Tradition suggests that if one blows a dandelion’s seeds with one breath, a wish will be granted.
For the young fellow I observed fishing with his father, his wish to hook a fish – the first fish, the biggest fish, ANY fish – was hopeless at best.
What is it, I wondered, about casting that intrigues a boy to think that more trout – bigger trout – are farther away from the dock than near it?
Looking like a dandelion’s mature seeds – with their greyish white, fluffy pappus’s waiting to be scattered far and wide by the wind – the boy’s line exploded into a mass of tangled four pound test filament when he angled for deeper water.
Before his father could shout “Noooooooo!” the deed was done; the line was cast; and with every single revolution of the spinning reel the nylon monofilament grew into an increasing and impossible snarl.
This fishing expedition had suddenly turned from happiness to horror, to shock and then sadness.
The face of this first-time fisherman turned away from the disaster and looked up at his father with an unmistakable and unspoken single word of appeal.
Meanwhile other boys to the left and right of them on the dock were shouting “Dad! Hurry! Grab the net!” or “Look at what I caught, Dad!”
With the patience and understanding born of knowing and remembering what it was like to be a little boy, the father sat down next to his son, fished a pair of fingernail clippers from the tacklebox, and snipped away at the snarled line.
In short order they rejoined the other dads and their sons: shouting, laughing, net-sharing, picture-taking, and memory-making to last a lifetime.
The activity reminded me of a wish I have for those of us who are fathers and grandfathers.
As our hair turns grey – much like the seeds of a dandelion – I hope our approaching mortality reminds us to snip away the snarls of life as we plant in the minds of our children and grandchildren the seeds of dreams to come true.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.