Thursday, May 24, 2012

Be Here Now

It is my very real pleasure to welcome today's guest blogger, Pamela Donoghue, aka "Fishgirl", from Nova Scotia. Many of us met Pam through our "Picture" classes and as we've come to know her, we've come to love her as well.

Pam is a pharmacist by vocation and a fisherperson, photographer, videographer and philosopher extraordinaire by avocation. Please welcome Pam warmly into our FOL family in what I hope will be the first of many guest posts.

We interrupt this program to talk about fishing. I've been fretting about this post for a while, as I am wont to do, and Dotti said, "Be yourself", and that is sound advice, so here goes.


Why would an inner city girl who, as a teen, thought a day out meant taking a bus to the library, end up deep in the woods, waving a stick in the water and hoping to see a fish? Good question. I'll keep it short.

Six or seven years ago, we went on a long overdue honeymoon (21 years late ... oh, well!). I planned to knit and Fishboy was going to fish. I had zero interest in fishing, not my thing. It was his thing. I sat on a rock, happily knitting tea cosies (I couldn't make this up if I tried) and out of the corner of my eye I see a huge salmon leap out of the river. Salmon jump, sometimes to get up waterfalls, sometimes for reasons no one knows. I was gobsmacked! This was one huge fish. I threw down my knitting, ran over, grabbed the pole and flailed for about half an hour.

When we came back home, I got my salmon license that fall and have been fishing ever since. If I'm not working, I'm fishing. We wade in rivers and fish trout and salmon; our holidays are all fishing related. I have
six rods, I have worn out one pair of waders and my felt-soled boots have been re-felted and will bite the dust at the end of this season. Worst of all, the bugs devour me.

Why do I do it? It's hard to explain but I'll try. When I have a rod in my hand and am casting, nothing else exists. I don't worry about the past; I don't obsess about the future. I just fish. I see everything that is right in front of me. Be here now. It's like that phrase - I get to "be here now". It's so beautiful on the river, I can't do it justice in words. Watch A River Runs Through It, it will help you understand. Bonus: You get to see Brad Pitt casting. I know - bonus.


Two years ago, Fishboy suggested I use his old camera and take pictures of wildflowers (snort) to distract me from the bugs. Wildflowers? Uh, no thanks. I'm the one who shoots deer droppings. Anyway, I signed up for an online course and it was not unlike the day I threw down the knitting. Transformative. Hey - this is what I'm supposed to do! Be here now. Seeing things that I'd walked right by just the week before. Two cameras and many online courses later, well, the rest is history, as they say.

How much do we miss? How much do we miss what really matters, what is right in our faces, for lack of focus? I think about that. For me, fishing and photography bring me to what matters, they ground me. They make the ground beneath me solid and real. They delight me and allow me to play in the way that children play, with focus, with intent, with complete absorption. After time with the fishing rod or the camera, that feeling lingers on and on.

I know you all love photography. How about showing us a shot of another grand passion in your life? Big or small, anything at all. I'd love to see a picture showcasing what thrills you, something you do that makes your shoulders relax and brings that "ahhhhh, this is me" feeling. Post in on the FOL Flickr page. Set aside the sometimes heavy load of life with all its inherent worries and concerns and have some fun.

Thanks so much for having me here today. Many of you have been an integral part of my photographic journey. Thank you for helping me focus day after day.

Thank you, Pam, for visiting us. Come back often. 


Dotti said...

So happy to have you with us today, Pam! And your words of wisdom are so true ... Be here now! We've been talking a lot about this here at FOL, trying to learn this simple lesson that shouldn't be as hard as we make it. After all, "now" is where we are.


Carol said...

Hi Fishie!
So glad to see you here, and this is a great post. I love your story, and I love that you recognize that we are all multifaceted. You are always so good at expressions that make your readers feel what you are talking about - ie "what makes your shoulders relax." Because that's exactly it - the ahh feeling - that's exactly what happens.
I'm working late today, but hope to find time to post tonight.
I always love a visit with you!

Barbara said...

Fun and informative post Pam, you do tell a wonderful FISH TAIL. I always wondered why you called yourself Fishgirl and now I know how that happened. How wonderful that you and your hubby share a passion, that I don't think happens a lot. Thank you for your post, really enjoyed hearing more about you.

Deanna said...

My sweet Pam. I love you and I loved this post. You are a treasure and I am so happy to have found you!!

Cathy H. said...

I love your fish stories, Pam!! Wonderful interview and images to accompany it! Wise words to all of here now! So many days I let the "now" pass me by! When I found photography, I finally knew I had found something that I enjoy and that makes my heart sing!!

terriporter said...

Loved this post! Your writing style is so compelling and as Carol said, you have such a way with words and can really make us feel what you are talking about. I've heard this story but loved reading about it again. I agree with Barbara, it's a rare thing to share a passion with your spouse and I know you treasure that. I can't think of anything that "makes my shoulders relax" the way photography does, so you are lucky that you have two things that do that for you, although I know at times those two things compete a bit! I feel blessed to have you as a friend and I hope to see you here again in the very near future. You have so much to give. Thank you for giving us all the gift of this post today.

Jolanda (Jofabi) said...

Wow! That is a story from the heart Pam! I love how you write about your passions. There is another thing that I love about you: you write so vividly and with so much humor that I can actually see you throwing away the knitting, it flies through the air, and going after the rod! And yes, I remember the deer pooh photo :-D You make me smile!! xo

Linda said...

Good to see you here, Pam! You point out what is so important to remember-to be here, now. To take notice of what is right in front of our faces! It doesn't matter what the vehicle is that drives you to do that! You just need to get in and grab the wheel!
Your pictures are fab! I love the pole with the lovely bokeh!
Thank you for the very important reminder!


heyjudephotography said...

Great post Pam! Even though I knew your story, it was great to read it again. So fun! As Terri mentioned, you are so lucky to have two passions that make you relax and be in the moment. For me, that is definitely photography, and has been most of my life. It really makes me slow down and see the little things, the everyday things, and the special things with a different eye.

Jeanine and Emily said...

I love your writing style. I love how open book you the the heart. You are one special lady!

Anonymous said...

I've been looking forward to your post Pam! You have such a gift with words (and images) and I totally felt like I was there fishing alongside you. Thank you for letting me stop awhile and visit.

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Great shots Pam!
I love how you take us right along with you. Your humor is wonderful.

I had the opportunity to work with the casting director in the making of "A River Runs Through it." Robert Redford directed it (I am sure you know) and everyone was so kind to an outsider like me. I got to see how REAL talented fly fishermen taught everyone (even the behind the scenes guys) how to look like the real thing. I am sure the love of fly fishing rubbed off on many people.

The peace was thick in the air.

thanks for the time you took on our behalf!


Alison Bents said...

Pam! So good to see you here - and I love that even though you don't say it, you totally smash those two passions together and it's freaking gorgeous (not unlike Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through it.. which I watch on repeat. A-freaking-dore it).

AFishGirl said...

How lucky am I! Such warm and loving comments. I'd roll on the grass in bliss if I was a rolling on the grass type person (which I'm not). I'm a "having tea and feeling bone grateful" type of person so Polly put the kettle on. Deep thanks to all of you.

Carol said...

"The peace was thick in the air,". I love that phrase!
What a cool opportunity to be in on a movie shoot. How did that happen?

stephmull said...

How wonderful it is to have you with us today, Pam! A true treat! Your storytelling and photos are beautiful. I know we all wish we could share that cup of tea with you. Thank you for being you!

Cathy said...

Pam, I loved this. There is nothing more beautiful than someone fly fishing. My boys practice in the grass and I never tire of watching them. On a river it seems like magic. I am so happy to have found you and this great group! Your rod picture is beautiful... all that bokeh! I hope you framed it.

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