In Like a Lamb

If it continues to be as beautiful as today March may never see the lion.

DSC_0827Down time.

During which I have become an observer and celebrator, a learner and a soul at peace.

It’s taken a lifetime to get here. Maybe it just took me longer to understand some of the things you already know.

How very carefully  I take my line and run it through each guide knowing it will meet the acquaintance of water at some point.  Knots tie together a quiet confidence of bringing life to shore.  Running my fingers over each lure, metal and feathers  with hope of making the right choice. Each little thing we do and think of  to bring us to water so intentionally.  I walk, I walk so far and so long some days. In each step I walk towards a feeling so hard to capture in words. It’s freedom, happiness, love and hope all hanging on to each cast I let got of.  No one can touch me here with any negativity because it’s here where I heal and rejoice this life.

This life I am so grateful to still be here experiencing.

A brush with death is something you never forget no matter how many days ago it was. You wake up with a heart so thankful that the grains of sand in your shoes are proof you get to do it again.

It becomes almost difficult when interacting with people who take this all of granted. Try as you may you hope for some understanding of why you are overflowing with happiness each sunrise.

Forgiveness and retribution.

It is perfectly sensible to feel that several of the traditionally self-sufficient philosophical justifications of punishment may be necessary. ‘Retribution‘ implies that offences should be balanced out with equivalent penalties. 

2004 study published in Science by University of Zurich researcher Dominique de Quervain and his colleagues had people think about exacting revenge on an “enemy”. What they experienced was measurable pleasure: their dorsal striatum (the pleasure center of the brain) lit up in a PET scan while doing so. 

At some point in your life something is going to happen to change it. It happens to every single one of us. Something or someone is going to turn your life upside down good/bad. It could also be a parent, sibling, friend, BF/GF, or stranger. It’s going to bring you places unimaginable. Resist the urge to let it own you. Make your peace because what you do with such a major life event will determine the rest of your life and what you live for. 

Retribution can take many forms and I live mine everyday.

It’s sunrise and the light through the windows are these beautiful, bouncing beams. My first thought is panic. Seconds later,I remember where I am. A warmth fills my soul and immediately makes me grateful. At some point today I’ll touch water, a trail, or maybe you…but everyday I am going to get even by living… and doing so beautifully. xo

DSC_0944

I want to live in this place in my heart forever where fishing takes me.

Days.

Days of which start with a clear view into the night sky full of bursting diamonds and a moon so bright it forms light of almost mid day.  With my first foot placed upon the sand I know I am walking into my future. It’s there waiting, always waiting with so many possibilities.  As I begin my journey it is often quiet except for the sounds around me nature creates.  I can’t help but think the universe conspired to bring me there.

To deem me worthy to take all that in. And at the very end of most days put on a visual showcase of colors of sunset.

Everyone different, each beautiful.

halo2

I have been blessed to encounter many a beautiful fish of all species in fresh and salt water. It’s never been quite as important as now to let go of what you do not need for future generations.

This calling  was placed in my heart long ago, before I could even figure out what was pulling me to the water. I don’t question it, just rejoice in finding it , my love of fishing. Something I hope anyone who loves it can get to.

We do get there when we become quiet and listen to ourselves and what makes us happiest.

Spring run is soon upon us and it is my sincere hope that you find your way to the water .

DSC_0243

 

It hard to believe a year has gone by since Tony left to fish the heavenly universe  – no greater a fishing friend to so many of us.

I miss his enthusiasm for this life, stories,  his kindness and his genuine extension of friendship.

tn

 

 

 

UNREAL….. Get up at 6am… check radar..

thought i could do it… GOD SENT me a message….one hour later… it is summer again… all I can say is it was ELECTRIC !!!! – Tony Stetzko

It’s funny how connected things are. There are forces we cannot even understand going on at any given moment pushing you along a path that did not make much sense at first. One day it all does and you welcome the arrival of such knowledge.

Life and the journey.

I did not pick surf fishing, it picked me. I was getting pretty good fly-fishing sweet water and thought I could transition that to salt. But no. And it was not for lack of wanting to try. So I’ll take you back to why.   I was late to FB .. reluctantly I joined. Lucky for me I happen to know a couple of people who sent a friend request and I welcomed them from a past fishing message board. And  (Keith and Amy) being the wonderful people they are recommended a bunch of  their friends also. So there I was, new friends. All walks of life friends, and from all over. I did not know most of them. But it was important to me to make my experience on FB a good one so I kept the door to friendship open ever so slightly.

At first I did not talk much about fishing (shocking I know), had some real heavy stuff to get through. But I kept producing  art and taking pictures. On one occasion I posted up a sketch which would mark the beginning of one of the very best friendships with  man I would ever come to know. He commented on the sketch and we talked a lot about art – commercial art, photography, etc… and NJ

 

 

Fast forward and here I am sometime later working on this basic how to for beginners like myself in surf fishing. Reflecting on how I got here.  And it was his push… to get my hands on a surf rod.  Tony Stetzko – a man bigger than life itself. I was already going to the beach everyday exploring every inch of the ocean side, the back, and the bay.  I was taking it all in and slowly letting it heal me. So with his encouragement I gave it a try. With a heavy bait rod and reel in hand off I went. From the first cast I knew this was it.  One on one… I walked the sand and with each step and cast I accepted everything the universe gave me. I did it wrong. Wrong set-up. no belt, no surf bag, little gear, no idea. It rained, the wind was relentless, the sun sometimes painful, I tripped and fell on slipper rocks, walked through mud and sand fleas. Behind the sunglasses I shed a few tears, some-days a lot. But I let go and I forgave…. myself. I also learned to stop giving so much power to fear. The kind of fear that someone else hands you. I let go of so much at that water. And in turn started to believe in myself again,  it’s healed me… that and those striped bass and their journey.

And so my friend and I talked about everything. Sometimes everyday.  We talked about the good and bad,  but a lot about that good feeling…. of being on the beach alone and seeing the sun come up on the water, stars, sunsets, surf, swell, tides…. dolphins in the surf, horseshoe crabs, blue crabs, porgy, blue fish, striped bass. He said he caught a few. How humble right.. because he is a record holder.  He made written stories come alive, gave people enormous credit for just being kind to him, gave life to the crazy forces that align on the beach at night,  there was jaws always in the surf and seals received a whole new zip code.

Tony made people feel special – I am not in one bit unique, there are so many, many friends of his in this world who shared the same kind of friendship with him. And so the talks went on.. and it was never about fishing technique except “keep moving”. It was always conversations about life, families, friends and the way people treat each other.  A real honest to goodness friend who got this passion I have for seeing the good in everything and fishing. No judgement, just genuine and encouraging.

So I was right there in life accepting this friendship. One for years prior I would not have felt worthy to accept from anyone.

When Tony fell sick in November in my heart and I think everyone else too thought, he would get better.  The severity was never as real as in the last couple weeks of just how hard the battle he was still fighting was going on. In light of it he had the capacity within himself to want to let go on his terms. For that we can all be grateful. But the loss is a hard one among all of us he has touched because he sincerely is a good soul.  And what more really is there to life than to live in such light and love and share that with so many people.

What a beautiful legacy.

tony st

(Photo credit – Tony Stetsko in a personal message 2013)

 

I am grateful to have known him.   I sincerely appreciate his good friend Danya’s offer taking the task of being my first call when I get lucky enough to get my first striper from the surf. Although I know Tony will be watching.

This past late spring start and summer went along. It was a slow start, lots of mistakes. But I started paying attention and asking questions. Little by little gaining some confidence to even ask. People like Allen W, John Beers, Keith,  Chris Gately, Nick Luna, Steve Adams, Fran all started saying try this and do that and I was starting to get it. Everyday I went, everyday I tried throwing everything. I started getting bluefish. Ummm that was enough to make me lose my mind knowing what was possibly under them. The miles I put on my feet the last year are immeasurable. But my realization of this community of surf fishermen – (fly people too) is overflowing with gratitude. I posted about writing this how to and I had so many great people respond on all different aspects. I am going to share all of them one by one.

As I put the finishing touches and pictures on the first chapter to the next post with the help of John Basile and Lou Caruso (Plugs and Rods – For Beginners) I stopped first to recognize this force that works without us knowing and the connections. Most of all I really just wanted to say thank you to all the people helping me.  You are all a testament of what good and kind people are. And each and every one of you have been wonderful mentors. And if your name is not on list it is coming… these were the people at the get go.. along the way so many more have offered their knowledge.

A great big Thank You to Tony for being my friend and whatever beautiful beach you are fishing right now I hope your soul is at peace. I am going to miss the talks and stories, the posts,  but most of all,  your enthusiasm for life. What a remarkable gift.

 I leave you with the most valuable lesson I have learned from this …. and this comes from inside of me to you : sometimes we hesitate to invite people into our life because we feel like our space isn’t good enough. Things are a little messy,  our place settings don’t match, or our situation isn’t quite what we want it to be. Don’t let that stop you. Invite people in any way and let the friendship take off like a 50lb pound bass hooked up in the suds during a nor’easter.

It’s alright

I might write a lot here.

I just spent the last two weeks sifting through my past. Boxes, art, letters, photo’s, memories.  All these fish I have seen, landed, saw swim away. People who have come into my life how they enrich it, change me, constantly give new perspective.

Some inspire and some  ..so different from me and the way I look at life. Distance.

For some reason this thinking always starts this time of year, maybe it’s the approach of the holidays and the winding down of summer. It just makes me take inventory of what I am doing wrong and what I want to do right. Ultimately I am the one that will do the adjusting and make changes as I see to balance life. What’s the saying – “Know your own happiness.”

Doing all this made me realize how important it is to meet your basic needs.  The ones that fuel you.  The needs you have that complete you as a person.

Thinking about all this I set off on a hike the last 1 1/2 in the pouring rain and have never felt so refreshed. Whenever I have something deep to contemplate it seems like the trails are always there, welcoming me to find myself again. It smelled incredible, it sounded soothing. I took a moment to stop in the middle and close my eyes and remember it. It’s that place by our-self when we must be nothing but completely honest about where we are in life.

My soul is forever restless for nature. Never satisfied to spend too much time indoors, as I feel so connected to the world. Among sand, sea, trees, mountains and streams is the place I call home.  When I am too long without it I feel a sense of loss.  Silence is better than bullshit. It’s a slap in the face and wakes your ass up again. Start living, dreaming, wanting. Feed your core self as you see fit.

For me it’s always been making sure everyone is ok. But what good am I to anyone if I am not obliging myself in the most meaningful things in life that fill us up, sustain us…… make us dream , live, embrace……

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.

-Albert Einstein

* all pic’s property of FWG

Just because there are reasons to be discouraged doesn’t mean you must be discouraged. Choose to live with joy, and with your life you will create plenty of reasons to be joyful.

Whatever your situation may be, you never have to see it as a burden. Decide to see it as an opportunity, and it will be.

If you live with the assumption that you’re stuck where you are, the experience of your life will indeed prove that assumption correct. Yet it is an assumption you never have to make.

Expect, without the slightest doubt, to move confidently forward, and you will. Live with the assumption that there’s a way to get beyond every obstacle, and you will most certainly find your way.

The quality of your life depends on the way you choose, in each and every moment, to see and relate to life. The person you choose to be, the attitude you choose to maintain and the expectations you choose to live with ultimately come from you, not from outside factors.

Choose joy, and meaning and purpose, love, fulfillment, sincerity and truth. Be relentlessly positive, and no matter what else happens, you’ll live a positive life.

— Ralph Marston