"I don't think I've ever been this quiet for so long"
What started as a solo fishing trip on a random weekend, when school was getting out of hand, slowly became a habit. A custom based on the pursuit of something to take up my attention, but more than anything a search for this special instances, this split second moments, where I've come to experience a different kind of awareness. It first came as a need to keep me safe in precarious situations, like fishing in rivers with high current, sleeping in my car in random places or in my tent whenever I could sneak into parks for the night but is becoming the reason I keep going out on my own.
This kind of endeavors fit me well, fighting a current while keeping my balance on stones or sand, trying to cast a fly just right, mimicking the bugs that I see, "Am I using the right fly?, Am I casting at the right depth and place?" The flow of the water against my legs forces me to move and adjust, my senses are intensified, as I hear every splash in the water, waiting for a fish to jump or come up, my eyes look non-stop and my arms swing the rod back and forth. "Two and ten, two and ten" Norman Maclean resonates in my head, little by little all these factors become a perfect sequence and I find myself just being there in the moment.
Finding the route through back roads and small highways using nothing but a map is the best part about traveling like this, no schedule, up when the sun rises and down when my eyes can't stay open any longer, chances to push myself don't come that often but they are welcomed with a smile and anxious feet every time. It's not like I like sleeping in my car or on the ground but I love being out there and a little of discomfort is a small price to pay in my opinion.
Trips like this usually have small stages, there's the initial excitement when you finally get away from everything, the kind of frenzy that I've learned to keep at hold, otherwise, any bump on the road can be very discouraging. It's just better to stay calm and take in everything as it comes, the good and the bad especially the bad.
Then, of course, self-loathing has its appearances, and would you expect any less? After all is just you, and after a while, you realize you aren't as funny as you thought. It comes and goes with a lot of cursing at times and more frustration at others but if you happen to be calm enough when you least expect it you'll reach a stop. Whatever the reason might be to stop at that particular second varies, maybe the clouds are on fire as the sun sets in between two hills, or you reach a clearing on the road and the pastures are tainted in just the perfect tonality of green as all the wildflowers align in a portrait that speaks of the beauty that surrounds you. There might be a nice looking stream ahead or just a nice view of the cattle near an old farm. More often than not you'll find something of this nature, something you don't mind paying attention to, something you don't mind being uncomfortable for, something that makes everything else seem less important, including yourself. Those instances don't come often, some trips might not even have them, but they're out there. The beauty of this humbling moments is that once you realize how small you are, your problems become even smaller.
It's interesting to think about what college is like as an engineering student, or any major for that matter, we slowly transform into multitaskers, experts in several fields, scientists, physicists, chemists, and even mathematicians. All these subjects are jammed into your head in a barrage of knowledge that can become very overwhelming if you aren't ready for it. I'm on my senior year and I've begun to realize I might never be ready for it, I just continue to move on through assignments and pass my tests as I numb down my curiosity and just resign to do the problems over and over again, jus to get a letter grade.
The only thing that I take comfort in, is knowing that adventure is still out there waiting for me to get in my car and leave, time and time again.