The cravings have begun. The hunger strikes in a slow draining throb. An emptiness that beacons in the lack of sustenance, growling pains resonate from the inside. My stomach turns and sloshes around searching for any crumbs that might have been lingering in the corners; its urge to consume feels like a fat greedy mouth trying to eats its own tong, slowly devouring itself. My arms grow tired in the constant plow of the wake, my hands shake like an alcoholic separated from his drink, but I’m a man separated from his appetite. Hunger, a beautiful thing, a time when the body manipulates the mind, eat, drink, consume, fill me, make me swell, give me sustenance. The urge becomes too heavy and discipline is loosely enforced, I reach into my deck bag and eat six small chocolate bars and empty a zip lock bag of trail mix down my throat like it was water. All my snacks and mid-morning energy boosts for the next week gone in a matter of seconds but I don’t care. I picture myself with wild ravenous eyes desperate to eat, to kill, to consume. My breath is unsteady as I think about what I can eat next, I’m so hungry I could eat cow shit if I there was a certainty that the cattle had rummaged the corn paddock. But this feeling is familiar, this hunger, it’s just a trick the stomach plays in its role to ensure longevity of life. I need to break the mold of the modern day overdose of salt, sugar, and carbohydrates.
The longer I’m out here, the more my hunger grows, the more my ribs begin to surface, the more my instincts thrive to provide. Only the strong and smart survive in the wild, weak and carelessness leads only to premature celebrations and wasteful energy use. It’s been twenty four days now, not a single bite on the ever so penitently waiting hook and line, however as my need to provide grows more desperate, my efforts become refined from a fishing hobby to a necessity to fill the void. Hooks are staggered further apart, alternative sources of bait are tried, think like a fish, I wouldn’t eat a sparkly piece of rubber but perhaps the saturating fragrance of mozzarella cheese offers just enough curiosity for a nibble. BAM! A snap of the reel cracks the trickling sound of the river, hands grasped tightly around the grip of the rod as my eyes eagerly study the bend trying to predict the size of the first fish to sacrifice itself to my dinner plate. Il admit my enthusiasm wasn’t exactly subdued as for three weeks of patients deserve a slight amount of celebration.
Once as a young boy in a park, I threw a french fry to an eager bird pacing at a safe distance. To my amusement the bird didn’t eat the fry but dropped it in the water where he sat poached on a rock. Predictably a fish, not so cunning, fell for the trap and delivered a plentiful meal for the bird with enough left over to feed his relatives. Clever bird I always thought. A small sacrifice always offers a greater reward. As part of daily refining techniques, I’ve acquired as the Australians call it “an opera house” which is a mesh and steel trap for bottom dwelling creatures. A small sacrifice of salami brings in a plentiful pot full of shrimp, a tempting feed, but the sacrifice continues again using the shrimp to catch the trophy fish, I gut the big fish caught by the shrimp and put it all into the opera house to bring in the delicacy of the river… the fresh water crayfish.
To be strong and clever, its what’s required to survive in the wild.