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Fly Casting For Distance, and God?
By Randy Kadish

  The sun seemed to reflect off water; and I wished I stepped into a winding, country stream. Instead I stepped onto a long, river-shaped lawn. In the middle two people lay on a red, square blanket. On the far end a boy, a girl and a blond-haired woman played soccer. On the near end empty space seemed to beckon me. I answered its call, put my four-piece fly rod together, then screwed on the reel and walked off a hundred feet of line. I picked up the rod and pointed my left foot straight ahead and my right foot outward about thirty degrees. I false cast forty feet of line. Tight loops unrolled, back and forth, back and forth. Pleased, I let the line go then wondered, how far will I cast today? A hundred feet? Or will I barely break ninety?

I retrieved line, then again cast. My line hit the rod tip. I cursed, knowing I accidentally lowered my rod hand at the end of the cast. Why, I wondered, after a year of casting tribulations, after coming to believe I finally fixed my casting defects, does a new one infect me like a virus? Or was this defect here all along? And should I see it as yet another sign to practice and to experiment until I discover another, hidden casting technique?

  "Yes", I reluctantly answered.

I put the rod down and pulled the line straight. The woman kicked the ball over the boy's head. I walked back to the rod and remembered when I first tried to cast fifty feet of line and my loops sometimes widened into circles, and my casts then collapsed. So four times a week, month after month, I experimented with every part of my cast - stance, trajectory, follow-through - but my casts still collapsed, and I was became so frustrated I wanted to give up long-distance casting. But something, perhaps my fear of yet another despair-plated failure, chained me to hour after hour of practice, until finally, almost by accident, I discovered that if I began my cast with my line hand lower than my rod hand, I'd add slack to the line and widen my loops. Thrilled, I cast back and forth and watched my loops tighten and streak like arrows, most of the time.

  "Goal!" The woman yelled out.

  "No, it was outside," the boy argued.

  "Mom, you can't tell from where you were."

I smiled and swore to myself that, one day, I'll discover the ideal, long-distance casting form. I again cast. The line hit the rod. I clenched my teeth and didn't curse. A woman and her a big, black poodle stared at me. What, I wondered, goes through the poodle's mind when she watches me cast? Can she have any idea what I am doing?

I practiced for twenty more minutes. On almost every other cast the line hit the rod. Tired, discouraged, I trudged home. But the next afternoon I marched back to the lawn. On my first cast the line hit the rod. I put the rod down, held my forearm up and pretended to back cast. I inadvertently lowered my rod hand. I pretended to forward cast. Again I lowered my rod hand.

  Why? I wondered.

So again and again I pretended to cast, watching my rod hand and arm. Suddenly I realized when I pulled my elbow back or pushed it forward my rod hand lowered. I picked up my rod and cast. My loops tightened into a sideways V. The line didn't hit the rod tip. I had discovered a new technique! Again I was thankful for a casting defect. I reeled in line, lay down on the lawn and closed my eyes. The warm sun comforted me. I wondered, why is casting ten feet farther so important to me? Are my casting experiments about more than distance?

Yes. They're also about coming to believe in an ideal casting form. But why is that so important? Is it because even though the world is riddled by random turns of history and bloodied by wars, the world is also unified by ideals and by a working order? If so, why are ideals and a working order invisible and so hard to discover? And are they meaningless by themselves? If so, what gives to them meaning? My will to discover and to emulate them?

To discover, to emulate: in the past haven't I instead tried to will things my way? And what was the usual result? Failure. Loneliness. Doubt of God's existence. But now, just as I've learned that when I'm aligned with the ideal casting form I'll cast a hundred feet, I've also learned that if I'm aligned with other ideals, I'll transform myself and rise above my defects and finally become spiritual, even though I'll never see what and where ideals are from. Are my defects and my spirituality therefore linked together? Yes.

I opened my eyes. The sun shined low in the sky. Its orange rays burned my eyes. I looked straight up, into heaven, and smiled. Slowly, the sky's blue darkened; and since I knew stars were up there, I waited for them to peek down. Soon they did. I started counting them, but somewhere I lost track. A dog barked wildly. I sat up. The blond-haired woman carried the black-and-white soccer ball under her arm and followed her children out of the park. I clutched my fly rod and told myself it also was time for me to go home.

By Randy Kadish, USA, © 2004

Randy’s historical novel, The Fly Caster Who Tried To Make Peace With The World, is available on Amazon.



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