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Wresting Color From the Canvas: House Rule #16

Aug 31, 2017 11:49AM ● By Corey Starliper

  1. Earth is a school and daily life is our classroom

  2. Our teachers come in many forms

  3. We learn best through direct experience

  4. Failures are the stepping stones to success

  5. Lessons reappear until we learn them

  6. If we don’t learn the easy lessons, they get harder

  7. Consequences teach better than concepts

  8. Only action brings ideas to life

  9. We can control efforts, not outcomes

  10. Timing is everything

  11. What goes around comes around

  12. Little things can make a big difference

  13. Play to your strengths

  14. To transform your life, change your expectations

  15. Judge with compassion

  16. Simplicity has power

How do I write an article about simplicity without complicating it to the point of futility?

This is one of my favorite House Rules because of all the rules, this one is manifested most clearly in my life.

I love to complicate things for myself, especially when it comes to fishing. It’s a stubborn streak I’ve not yet managed to squash. The other day I went looking for a certain type of hook so that I could do the type of fishing I wanted to do and they didn’t have it, so I ended up settling with something much smaller.

Too small, as a matter of fact. Too small to be practical, anyway. So I decided to take one of the plastic worms I use and cut it in half so that I could imitate the same type of rig that I could accomplish with a larger hook.

Zen. That was my first mistake.

The next mistake I made, because of course I had to fish that night, was fishing the Charles River in Waltham, which is not the best place to fish because right now it’s just too shallow and there are way too many weeds.

Since I cut the worm in half it took about an hour to sink to the bottom. That wasn’t practical either. So instead of heading back to my car, retrieving my tacklebox and weighting my line with a sinker, I cast again thinking I might have better luck.

Nothing. I cast again.

Night was rapidly closing in and I’d forgotten my phone in my car. Both of these gave me terrible anxiety because I didn’t know what time it was so I didn’t know how long I could fish before I needed to leave for work.

In the end I caught one bass, released it with pliers I needed to hunt for, and straightened out my line in the parking lot in nearly full dark.

The amount of effort I exerted on a futile attempt to catch decent sized fish in the hour before I needed to be at work was embarrassing.

Not only did I end up with twenty hooks that I can no longer use, but I know for a fact that there are decent sized fish in Lowell, that I can cast unobstructed from the rock wall on the boulevard, and that the fish there are hungry--they’ve hit my worm, full-size--several times.

Fishing first thing in the morning fifteen minutes from my house with a tackle box full of lures, my phone in my pocket and the likelihood that something will hit is much more relaxing--even if I don’t catch anything--than it would be if I spent an hour at dusk cutting corners and getting caught in the weeds.

From now on, I have no reason to fish Waltham, I have no reason to fish Shawsheen Street, and I have no reason to search high and low for wide gap hooks.

I ordered them on Amazon yesterday.

The point is, if I had taken two seconds to consider the stress I would invite by skirting the most direct route to what I wanted, I would have been able to avoid it, and I would have had to wait a nail-biting two days to go fishing.

Instead, I drove myself insane, had a panic attack, wasted money and a plastic worm.

This morning I fished the Concord River in Lowell, changed lures three times--using my pliers--and left just in time. I had my phone on me to make sure.

I didn’t catch anything, but I didn’t need to. My efforts, my intentions, and my attention to the most focused causal link were perfectly aligned.

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