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Sunday, 7.25.04: Fishing With Patrick

Patrick and I agree: lots of things in life come through desire and practice. He can juggle. I can make little movies. He is sure fishing falls into this category. I have my doubts.

Yesterday morning we went early to throw in our lines at the Erie Canal. There are plenty of fish of all sorts, but who knows what will be swimming by. Who knows what will be interested in a breakfast worm.

Patrick had gone fishing in our stream the afternoon before. He actually caught several fish, but they were small. I would have considered it a triumph. For him, it was only enough to fire up his imagination. The canal was going to fantasy fishbe where the Big One was caught.

It didn't quite work out that way. The fish of our fantasies did not jump onto our hooks. We fished by a landing, then drove over to one of the locks. We finally had to stop when his line got hopelessly entangled under the reel -- major surgery called for. But we continued to scout locations.

In the late morning we went up to the bay to reserve kayaks for a Monday morning adventure. Next to the kayak place, there is a bait and tackle shop. Patrick picked out a new rod and reel for himself. It was a little heftier than the average beginner ultralite, but he liked the feel of it -- here was a rod for catching important fish.

He got it all set up and disappeared back down to the stream. When he reappeared a couple hours later, he was disappointed. Yes, he caught fish, but the bigger fish pole had not attracted bigger fish.

So here is where fishing is trickier than juggling. So much of it is out of your control. Practice helps, but if the fish aren't biting (because it's high noon) or if there simply are no big fish where you are fishing, all that ambition is frustrated. So a new kind of learning has to come into play -- learning to operate within an uncontrollable world.

Maybe this is why fishing has such strong symbolic meaning for me -- it is not about your own inner improvability, but about a more elusive heart's desire, always just beyond your reach, uncontrollable.

Today we will try again.


The shoot on Friday went amazingly well. The actors knew 99% of their lines and had their characters down pat. As predicted, the lighting was a challenge, but we more or less figured out how to do indirect lighting, which involved Patrick reflecting the light off a piece of white foamcore into the actors' faces. We had time to watch two of the three scenes before the actors left, to make sure the shoot was good. We only had to do one take over -- I hadn't noticed the top of Maria's head in the bottom of the frame.

It was a great adventure for us all, but by 4 o'clock we were fried.



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