Bigger Fish

My husband and I owned a simple lake cottage and small fishing boat. We would wet our lines from time to time but were really only fair-weather-fishermen.   For some reason, we thought the best fishing was anywhere other than the shoreline directly in front of our own cottage. Somehow we thought that the farther from  home, the greater the promise of catching fish. We would wave greetings as we met other boaters, going in opposite directions.

I was recently reminded of this when my friend, a wonderful artist and teacher, said she was disappointed that only two people signed up for her painting class in her home town.  This is baffling when every class she taught at a distance during this last year was enthusiastically received and filled to capacity. I can only surmise that she is perhaps “fishing too close to her own shore.” She inadvertently gave credence to the adage “You only become an expert 50 or more miles from home.”

Remember all the other boaters we waved at on our way to that elusive fishing sweet-spot? I am smiling now with the realization that most of them were lake residents from the opposite shore, coming across the lake to fish directly in front of our cottage! They too thought fishing was better away from home.

Ah, human nature!  I doubt that I can change the idea that the biggest fish is better caught far from home, or that an expert comes from more than 50 miles away.  I don’t intend to move, but perhaps I can inject more credence to the next watercolor class I teach if I have students paint people in a boat, fishing at a lake in a different state. Or perhaps have them paint a fish caught in a lake more than 50 miles away.

I had just finished typing this blog when my artist friend called to tell me there was some glitch in student registrations! There were more than enough eager would-be-artists planning to be in her class. So my friend meets weekly with her students  …. a mere 3 minute drive away from home.

And now that I think about it, we had a lake neighbor who owned a flatboat and would row a few yards from shore, drop anchor, and start fishing. I felt sorry for him, thinking he only fished there because he had no boat motor, and had to row his boat.  Even though I could see that he regularly landed enough fish for his dinner, I felt sorry for him because he didn't realize the biggest fish were at the other end of the lake.