There are some moments in your life that define who you are as a person. I had one of these moments recently that I can't seem to get out of my head. So I decided to write about it. I've recently been fishing for bowfin and the places I'm going to aren't the prettiest. They are out of the way back alley type places where safety often comes in to question. The whole place is dingy. The section where I last fished had a cement structure that controlled how the water passes through. It was similar to a flow gauge on a dam. The gates could be closed to flood wetlands behind the impoundment and opened to let some of the water out. Most of the time the gates are open. In the cross way there is debris and rip rap everywhere. There is no sure way of knowing how deep the water is. There is a 5ft chain link fence on both sidse of the cement structure and a small maybe 20inch walk way that links the two sides together. So if you look at the cement structure straight on it would look like a tall H. I wish I had pictures to explain it better. When I walked up to the structure I realized I really wanted to be on the other side of it. There was more room to cast and more water to fish. To get there I had to climb over the first chain link fence, scale the small 20inch walk way, then climb the second chain link fence to get there. Looking at it at first glance I thought to myself no big deal. But I didn't attempt it right away. So I started to fish from my side. I caught a bass but I felt the fishing had to be better on the other side. I went back to the top of the structure again and stared at the fence. I tried to figure out the best way to go about it. Then a little voice inside my head started to eat away at me. The voice was saying things like...
"You're out here by yourself, if you get hurt who knows when someone will find you? This structure is about 15ft off the ground and if you fall in that water there's no telling what is in it. You could get impaled or land on something sharp. That small walk way looks old what if it just crumbled and broke apart?"
On top of that I was wearing my wading boots and they didn't stick in the holes in the fence like tennis shoes. I still felt I could climb the fence but now I could feel my adrenaline starting to pump. What the hell is wrong with me? When I was younger I'd be on the other side of this structure not even thinking about this but now I'm having a hard time getting just over the first fence. I tried to pull myself together and started to climb the fence. I had the feeling in my head similar to when you know you are doing something you probably shouldn't be but you're trying it anyways. My hands started to shake while I climbed but I made it over the fence. I held on to it as if I was on a cliff on Mt Everest. There was a railing that went along the thin walk way. I scaled that easily and now I had to face second fence. This one had a little different scenario. There was cement on the back side of it and if you made it to the top of the fence and had some sort of mishap you'd fall over 20 feet on cement. The only way was to climb the fence then slowly lower yourself down to the base of the fence where there was about 14inches of cement sticking out then lower yourself from there. Still I figured this wasn't that big of a deal just get it over with. Then the voice kicked in again.....
"Would you really want this to be the way you die? Falling off a cement structure in the middle of nowhere. You could just drive to another location and walk in from the other side. Yeah it might be a mile walk but it's better than risking your life. This fence looks suspect your waders could get caught on it and cause you to fall...."
I just sat there staring at the fence I kept looking at the first one I climbed over then looked back at the second one. I felt stupid for just standing there at the top of this cement structure confused. That's when I felt this is a moment that's defining me. I'm no longer a risk taker. I'm a dad who's more into safey. Booo! How exciting is that? A part of me was actually ok with it and in the end the voice won and I worked my way back across the small walk way and climbed over the first fence. Walked back to my car and went around to the other side. In the end I followed my motto, live to fish another day.
Getting old sucks for sure. I learned the hard way when I fell from a tree trying to retrieve my flies. You gotta stay safe for the fam:) Great Post. Tight Lines.ReplyDelete
Absolutely a grown up decision. Your kids will love when you're around to attend their weddings.ReplyDelete
As you get older you will hear that little voice more often. For me and I know this is true for you---but it is pure crap to get old. I hate it, I still try to do things I did back 30 years ago, but as time goes on I do less and less of those things now. Let's take of ourselves so we can teach our Grandchildren how to fish. Great Post and Great advice. Thanks for sharing
Thanks for the comments guys and I thought about it later. This is almost my one year anniversary from falling threw a wooden bridge. It was a similar situation where I kept going when I probably should have stopped.ReplyDelete