Nick is stressed. No more than anyone else these days, I suppose. From trying to manage a master’s program in the midst of a pandemic to the future of his job, not to mention the fact he recently found out his father was diagnosed with COVID-19, stress is to be expected. That’s probably why he’s putting on his tattered, leaky waders and assembling his fishing rod in the first place.
People navigate this pandemic in their own ways. Some with religion, some with family, some with an ever-dwindling liquor stash. Nick, he’s focused on loading the line with that back-forth-back-forth motion of the rod before releasing it out into the river. The line relaxes and slows in the current, and so does he.
To those who have never been fly fishing, there’s this “River Runs Through It” scene they paint in their heads––all untouched and still and picturesque. But to those who have, it’s often quite the opposite. The line gets snarled in the wind. The fly gets snagged on submerged debris. The “goddamn fish won’t eat.”
But this is where meditation happens, right? Tranquility in chaos and all that. Here’s a guy whose waders are filling with cold early spring water as a snow squall sets in to complicate his cast, and Nick’s eyes are set only on reading the water. Not his coursework or his job. Not family or politics. For just a little while, the only thing in the world is back-forth-back-forth. Load and release. Strip the line. Start again.