We Never Understand Until We Do

On April 30, 2011, my life changed forever when my hero, fishing partner, and dad passed.  At that point, I was sent down a path of darkness that couldn’t be shaken by the power of myself. In the darkness, I thought that I had found the answer in drugs. In active addiction, my life was filled with self-loathing and pain. My hero never saw me graduate from college or begin my career as a social worker. He didn’t see me follow his teachings of being a “giver” even in my darkest days. On February 2, 2014, I happened upon an opportunity, and it was a break that I couldn’t pass. I found myself at a treatment center in Indianapolis, and, as I seized the moments of grace, I began to feel the light of life. I could hear my hero say, “until you find a new way to live, you will never have anything”.   Through the light, I began to find a new way to live. In this new way to live, miracles began to happen, and I gained many gifts. Not only did I gain material things, but I found miracles like honesty, love, and self-respect. Most importantly, I gained the ability to be myself through time. Through the gifts of time, healing, and being myself, I was able to revisit hobbies that I once shared with my father. I went fishing again, after nearly a decade of avoidance due to my feelings.

Through fishing, and on the search for the ever-elusive bass, I discovered the resource that is the White River. I also fell in love with the great and mighty smallmouth bass. In my time fishing, I have met extraordinary people who have guided me through understanding. Lessons like “never give up”, “keep working”, “see God in everything”, and “respect the resources”.  Watering seeds most never knew were planted.

The White River isn’t always fruitful as it pertains to catching smallmouth, but through the teachings of my father, and time, I have found the relevance. On the day these pictures were captured, I had to rely on these teachings alongside my fresh understanding. It was cold, and the river was being stingy since the water was well below 40 degrees. 

However, the signs that were sent to remind me that my dad was near were crystal clear. Through seeing eagles as we entered their dining rooms. The beautiful sun dipping in and out of the trees. Even the snow simply covering the ground. As I begin to gain a deeper understanding, God becomes evident. With this evidence I can tell myself “keep casting” and “keep enjoying the gifts of life and this resource”! Under the direction of Two Forks Guide Service, we kept casting and kept enjoying the beauty of the river.  We were chatting about a prior trip in which we were able to catch a better than normal fish, when I casted into the living room of a 19” smallmouth, and he couldn’t deny the offering. Reinforcing that there is a payoff for continuing to cast despite the conditions and there is a drive inside to keep going despite the odds that I face on a regular basis. 

Written By: Bobby Schmidt, Photos: Daniel Woody Photography