A headstand to start the day, some time to write, and bountiful opportunities to throw a line at the water—these are a few of the things the keep me on the positive end of the happy scale. The past few months I’ve been the one swimming against currents with little time to fish or write about fishing. Life got in the way. Luckily the headstands kept me balanced.
By life I specifically mean the pursuit of teaching. I have enjoyed teaching people how to climb or how to explore outdoors and identify wildflowers. I think I would thrive on showing people the ways of Tenkara. Guiding is a passion I get behind. And I thought the classroom was a logical parallel where I would feel at home. I leapt like an overzealous rainbow at the chance to teach business law to college students this spring and quickly found out that the process of educating within walls was not the same adrenaline rush as watching someone overcome a climb or fear of heights.
I squirmed in the classroom under their blank stares. I imagined myself wading in the Uncompaghre or Gunnison staring into seeming emptiness with an optimism that faded as time went on. I hoped there would be something connecting along the way. I had less time to go fishing and I missed the tug. And then I got the nibble. The student no one thought could survive set her jaw and decided she would. We worked together, her doing the heavy lifting and extra essays. When her final grade emerged I felt that surge of joy that comes from guiding someone through a challenge. It was a good feeling, really good.
Circumstances changed and I no longer need that teaching contract to have a paycheck. I can check that box off on the experiment of life. I am grateful for the opportunity to have tested the academic water. But I am more grateful to go back to fishing.