I listen to this song often – looped – while pecking away at my keyboard and querying my brain for solutions that it thinks is elegant for a problem. Although the solutions returned from my noggin aren’t always the most amazing ( and are downright scary months later ) – this song gets me into the zone.
The elusive zone. It is a mythical place where all the distractions melt away, and the mind is free to focus on a single thread. Getting there is hard, but on days when I reach the zone – I always finish my day feeling fulfilled.
In many ways, this feeling of focus – freeing myself from distractions – is why I love to fish. Being outdoors has a way of stripping away distraction. But the basics of casting a line, focusing on a single thread drifting through the current, it really gets me to the zone. And even when nothing causes that single thread to go taut – I still walk away with a full spirit.
Self Imposed Noise
But of course – my mind also loves challenges. So over time, of course it seems to occasionally get bored with watching the single thread, and it conjures up additional rules and constructs to follow. Steelheading. An “awful drug” as Josh referred to it this weekend while driving to the Metolius.
Our self imposed noise had led us to a surging river with low visibility the day before – and our plans had to be altered – which is okay when your final destination looks like this:
I haven’t fished the Metolius River much. I think I can still count on my hands the number of times I’ve waded into the waters there – but after Saturday I think that will change. The day wasn’t gangbusters, but the Met brought me to the zone.
After spending the first half hour or so just doing the motions below bridge 99, I stepped back and focused, let the noise be chased out of my head by a beautiful rapid down river, and found a small patch of calm.
Focused, I had found a zone – and everything fell into place. Zen, enlightened, and giddy – the next three casts were fun.
When you free your mind from the noise and distractions – clear away the self-imposed rules – everything just clicks. Indeed these were not steelhead – but these little rainbows on the met felt wonderful in the heavy current on my 3#.
The only thing that would have made the day better, was if my buddy Sampson could have been there. He had a hurt paw so was back at home – but Reggie filled in and followed me through the tightest brushy spots. It may have been the smoked steelhead skin I gave him early in the morning, but Reg was happy to be in the zone too.
Quite possibly the best thing about being in the zone is you start to notice all the small things about your surroundings. It lets you listen to the river – and when you do, you get to learn some of her secrets.