My happy place?
It’s on a dock, any dock or pier with water nearby. I can spend hours and hours on a dock and it’s as if time stand still. I suppose it all goes back to my early experiences as a ten-year-old boy on Uncle’s Sidney’s pier on Bogue Sound, across from Atlantic Beach.
Uncle Sidney had built the pier by himself, no easy task for a man with a wooden leg. He had lost his leg while trying to catch a ride on a moving train. After the accident, Uncle Sidney went to live with Aunt Ann at Morehead City and spent his final years.
Uncle Sidney’s pier wasn’t long, maybe a hundred feet, but I could stand at the end and catch spot and hogfish, pinfish and sea bass to my heart’s content. Crabs, as well
For me, being alone on a pier is almost a spiritual experience. It’s a peaceful place with only the sound of gulls in the air and the gentle slapping of water at the base. You toss a bait in the water and wait. There’s nothing else you can do but wait, and think about things.
Will a fish bite? How big will he be? If I catch a few, will I throw them back or clean them for supper?
I think about the sheer beauty of nature – the shimmering green water and subtle streaks in a grey blue sky and wonder what it might have been like a thousand years ago.
Anxiety is overcome with serenity. Nervousness is washed away like a piece of driftwood. Relaxation replaces stress.
Suddenly, the wind twitches the line as if a fish is biting, but it’s just the wind, sometimes soft and gentle and sometimes strong and bold. The wind is its own master, as is the force of the sea.
Occasionally a fish will bite, breaking the spell of quiet contentment, but then it’s back to the stillness of the hour.
There are few places that one can go and find this kind of peace, where you can look deep inside yourself and figure things out – where you can wonder what the tides of life will bring next.
Give me a rod and a reel and a pier on a piece of water and I am in my happy place, whether a fish bites or not.