A dear friend gave me an unexpected and unusual gift. Double pleasure.
A fish. Actually, part of it; the beast, a halibut, was nearly five feet.
A good part of these sovereign fillets became an anthological ceviche. Others wait in my fridge to be pan-seared with butter, garlic, and herbs.
I really appreciated the gesture of my fisherman friend. His gift was very inspiring because it moved me, not only to cook but also to write these lines.
Thinking about fishing made a childhood memory surface in me. The only time in my life that I have caught something other than a cold, a sardine, at the Playa azul pier. I was about eight years old and when I remembered that moment, I felt the same agitation as then.
Suddenly, perhaps to please my inner child, I decided to resume fishing.
They say that it is a very relaxing activity, for those (not me) who are lucky enough to posses the gift of patience. This virtue which paradoxically, according to Confucius, if it is infinite, produces immediate results.
I went down to the river, with an improvised rod, bait, and the feeling of an eight-year-old girl. I sat on a rock to wait for something to bite.
I fished several sticks and some seaweed, but I admit that I felt that calmness, that relaxation, that miraculous presence of the river in its serene and luminous transit.
I remembered the words I heard from a famous children’s neurosurgeon, when asked how he handled stress in his complex profession. I will never forget his answer.
“Three things,” he said, “do your best, speak the truth, and go fishing.”
At that precise moment, I felt that something pulled my string. There was a bit of a struggle, a moment of wonderful agitation, like when I fished that little sardine from my childhood.
There it was playful, silver, alive: my sudden inspiration for these lines.
I ran home to marinate my story with words and simmer it before serving.