Chasing Hatches: Good For The Soul

We’re all chasing something. In fact, the human condition can be fairly described in terms of pursuit. Thomas Jefferson all but did so in the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence.

Most major religious traditions, however, take a dour view of this facet of humanity. “Desire is the root cause of suffering,” said the Buddha. We all know how things worked out for Adam and Eve. And any history book can show you that our hunt for progress has followed some questionable paths.

It’s your classic damned if you do, damned if you don’t, Catch 22. We can’t help it, but it hurts. What to do?

Me… I’ve turned to the bugs.

“The Hatch” is so ephemeral and unpredictable that you can scratch the gotta-have-it itch for a lifetime with little danger of getting your fill, or developing a tolerance. Even when you magically intersect with the right place and right time, you inevitably miss an epic swarm two tributaries over. Who hasn’t had red-letter days on the water discounted by “yeah, but you should have been here last week,” comparisons. Like the horizon, the perfect hatch is always just out of reach, and thus inexhaustible. Pursue away.

Meanwhile, unlike chasing the opposite sex, the American dream or good money with bad, you can take comfort in the knowledge that it’s unlikely anyone else will be hurt. A few lip-sore trout may beg to differ, but that’s ok. Given man’s breathtaking capacity for destruction, I’ll settle for annoyed fish any day.

It’s the camaraderie though that has ultimately convinced me of the soul saving strength of following bugs. We follow those bugs, after all, because other creatures do too. There is a perverse comfort in the shameless orgy at the peak of a hatch. When greed and gluttony are on full display; when crazed decision making verges on the self destructive; when feather, fur and foam imitations are sucked under with abandon, we are no less fallible, but at least we know, in some tangible way, that we’re not alone.

I am human, and I am flawed. There’s no getting passed that. But so long as I keep taking my flaws to the river, there’s hope for improvement.

Isn’t that what we’re all chasing in the first place?

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