Bob Menzies –
Early one morning in Thailand I trudged down to the beach in order to catch a glimpse of the new day’s dawn. The sun had just broken through the horizon. It painted the sky with a crimson coat, and this vivid hue was mirrored in the waves that lapped at my feet. I was enthralled by the beauty of the ocean and caught up in the moment.
That is when I saw him. He appeared out of the corner of my eye. He too was trudging along the beach. But he was not here to take pictures or enjoy the moment. His net was out and clearly he was here to fish. My focus soon shifted to his art: the silent way he entered the water and sought his prey; the rhythm of his movements as he swung his net; and the methodical way he brought in the catch and prepared for the next cast.
As I admired this man’s skill, I thought of my own fishing experiences. It became clear to me that a great gulf separated our approaches to fishing – a gulf defined by necessity. I suspect that this man fished not simply for fun, but to support his family. This was his vocation, his livelihood, and his life. Although we shared much in common, I fished for fun, for adventure, and for the challenge.
We shared a bond, this man and I. It is a bond defined by the thrill of attempting to overcome the challenge posed by fish and the sea. But a great chasm also divided us. His challenge was far more weighty and serious than mine. His life depended on his ability to face this challenge and to overcome it. I left the beach thankful that mine did not.