I have never met Lily, but I have spoken with her. I always sensed a naturalness about her. An aura of peace that comes from humility and understanding. I only sensed it, until Mitakuye oyasin,confirmed it!.
Amidst my struggles with personal character flaws, lily once told me of those two words that propelled my thoughts, towards life..., towards living,... and how do so respectfully!. She told me of the prayer, Mitakuye oyasin......that's right, a prayer.........meaning so much....with only two words to remember.
It is the message from the prayer that needs remembering, not the convenience of its short recital. It is with the message that I , and many of us , struggle with. In Lakota Sioux, mitakyasi means all my relations. Fathom that. All, all, of your relations., not just people but all the objects that compose your world...........and mine. This One single word was an anglicized into Mitakuye Oyasin. ..........All my relations.
Lakota see the universe as a living, breathing entity in which we are all connected, not only flesh and blood creatures, but mountains.............and trees................and oceans..........and rivers...add to this .............all that IS!
The more I thought of this, and why lily applied it to a bullheaded Mick like me, was becoming clearer. That this is really a mantra...........a hope of harmony for all of creation to balance and bridge together. I saw that it represented everything I really wanted to say in two simple words. It covered it all. To simply wish peace and good fortune for all things. leaving none out. it crossed all creeds but yet stood alone. It is , or should be, everyone's prayer. I knew, if I practiced it.... If it tried, I would be a better member of it ALL.....Membership assures never being alone! I was moved.
She hoped that my thoughts would preclude my sharp tongue. That my wit be tempered by understanding. That my abruptness be slowed by patience. they are wonderful worldly words of wisdom. One which reminds me of the need to look at all my relations.....and to build new ones. To leave memories with every moment in a day. To be sure to try to balance the passing of myself...... with all that passes with me. I adore the word.... The prayer......the chant...the mantra...........and its insight.
Once I mentioned to lily that I "transplanted some wild sea plants to my yard. She enjoyed the plant talk, having expertise in the area. I mentioned that it bothers me to take wild things, but there were many, so it was ecologically sound. Lily said, .......that a gesture of my gratitude for the relation of the plant , finding it, and re-worlding it to my house ,can be shown by scattering tobacco at the point where the relations occurred. Tobacco is a very very high gesture of generosity for the Lakota.. I am a naturalist.....that grabbed me by both ears.
At 6 am the following morning I walked the mile to where I found the plant and scattered a Winston light 100 over the disturbed soil. I felt...........united...with something. or alot of things....and repeating mitakuye oyasin ..........out loud.....was primal.
It was exasperating to have surging surf on one of the last Oct surfcasting days. I have always been convinced that the big ones come in then .....not cuz the water is oxygenated. but because they know in the rough surf, they can separate them selves from your fishing gear.....with ease!!!!!! After doing this for so many years...I embrace the difficulty, that's why I surf cast!
As soon as I cracked the door , the October roar signified this morning maelstrom from the North Atlantic. The fury ingested me and I fought to balance as I walked down to the edge to test the tides footing. I love this!!!! A few walkers gave me the traditional "good luck"....with their eyes rolling as they said it sarcastically. I ve heard it before. I can hear them wonder the thought, ..."why doesn't he just fish from a boat"?. Its like owning a Harley Davidson....if I have to explain why I like them......you wont understand anyway. Fishing from the shore is ......... ancient fishing !! It releases my un-evolved being. From the first men throwing weighted line with hooks to my van staal......We are not that far apart.
When you fish the surf you are never, ever, more than simply part of it all.........neverrrrr. That fact triggered the Lakota prayer. and mitakuye oyasin spilled from my lips. I respected my relation with the sea and the sand and air and wind and waves and fish and birds ........and all of it. I ran back to my neighbors house to borrow another cigarette! I needed Tobacco.!!!!!!!!!!!
If nothing else. Im sure watching me run as fast as I can in full waders was comedic enough to make the people on the beach chuckle.
Running in waders can be really ugly!
Returning renewed ritual. The undertow yanked at my boots, but I waded far enough out to where my gesture of appreciation for all my relations could be scattered on the foaming breakers. It was then I let the tobacco filter through my fingers.
Late season October striper fishing can be a long wait. The great portion of bass have left for their trip south and the remaining linesiders are big, but infrequent cows. I conversed with all that passed by..........but never put the rod down or let my mind wander far from my real intentions. Stripers this time of year can make are so big that they can turn a socializer into a sobber, with one enormous thrust. My socializing was shallow......my brain focused on fishing.
I love soft bites. Its like drifting eels or "lifting"salmon in the rivers of lake Ontario ....if you feel a tug.........tug!! Many times you swing and miss, but I wasn't waiting long on this nibble. Mere contact flexed my right arm into a solid hookup.
All striped bass stories mention THE RUN..........and this one will be no different.
The big cow peeled of line at breakneck speed. A few times each year, your gear seems small and inadequate with massive stripers. I was confident in my gear, but still winced at the rate of line dispersal. When a fish puts a lot of distance between you.........she has the upper hand... A bow in the line.......the weight of the line..........sinker movement up and down the line...and on and on. Its part of the fight with a big striped bass. If you prevent that run or resist it ever so slightly,I can assure you ,you will be retying your 20 lb test. You almost always fight big stripers, from afar, once they are done with their flight toward freedom. The trick is to not let up with slow steady pressure.....let the lactic acid begin to build up and it will slow the fish....like it was slowing my right arm during this stand off.
My neighbor and my wife were down by the waters edge now as the fight turned in my favor.
I timed her last lunge and rode her in softly on the next wave. What a fish!!!. Over 40 " and a good 30 lbs. I went to carry it all the way back to the point of origin for this battle, but realized the Relationship of it all.......and my assurance of respect for that. I never bothered to weigh her. Instead, just as promised, I rushed her back to the surf. The width of her tail was such that it resisted my grip as I held her and watched her beet red gills pant. Mitakuye oyasin..........and I let her go.
Whenever Mitakuye oyasin, comes into my mind.........it triggers my sense of being that tells me to consider my relationships not only with friends etc but all of the outside world and my impression of it. As a person who tends to cut myself out of social events and live as a loner .......... appreciation for all relations may help me alter that.
Humility awaits you at your next surfcasting adventure be sure to recognize its spiritual presence. Sometimes you bring home more than just fish...............Mitakuye oyasin............Striper Mike
I wonder how she likes the warmer water down south right about now???