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Life lessons

Sanchez ran off into the darkness, leaving my daughter and I standing there wondering what would happen next. We had met Sanchez two days earlier in town when he had promised to meet us at 5:30 in the morning to go fishing. When we showed up, he had other clients to take out fishing, which seemed rather odd to me. As a matter of fact, he had many clients and he was rounding up fishing guides left and right. He said he would be right back with another guide for us. It became obvious Sanchez was the fishing guide broker and we were never going out with Sanchez.The five minutes turned into 25, and then Sanchez returned with Emilio Vazquez Espino who turned out to be a wonderful fishing guide. He appeared to be well over 65 and I was a little taken back to find out we were the same age. He proved to be completely tireless as he stood barefoot at the back of the boat wrestling with his 75 horsepower Evinrude.Emilio spoke no English, and I speak no Spanish, and yet our communication exceeded most of my past relationships with women involving a series of pantomimes and charades followed by long silences.As we pulled out of the bay and into the open sea, Emilio started pointing off to his left and saying, “ballena, ballena.”Both Megan and I were awestruck to see a whale breeching a hundred yards from our little craft.A little further out we saw a large sea turtle swimming on the surface of the ocean – we passed without disturbing its languid progress. Shortly after passing the turtle, a yellowtail took Megan’s lure and life got very exciting for a awhile.We knew it was a yellowtail because Emilio said it was. He never gave an explanation as to how he knew.It hit the lure without hesitation, and Megan’s pole instantly bent double. Megan slowly reeled in the line, bringing the fish closer to the boat. At some point a little slack developed in the line and then the fish was gone. Emilio just smiled and took it in stride.Just after passing another turtle we got our second strike of the day. The battle with the fish took over 10 minutes and I was very proud when Emilio hoisted a 20-lb. tuna into the boat. After landing the fish, I got a bit heady and briefly thought of attending a bullfight or big game hunting in the fall. Fortunately, those blood sport fantasies never made it to shore.As we were heading back at the end of the day we had our final wildlife sighting – a pod of 20 to 25 dolphins swam around our boat with one of them skimming across the surface, perfectly balanced on his tail. The dolphins were a fitting conclusion to our day.When we got back to the harbor, Emilio cleaned the fish as pelicans crowded in around us to receive the leftovers. The meal of grilled tuna, rice and beans we shared with Emilio was one of the finest we ever had. Other wildlife we saw on our visit to Mexico included a dead tarantula on the beach, two iguanas and two crocodiles hiding in a small estuary.Discovering wildlife or living close to nature with your daughter is something not to be taken for granted in our computerized, so-called technologically advanced society. Even though we live in a mountain town surrounded by wilderness, it’s easy to lose touch with the natural wonders we have access to. Megan and I can spend hours talking about bears, coyotes or elk we see, as well as our wonderment as to how they live in the mountains.A recommended reading for parents is Richard Louv’s book, “Last Child in the Woods.” Mr. Louv details how the absence from the natural world for children correlates with many of the disturbing trends we see today: childhood obesity, attention disorders and depression. He even makes an argument about the necessity for the spiritual side associated with nature, and since I gave up organized Christian-based religions in favor of the great circle of life, as outlined in “The Lion King,” I think Mr. Louv is on to something.As a parent I make mistakes, but I do know that in order for us to find the keys to the kingdom, we need to look for it outside, not inside. Ron is a Father who believes a day of hiking with his daughter is worth all of the summer movie sequels combined. Ron can be reached at ronlrash@aol.com.


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