Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ducktailed

Let's play a little game of Harper's Index.  You know the feature in every Harper's magazine where statistics are offered in sentences that add up to astonishment.  Ok, here goes:
Number of state dinners since Obama took office---12
Number of press conferences about mass shootings in the same time period...16
You see where this is going.  So many folks reeling from this particularly dark time that sees the intersection of a hugely polarized nation outraged from something as mundane as a Presidential campaign clashing with a rigid Congress, more calls for gun control that would ban people from owning assault weapons, and the encroaching fear of "radical Islamic terrorists."  Trouble is, it's vastly more complicated than this already convoluted mess would indicate.
Perhaps we're dealing with lone wolves, perhaps we're dealing with radicalized jihadists,,maybe there's a bit of self-hatred or repressed sexual identity here too.  The Orlando night club shooting is vastly complicated, but a few things are remarkably clear.  When a person is on a "no fly" list and can't board a jet but can obtain an AR-15, a weapon designed for one purpose only (killing people efficiently) something's got to give.  Here's where it get's interesting.  In all the hue and cry, people are doing more and more "processing" than ever.
So it was that I set out for a day alone to get away from the constant stream of hard- headed nonsense that has bastardized the 2nd Amendment into meaninglessness.  Even though the day was dark and cloudy, one of my favorite spots was still below the snow level and I figured even a little light rain wasn't going to interfere with me scooting around a little alpine lake on my float tube.  Catching and releasing trout wasn't the priority, just being there came first.  Fly fishing is one of those few activities where nothing else matters  while you are doing it.  The sun played peek-a-boo all day.  But the clouds held their moisture as I brought my troubled soul to the mountain to see if I could unbraid my  emotions while thinking about this dismal national state we're enduring.
Even the fish were sullen, but I managed to make contact with a few.  The real highlight of the day, however, came with the presence of a female Mallard duck, who took time from her daily flight pattern to descend on me and ask for a ride.  She literally tried to jump up and sit on my lap at one point.

I dissuaded her from that idea because I wanted to make sure she was free of any opportunity to interact with a hook.  Now, I was out in the middle of the lake.  We're not talking about a duck walking up to me, she was trans-navigating the lake and flying from one end to the other when she made a bee line for me.  I think she wanted company.  I tried to be courteous, but we both got our feathers ruffled when she made that little leap I was forced to deny.  I've been sorting out this little adventure for a few hours now and I've come to the conclusion that it falls into the realm of a Zen coan.  At some point in the future it'll all become clear and I will have learned something.  I wish the same for my friends, family, and nation.

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