“Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
What Henry David Thoreau said of fishermen is equally true of us all. The pursuit that seems shallow and direct usually runs, when it is earnestly engaged, to unsuspected depths.
To go fishing is not the same thing as to simply go get a fish. In fishing, we seek the journey to the water’s edge, the transcendent reflections upon the water’s surface, and the opportunity to cast a lure into a mysterious realm where we ourselves could not survive, hoping to attract of the of the strange creatures who live there. This experience stills our minds and removes us from the requirements of the ordinary flow of events.
The fish itself is nutritious, and delicious when properly prepared, but it also embodies an idea of the silent currents that flow unseen within our own minds. It is a symbol of our subconscious thoughts, a representative of that part of our identities which remains elusive of our understanding even with our most determined efforts to grasp it.
In seeking fish, we angle within. Fishing, however, is not a unique undertaking in this regard. As we work, as we play, and even as we shop, we navigate through a territory of meaning that is layered along a dense dimension that runs from the superficial world of our sunlit thoughts down to the fundamental urges that propel us ever forward, along routes that are as easy to follow as they are difficult to apprehend.
To live in this way is a natural consequence of being human. People are instinctually symbolic.
Even within the most apparently mundane objects and activities, there are powerful truths, hidden by our inventive ancestors and forgotten, waiting to be rediscovered.