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Simple and Direct

By Joey Havens

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a person fly fishing in a river with a fly in the foreground

“Make your cast directly overhead,” says our fishing guide after my feeble side-arm cast was blown back in my face with the 25 mph wind. “I know it’s counterintuitive with the wind blowing, but if you cast directly overhead, your cast will go further and straighter in this wind, and the flies will land softer on the water.”

So, there I was, mid-river, grappling with this stubborn bird’s nest of a knot from my side-arm attempt to beat the wind. It is the kind of tangle that only comes with poor fly-casting skills. I glanced over at our guide, hoping he’d take pity on me and offer a hand. But nope, Mr. Expert Fisher just let out a chuckle and said, “As I said, the fisherman’s skill is a big factor in how many fish you can expect to catch in an average day.”

As I am finally getting my bird’s nest untangled, our guide says to cast to the left side of the boat and aim for that seam of water with the bubbles.

“Let’s see if your theory holds up.” I swung my line overhead and cast it out into the rough waters, half-expecting it to come flying back at me. But — wonder of wonders — it landed softly on the water, right where our guide had pointed out. It was a simple, direct approach, like we need in our relationships when the waters get choppy.

And you know what they say about proof and pudding? Well, I got mine in the form of a solid tug on my line. “Fish on!” I shouted with a triumphant grin on my face. As I reeled in my catch, I couldn’t help but think of the direct overhead cast as a metaphor for life.

Perhaps the winds of disagreement, distrust, and hurt feelings shouldn’t be sidestepped. Maybe, just maybe, we need to face them head-on, with directness, vulnerability, and understanding. And just like fishing, the results might surprise us.

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