My family & I are big fans of the Animal Planet show River Monsters. I think it’s the right mix of adventure, science, mystery, and sport to hold everyone’s attention. It doesn’t hurt that it’s very easy to knit through which is always a bonus for me. Unsurprisingly, it’s led my son to become extremely interested in fishing. It’s a bit of a challenge for us as parents to nurture this interest as we really haven’t done much fishing on our own. I’ve gone a fair bit with my dad, but generally I’ve always gone for the company and being out on the water more than actually trying to catch anything. We’re discovering there’s definitely a learning curve — as is evidenced by this string of texts between me & my dad this morning…
It’s pretty easy to get fishing gear and throw a couple hooks in the water, but actually catching things is a little more complicated. Apparently keeping your live bait contained is not an issue though, which is great news in my opinion.
Opening day of the fishing season was Saturday, so yesterday evening with Mr Knitting Sarah mostly on the mend we headed out and spent a couple hours on the shores of a local lake.
We didn’t catch anything — by all reports the fish are biting in the mornings, but not so much the evenings and I think the lack of live bait wasn’t helping us (hence the questions about live bait this morning). It still felt good to get out to the water and check and familiarize ourselves with our gear. Personally, I was pretty fascinated just peering into the water — watching minnows and the occasional larger fish swim up to my lure, stare at it, and then swim away. I got to see a catfish kind of rise off the bottom a couple times, too, which was really other-worldly and cool. I think (read: hope) the catching will come for my kids’ sake, but for the first night I feel like I learned some things and enjoyed the wildlife around me including Little Green Herons, Kingfishers, and Pelicans.
My son definitely idolizes the host of River Monsters, Jeremy Wade, quite a bit and I have to admit I think what he’s done is pretty cool. I really like the whole catch and release mentality as well as his very big-picture approach of not just trying to pull fish out of the water, but really striving to understand what’s at play in the whole ecosystem in each location he fishes. He also displays extreme patience, unwavering determination, and just sheer mental stamina that borders ever so closely on obsession to work through the inevitable lulls in action associated with fishing. This has proven exceptionally useful in teaching our children to fish because they’ve heard this TV host talk repeatedly about how much waiting and patience is involved in fishing, but it also got me thinking — fishing isn’t really isn’t very different from knitting.
We stitch and we stitch and we stitch, using the right tools and materials just like Mr Wade preps his rods, reels, tackle, and bait in his quest to land specific fish. We rely on a pattern and experience to guide us to our finished projects just as he uses his experience and fishing guides and local knowledge to catch a fish. And we all have to be comfortable with a healthy dose of repetition and accept that some days we just don’t make tangible forward progress, but that it never means we aren’t gaining important knowledge that will eventually get us to our goal.
The last couple days have been some of those days for me. Through no one’s fault but my own I misread the instructions for the leg of my Paper Moon socks not once, but twice. So today I find myself starting the leg section of these socks for the third time.
They are gorgeous and I’m going to love wearing these socks, but the sheer mental stamina that borders on obsession is definitely coming in handy at this particular moment as every fiber of my being wants these beautiful socks off my needles and on my feet now.
It wasn’t until we were listening to the River Monsters audiobook on the way home from vacation that all this similarities really became apparent to me. As Wade was describing some of his thought processes and also the evolution of his career, I stopped the recording and looked at my husband and said, “Holy crap. I’m a lot like this guy.”
He responded with his very best DUH face, and said, “Yeah. You are pretty much the Jeremy Wade of knitting.”
Near single-minded pursuit of knowledge in your chosen field? Check. The drive to share said knowledge in a holistic way? Check. Near super-human patience? Check. The mental stamina to keep working toward a goal even though it’s very slow-going? Check. Kind of lacking the big-picture of career planning, but turning out ok anyway? Check.
It may take a little time, but just as Jeremy Wade will surely land a river monster in each episode of his show, you can count on the fact that I have what it takes to finish my knitting and spinning projects, even when they test my reserves of patience. Oh, and eventually I’ll probably figure out how to catch fish, too.