Its there, toward the end of the low road that traces the southeastern end of the lake, in the perpetually dank, swampy area near the outlet. Its tiny, hiding in the cottonwoods, more shed than anything else. It's been there forever. Everyone knows about it. Its a piece of local lore. The sign out front reads...

AL'S BAIT AND ADULT VIDEOS

Left unvarnished its a beautiful chicken and egg conundrum. Was it, "Hmmm, besides bait, what else do fishermen really like? I know, adult videos!" Or was it more like, "When I'm not watching adult videos, what else do I really like to do? I know- fish!" Either way, its a fantastically freakish conglomeration of commerce. And a perfect illustration of a truly vexing quandary. Why must simple things become more complicated over time? Its a principle known as creep, wherein one simple thing slowly morphs into a more complex thing, and complex in a way no one ever projected or proposed. And once that "cavity fighting, enamel restoring, improved whitening, for sensitive teeth, freshmint flavored" tooth paste is out of the "60% post consumer recycled material" tube, well, you get what I driving at.

In the military its called mission creep. In electronics, its referred to as feature creep. In the educational field we have responsibility creep. And in our lives is called- I don't know what its called exactly. But we're all subject to its laws. In my Buddhist studies one of the first principles I learned, I mean really learned, was mindfulness. Mindfulness is about simplicity. About putting step one first, and step two second. Mindfulness is about thinking only of the mechanical act of completing step one whilst completing step one. And nothing else. Its about separating ourselves from the daily chaos we seem to so actively embrace. Mindfulness is about being in the moment. And we all know how that can suck.

And its really hard to do everyday.

When I'm riding my bike, I try really hard to be in the moment throughout the ride. Its impossible of course, because at some point the wandering monkey brain inevitably takes over. But its easy to beat it back because cycling is about that one thing and nothing else for two or three hours. It requires mental discipline. And maybe thats the problem with life-creep, or activity-creep, or whatever it is that makes a day so complicated. There are so many demands that fight for preeminence we try to attend to them all at once. We call it "multitasking". And we all, to certain degrees, suck at it.

I'm training myself to slow down, to be a unitasker. I used to listen to music while I wrote. Then I realized once that I was writing song lyrics instead of my thoughts. So now I turn everything off, and work in the quiet. Quiet is nice. But it is scary too. The lack of physical distraction leaves only the internal conversation to knock us off task. And knock it will. But if I write, and do nothing else until I'm done writing, my writing is so much better. When I'm at school, planning for classes, I dislike answering the phone. It puts me off my game. It gives me a string of excuses to not continue. But If I can just sit and plan my day, the planning takes half as long and is twice as good.

P and I eat dinner, in the kitchen, at the table. When we eat we converse, but often about dinner. About the food, about it's taste. The squash is sweet. The brussels sprouts are tender. The salmon skin is really crunchy. It enhances the experience. It makes it meaningful. And memorable.

The punchline? I don't know- "Be in the moment" "Pay attention" No- that's not it...

I think its simply "When its time for fishing; fish..."

Mark

Addendum: I'm in the process of moving the blog to a new server. The new address is http://sett.com/thebodhicyclist For the next month or so I'll keep the blog active here but you will want to reestablish any feeds through the sett server. 

1 Comment