Here I am on Lake Tahoe with my 22 1/2" Mackinaw (sp?) Trout. Yes, I caught this baby the weekend before New Year's. And I was pretty darned proud of myself. Thanks, Cameron, for sending me the pic today.
I also have my cousins to thank for this experience, probably in a way they didn't expect. There's a big part of me that is against hunting and fishing for sport. I just have trouble killing creatures for fun. Now, if the meat is going to be used for food, I think that's another thing. I do believe that's OK and that maybe the purpose of that creature being here is to feed and nourish other creatures, mainly us. So, when on an unforgettable vacation, my cousins invite me to go fishing on Lake Tahoe, the adventurous spirit in me says, "Heck yes, I'll go!" The other part of me says, "I feel bad for the fish." Dilemma. I'm no vegetarian by any means, but I just feel bad hurting another living thing. Maybe that's hypocritical of me to eat meat but not want to hurt animals... I don't know.
As you can see, I went. And I'm SO GLAD I did. It was fun and exciting, and I'll never forget the feeling as I had a bite and reeled it in. I was totally and completely caught up in it. I didn't care that it was cold or that it was early. It was so beautiful out there on the water, watching the silhouettes of the mountains take shape as the sun came up. It was so fun cheering on the person who was reeling in the next fish. I had a blast. We kept Claire's fish (it was delicious) and let all the others go.
Yes, there was a little blood, and I know it can't be the most comfortable feeling being pulled toward a boat by your lips, but it also got me thinking. How many of us go through life unscarred? Inside or out? We all have battle wounds... some of them show and some of them don't. My epiphany moment happened when I watched Steve let his fish go. He held it so gently and talked to it as he put it back in the water. He wished it luck and long life. I swear, I think he would have kissed it if he could! ;) I just watched him. I really saw how much he respects life and the outdoors. He loves nature so much, and he's instilling that love in his kids too. I really stepped into their shoes and saw another view of life and the world. I love it when that happens.
When I read the biography of Teddy Roosevelt (a completely fascinating and unique person, if you haven't ever read or seen anything about him... I read The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt & Theodore Rex, both by Edmund Morris), I remember thinking that I didn't understand how he could want to create National Parks and preserve and cherish nature but also be a big game hunter. I still don't completely understand it, but I'm closer, and it's thanks to Steve, Cameron, and Claire... and this 22 1/2" Mackinaw Trout. We look kind of cute together, don't you think? :)