By Julie Kate O’Brien, a Great Lakes Energy Cooperative member
The rivers of Michigan have danced through my soul since an early age. Bank fishing, trolling, and canoeing was where I learned much about family love and respecting the Good Lord’s grace in nature. The joy of big brothers upstream and the upland bird dogs romping and resting on the river’s edge taught the daily practices of contentment, gratitude, faith, and joy, as well as praying and dancing with the Great Spirit.
The AuSable and Manistee Rivers are home. There is nothing better than watching a dog weave the river’s edge, flushing birds for hours, and then inflating our tube, floating back home, and dropping a line. Many lessons of life can be learned by watching anglers, rivers, and dogs, as well as those big brothers upstream. From age 7 to now age 70, big brothers have always been upstream watching over. Life’s successes and failures gain understanding because of family members just being on the river together.
There appear to be three types of anglers on the rivers. The newbies, the locals, and the “don’t get it” crew, and on some rivers, we may fall into each category. The newbies are fun and often kindly referred to as “trunk slammers,” as they return to their vehicles frequently. They often have the newest fishing gear and are still learning about the concept of effortless movement. The locals may live anywhere but have fished the same area for generations. They move gracefully and effortlessly and understand going with the flow and the concept of catch and release on the river, as well as with life’s issues. The “don’t get it” crew is trying so hard that they don’t succeed much. They often share their frustration with others. Their movement reflects impatience. Setting healthy boundaries in life and respecting other people’s differences are two lessons learned on a river. So float, fish, canoe, grow old with your big brothers upstream, or just watch the rivers of Michigan … experience the beauty of any season of life on the river banks and find the peace that nature brings.
Julie is retired from Otsego Memorial Hospital. She enjoys hiking and watching sports on TV (Go Green! Go White!). She loves shooting pool and having grilled ham and cheese at Tony Deckers in Oscoda.