“Gone Away—be back sometime”.
Gone fishin’—be back at dark thirty. There’s humour to a phrase like this. I grew up with a dad who has probably received a handful of these fishing-themed, escape-implying trinkets or gifts over the course of time. Yes he was/ is a fisherman (the recreational sort), but the phrase isn’t really about fish, despite this quote being inscribed on various fish t-shirts, fridge magnets, and wall plaques alike.
So what is it about, if not fish? Let’s leave it to Urban Dictionary.
gone fishing ;
1. To checkout from reality. To be unaware of what's going on.
2. To drop the duties of daily life and go do something else, something nice.
1. The thirty minutes before nightfall, or the thirty minutes after night falls. Basically the 1-ish hour time frame as it becomes dark.
Going away and returning at an approximate time. We’re doing just that, but without going through the hassle of the tackle box and poles. We’ve gone fishing. Why? Because it just felt right. Does this mean we’ve succumbed to the currently popular "nomad" stereotype, consumed by the modern epidemic “wanderlust”? #insertaudiblesighandeyerollhere
No, I think it’s safe to say we’re not chasing stars based on romantic ideals. But we have been doing a lot of thinking since we got married almost a couple of years ago. Life has happened, and we have evolved, as humans do and should.
We’ve thought about place, in all meanings of the word. Physical place, cognitive place, emotional place, social place, and spiritual place. Place can mean many things. It seems to me that finding a/your/the place is on a sliding scale of importance for all people.
To some, a place is purely physical. It’s a location, a destination, coordinates, a name of a geographical body on a map in which you were born or have been, a building, a home. But it can be more. The depressed man might say “I’m just not in a good place right now”. You may not be able to quite place your finger on an idea. The youngster may feel out of place at a new school. A philanthropist may be driven by seeking their place on earth. Things can fall into and out of place, and so on and so forth.
Place is a location, a state or condition, a connection, a moment in time, an action, a state of mind, a feeling, a ranking, and a destiny. It’s many things, and with importance and characteristics for each individual as varied as our DNA.
If place is more than just a “place”, it seems only natural that some exploration take (place) over time. (Okay that last one wasn’t even on purpose). But really, as humans we are living things. We’re not rocks. We’re fluid and capable of growth, consumption, creation, production, re-production. To not honour that, just seems sad.
Yes, ignorance can be blissful and I enjoy scarfing down a bowl of popcorn during an Adam Sandler flick in the comfort of my home while making plans for the “weekend” just as much as the next person. However, there’s a strong feeling in me that knows there’s more, and that life is not just being born, going to a building where you read, write, and socialize for 12 years and often beyond, get a job, earn currency, cash in your currency for items and experiences that enable survival and pleasure, encounter a mate, get a dog, buy a house, create a kid, raise that kid, cease going to a job, and continuing to provide for yourself with the currency you’ve sensibly stashed and had stashed for you over the years until you inevitably die.
Apologies, but I just don’t believe that’s it. What we've been calling reality or "real-life", maybe just really isn't it. It can't be.
I’m not generally one for holding on to quick quotes, and in all honesty I have no idea of the source and am lacking the recall of where I’d even seen this at the moment, but I came across this (or something along these lines..) awhile ago and could relate; “To never know yourself is the very definition of hell”.
Rebecca Solnit similarly compares this concept to the premise behind most fairy tales. She writes “Enchantment in these stories is the state of being disguised, displaced in an animal’s body or another’s identity. Disenchantment is the blessing of becoming yourself.”
Being stuck and miserable in a state that isn’t your own and that doesn't feel quite right, until the “spell” is broken and you become You either once again or for the first time; that is the sought-after reward in these stories. There are several ways that the various spells are broken and the protagonist is granted to return to their true state which always has a positive connotation. Usually the spell-breaking is achieved through facing some sort of adversity, completion of a tedious or mountainous task, or surviving a long journey of some kind. Perhaps an innate message we’re all trying to share with ourselves.
So what does this all have to do with going fishing without poles until dark o’clock or whatever? Without saying "In order to find yourself you should travel!", I would say it has a lot more to do with noticing and listening to that smart little voice called intuition. Maybe less of a voice, and more similar to this guy. I guess you could say our inner Likitu said "Hey, seems like you’re starting to catch on to this place thing, stop here, and go a different way, you might be interested in what you find." Being children of the 90’s we trusted him.
By “going fishing”, we are given the time and space to “checkout from reality” and be “unaware of what’s going on”. I think that as humans it’s hard to surrender our grasp (or sometimes death grip) on control, after all we have those big gushy things called brains inside our heads that seem to love “problem solving” and steering the ship 99% of the time. But sometimes it’s nice to take the passenger seat, trust is a good thing.
So here we are, Mike recently leaving his 9-5 to let more energy towards his craft, and me following my ever-changing need to ramble and create. We’ve gone away to Iceland and we’ll be back at— let’s just say dark thirty.