.

Far beyond this place lie structures, concepts, ideas. The notion the we are in control of this chaos. A place where we think we can turn abstract complexities into something more pleasing. Something measurable. Geometry. Utilizing science to define, to predict the coming of something else. To assume we can fathom the concept of life itself. The constant turmoil of our machines, and the chaos of trying to get somewhere within a certain measurement of time. Bickering over self worth and ideas to manipulate the thought processes of others to be like us. Numbing ourselves with scenes of violence, with keeping up with the Joneses, with contributing ideas to the idea of how society functions and keeping that ideal of what we should be. All the while keeping us believing the chaos is controlled. Delivering peace through the word “because”.

Seeing through the eyes of the nascent, surrounded by the chaos beyond the city walls, magically floating on water, squinting as though seeing the sun for the first time, I am. I am here, part of this chaotic situation, at peace. Shrodinger’s cat, both alive and dead, unobserved and unable to observe those who live in the cities. Both answers unknown to either side, I have escaped. Only manipulated by the abstract concepts surrounding me, only defined by my impact upon it.

 


The Call

It is a sickness, similar to being laid up in a hospital bed with unfinished business. You left your oven on and you know it. The constant tug pulling you away from where you are. A place you do not wish to be. Any excuse seems legitimate.

There is no reprieve, no detox, no helpline. No friends to help with the itch beckoning you to your release. The friends are only enablers. Even in those moments of joy and excitement the memory seems dull and uneventful. Times spent around people numbingly tedious. Deep down, you want to enjoy those moments, but the oven is on. You left your home unlocked and your focus on the world around you fades.

The itch, the pull, the ever active light in your head. To be there in the cold while yearning for warmth. Surrounded by a safe place. To escape the relentless barrage of people breathing the same air, choking what oxygen is left. To be free of neon lights and unsmiling faces walking with no other care for the others who, blank-faced and emotionless, do the same. To be in that place again, to be in a place of non-judgement, to be free in that vast expanse of nothing. Those are the thoughts that dominate.

Until then, walking head down with my hands in my pockets, you will know what I am thinking and where I want to be. That person hiding in his cloak in public with the end goal of casting it off. To be who and what I really am, even though I might not know what that is. Even with age, I should know how to block it out, but I can not. A burden I have carried since childhood still wants me, still calls.


Acting On A Myth…

Short and sweet this morning. Not often do I have the opportunity to find new water or new fish. It did happen a couple years ago and might just happen again today. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to find new things in New Mexico, we don’t have much to find. Water, at least. I mean the accidental fish in waters you normally fish is cool and all, but I get to hunt one, to see if rumors are true.

Having a great deal of experience with the fish I’m searching for. But from experience in Illinois, no matter how stupid a fish seems to be, they can also be very elusive. Today, I’m strapping on the hiking boots and darting across fields of boulders to (literally) find the best news of my life.

The crazy part of all of this is, my life does depend on it. My future decisions depend on this fish. It seems mundane an unexciting to some, but I’ll see you later and hope to come back with fantastic news. As anticlimactic as that news may be. Until tomorrow!

To be continued…

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And Then, Rain

“Here comes the rain again.”

It is a line in a song to which I know neither author nor title. For that matter, any of the other lyrics in the song. Probably comes from my youth, sitting in front of the television, singing along to the sales pitch of boxed set cassettes. Hits from the 80’s. The commercials were prevalent in those days and in my innocence, I would think they were the same song. To this day, I remember the lines and sequences of the commercials. Something you would learn after being in a boat with me on a slow day.

I digress… The misplaced line of the song in question is sort of doldrum and probably not about rain at all. It is reminiscent of most songs in the rain genre. Minor keys, sadness, bankruptcy, all elements of rain apparently. These people must come from Seattle where nonstop, boring, minor key rain is a way of life.

It has been 19 years. NINETEEN YEARS of extreme to exceptional drought here in New Mexico. In case you were wondering, exceptional is not positive. All those years I thought my P.E. teacher was complimenting me… Allow me to preface, I don’t live in the mojave or similar, it just doesn’t rain much here. Our record high temperature was 99 degrees some years ago. Our rainfall has just been unusually low. It may change, and I’ll be waiting.

The adage, when it rains, it pours, is fitting around these parts. Most often comes as a surprise to us muggles and meteorologists alike. Not the Louis Armstrong Muggles or the ologists of meteors, for that matter. I can see for parsecs out here and one would think they could see it coming. You can’t. At first, a puffy cloud, a normal anomaly of humankind. Don’t blink, it’ll get you. Much like the rhythm. When I see that water column falling from the sky in my path, I rejoice. Everyone does, it is a powerful virus out here (do I keep referencing stuff… The Thing) that spreads joy. The end of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, cannons and all. Somehow, in my demented little mind, destruction via rain is something I’ve always wanted to be a part of and there is no storm as potentially destructive as a New Mexico storm. It just has nothing to destroy here.

Maybe we do not have big rivers that expand beyond their banks, so what!? Here, both rain and rivers are a new surprise every time.

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Wide Open

Perpetually gray, continually covered in a thin layer of clouds, desaturating the overwhelmingly drab hues of the desert, it gave a sense of twilight. To decode the reasons for the lake to maintain a mysterious air brings me back to my first visits. Sunny day trips were inevitably squandered by the cloud cover looming over the proverbial castle of Frankenstein himself. Conjuring thoughts of the deranged, but the thoughts were not unfounded. Some years ago, someone lost their truck down the boat ramp and when the scuba divers went to retrieve it, they found a different vehicle with an entire family trapped in their car at the bottom of the lake. No sign of the truck, however. Maybe it was the dismal brown of the lake that hid its secrets, maybe the clouds hovering above that covered up what the lake had done. Maybe staying too long could pull you in as well.

During the summer, the water changes from heavily creamed coffee to a chalky shade of green. In neither situation does the light penetrate to see what is underfoot. Could be anything down there, any depth, any creature. Around the bend could be a skin walker or any number of mysterious beasts. The air of the unknown. The landscape and the imagination wide open and empty. Rather than be filled with real and rational, instead, the mind wanders to parts unknown.

Colloquially, it is referred to as “THE DEAD SEA”. No fish in New Mexico is more tight-lipped than the ones found here. All the while adding to the idea that secrets are abound. There is the distinct possibility, they too, fear what is around the corner. Fear of the beasts themselves who lurk within.

We shuttled along the riprap of the world’s 11th largest earth-fill dam. The blackness of the massive basalt structure disappeared at the shoreline. For the second time in my life, the skies overhead were clear. Only, this time we didn’t have a wayward rattlesnake trying to seek refuge in the boat. The high altitude sun was brutal. The air was still and quiet. No other boats or children playing, no airplanes or birds, just a fly line sailing through the air. That familiar whistle evoking the mind’s deepest thoughts of the world.

No fish yet. No carp stacked in the inlet of the mighty Rio Grande, no bass on the cliffs, no pike in the grass. All hope was fading, ushered out by the burden of heat exhaustion. Our options dwindled equally. The last hope was a small population of bluegill and perch that I knew were in the lake. There have been rumors of white bass, but in all of my days I have yet to see one. I sat in the boat looking at materials to jumble together to make a small enough fly and commenced tying the stupidest fly to date. Just a hook with black dubbing and black shimmer fringe. I lobbed a cast at the bank with everything I had left and saw a familiar white flash. Game. Set. Match. I had found the elusive white bass.

…Or so I thought

Maybe the beasts and denizens around the corner, although unexpected aren’t really that unreal after all. Definitely not as frightening. Unless, you are afraid of crappie.

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The Story is Dead

I hope you are prepared to read. I offer no pretty pictures or frill, no shark eating grouper or fail compilations, just words. I know the drill with online articles these days is to leave you hanging and put a thousand words between you and the punchline of the story. Forgetting to make the title clickbait worthy is also a mistake on my part. Who said the rules should be followed anyway?

They used to say, “print is dead” back in the days when blogging was the thing that cool kids do. Looking back on those years, it was. Magazines and books were caught up in a choke-hold underneath the hairy armpit of the all-powerful blogger. For a time, it was cheap (free) advertising and companies basked in the light of offering a lighted keychain to a fellow willing to write about their company. Many, clamoring at a glimmering hope of recognition, jumped on the opportunity. If they didn’t, someone else would. Boy did they learn from us.

In the earlier days when I was reading more than writing, it was about the story. The old it’s-not-the-destination-it’s-the-journey tagline was rampant and serves a dual purpose in this circumstance. The love of fishing brought us to read stories from others about our internal thoughts. We related to one another. We commiserated in our failures. We cheered our fellow man. And the plot thickens…

Times have changed my friends. Each of us, whether in the industry or not, is now free advertising space for those who choose to use it. Fly fishing companies KNOW it happens and can’t say no to it. Which, in turn, forces us to accept almost any offer. The state of the internet knows how to drive sales in the market and has entered “visibility” as pay to play. “The Big Boys” dump money into and focus on relevance (now figured in total postings rather than engagement, visitation and quality) to get that coveted top listing. All fueled by links and clicks over content. Pair this up with the free advertising companies get from posts in the insta that are absolutely dripping in hashtags, and you get a magical outcome. If you’ve got money, even if you don’t know sh#t and your content is sh#t or regurgitated sh#t, you are on top. See what I did there?

I caught wind of this situation some years ago, but didn’t really say anything about it. Totally turned me off of the blogging scene and there was no sense in fighting against it. It was the journey, after all. Writing purely for the enjoyment of another reader seems to be lost in the black and white, or orange and black, depending on your blog settings. They’ve gone back to print and paper. The wordy and unruly renegades of the blog, famished and tired, lay quietly in the dark. Bottom-listed, unshared and unloved (and more than likely working on a book or a publishing deal).

[Insert cat meme here…]

Really, all of this rambling brings me to the point (after only 500 words). The story is lost among all of the internet trash, the top listed filth spewing from articles disguised as helpful with the only goal of selling you a product. Even if the article is profoundly misleading or from a poorly educated source. They have no fear of the publish button on the top right hand side of the screen. Just efficient, content producing machines. They have become popular opinion and their fuel is, “this works, it drives traffic, let’s continue even when it gets annoying”. Here lies the rest of us, telling stories beneath the freight train of advertising. After all, from the heart is not as valuable as from the wallet.