One of the most therapeutical things we can do to empty our minds and offer ourselves a platform for planning, thinking and relaxation, is simply listening to the sound of a river.
Being close to running water, breathing fresh non polluted air, somewhat forgotten in the urban controlled and influenced 21st century, is actually paramount to man's wellbeing and one of the main reasons every sizeable settlement/town was built by a flowing river in the first place.
Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me, why do you spend so much time Fishing? Wading in, or on the bank of a river trying to catch something so hard to catch. My answer to this is a metaphor frequently used in the angling world – “There’s a lot more to fishing than catching fish”! One of the many things being, just simply the river itself. But such is the variety possible answer, every angler from every part of fishing, whether that be Course, Game and Sea, may have a different reason.
In the same way as a good varied diet cleanses our body, keeping us fit and strong; the ambiance, sights, sounds and smells of a flowing river helps cleanse our mind, providing us with inspiration for writing, learning, spiritual meditation, relaxation and contemplation. Never is my mind more relaxed than when I’m either standing in or sitting by a river. As our towns and cities grew, the 20th century provided us with new technologies, hobbies and interests, so our bond to, reliance and understanding of the river and its magical qualities slowly faded. There’s no doubt that future academics will realise this, study and highlight the potential of this natural stimulant and fuel for our soul in the same way as our forefathers; in all probability hailing it as a new “wonder therapy”!
In our 30s through till our 50s and beyond, activity such as jogging and cycling both keep us fit, take us into the countryside and generally help our wellbeing both mentally and physically. However, as we get older, we tend to slow a little, look at things retrospectively. Everything, including our exercise is done at a somewhat slower pace. Of course, there are exceptions, but for people in the 50s and beyond, hobbies such as fishing, and golf are more suited to most; for it's not only our bodies that are less fit, our minds are less efficient, work harder and require time to relax and very importantly, refuel! For me personally, nothing helps this more than meditation by the river salmon fishing. Casting provides me with exercise. Concentration is required when wading in the river or walking on the bank. My head empties and my mind wonders, captivated by the “enigma” that is, the Salmon and the wonders of nature!
Speaking for myself, between a double knee replacement and now lockdown due to the virus, to say I’m missing the river is an understatement. In more than 45 years It’s the longest period I’ve been away from it and all its wonderful afore mentioned attributes.
I sincerely hope that when lockdown rules are relaxed in favour of social distancing, like cyclists have right now, all fishermen will once again have the freedom to responsibly, enjoy the tranquillity and solitude with the sound of the river, serenity of the canal, lake or sea, rather than the TV, Reading, Music or Computer.
Please share amongst all fishermen and women so our message gets through to those making decisions.