Florida Keys. Photo: Flip McCririck




Old soul, young body—beautiful curse. The squalor of migrating birds flying above migrating fish. I have stayed in the same place my whole life and not blinked, but now on this boat my face looks frozen to the passerby, like epiphany had struck me dead in the warm sunshine. But I am not frozen, I am not dead. I am more alive than I have ever been, floating in an unplanned direction in the face of a school of tarpon that are, quite simply, calculated to an exact breath. I am out of place, but beautifully so.

To tell you it all goes away when I tarpon fish would be a lie. It all shows up there, but it is in tarpon fishing where I am comfortable with the thoughts farmed from the depths of my brain. My head, the cavernous, empty place where decisions are made and people are forgotten. But not fish, not tarpon; it is where the smells, the sights, the tight line to the locked lips of a fish are born. I heard this doesn’t go away quickly, and it festers over time.

We are all voyeuristic, we are all looking for something to take our mind off the world. But are we looking for ourselves, or for the rest of the world? A mentor once told me the music in life is hidden between the pages of books, the seams of rivers and the current rips in the oceans. The friction, that’s where all the action happens. And what better place than between the lips of a tarpon, this beautiful minnow that captures me. I once met a man from Pennsylvania who told me there were two things in life that he would die for—tarpon and his daughter, in that order.

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