My draw to the water wasn’t natural. In fact, for a very, very long time, there was no draw at all - just fear. But with time (and intentionally pushing myself), addiction set in.
When I was a kid, I remember two things about the water:
1. wanting to go fishing at the park pond with my dad (and his stories of rambling through the woods with friends in search of wild trout), and
2. swimming in the ocean during family trips to the beach
There was this split. We physically got “into“ the water on the coast, yet we only stood “around“ the water in PA. Rarely did we actually get IN freshwater. Weird, right?
But then, a real fear eventually grew around both places.
When I was small enough to be carried into the ocean, I remember my mom trying to toss me to my dad as a wave was coming. He didn’t expect it. The result? Me tumbling in said wave to shore. Bruised, scuffed up and terrified, I kind of ceased any interest in wading murky, salty waters.
Then at some point before my early teens, my mom and I were on a trip to NJ to see an old friend of hers. The daughter of that old friend took me on a walk to the local creek - and to a man-made waterfall. We both stepped on the top of the infrastructure, but my foot landed on some slick algae. Sliding, I tried gripping anything to keep myself from falling down the spillway. Blacked out, black eyed, soaked - but, I survived.
Needless to say, water and I have a complicated relationship...
It was the persistence and encouragement of my now husband that helped me work through my own head and fears that got me to where I am today - able to wade alone in unknown and known waters, alike.
Do I still have momentary unfounded fear creep in as I walk through rivers? Yes. But I tell myself THIS is my journey. I’ve waded gin-clear saltwater off distant islands, murky ponds, high country creeks and lakes, and rivers from the east coast to the Rocky Mountains - and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Bring on fishing season, please and thank you.