Wreckreational Fishing

MULTI-MEDIA sculpture (installation)

Sculptor: Eric J. Frey

 

On approach, view a silhouette of the Cascade Mountains above the stern of a small boat, River Wolf. Two fishing rods, lines taught, telegraph action as the craft motors up river. This river is a popular place for recreation— college students drink beer and jump into the cold water, and anglers pursue the silver and rainbow delights.  Humans in nature—harmonious, beautiful.

The propeller cuts into the world below, pushing the water away, in the wake, glimpse into the world aquatic. At first impression notice the river rocks, glistening with moss, snails and nymphs, or the flash of a steelhead in the shadow of a submerged log. Upon closer inspection, however, begin to see more.  

Observe the River Wolf, a decrepit relic of its former glory, the hull wasted away, the beautiful wooden accents decayed into nothingness. The transom still remains— like a concrete barricade in a war zone. Realize that the mountains with the eclipsed sun, is actually old netting and crab rings, moldering on their drying racks. The fishing poles long abandoned, frozen in time, the gears of their reels fused with corrosion and sediment like the fading memories of the mind— a child fishing with their dad. What once was a meditative and healing pastime for a war veteran recovering from invisible wounds, and a bonding activity for parent and child, is rendered a sinking image in the currents of life.  

Detect evidence on the riverbed of youthful exuberance and recreation. Beer bottles and soda cans rest upon a bed of rocks. Artifacts…a lost shoe, a soccer ball decay among plants and mud. Snorkel and gear lurks just below the surface, owners long forgotten. A jellyfish of plastic shopping bags drapes itself upon a rock. Discover the debris of anglers, lead weights anchor long strands of mono-filament, a bird nest of fishing line cradles lures—spinners, jigs, corkies.  Can you taste the tears of the child who let go of their trout stringer? The bounty of fish drifting through the current away from the child’s trembling hands, crawfish and insects now feast on the delicate flesh.  Look hard and bear witness to signs of hope— life survives despite this wreckreational habitat. This once pristine river, defiled by carelessness, could be purified and restored. Will you intervene?

As you look through this piece; think of what you forgot, think of what you have left behind, both memories and items. What relics have you abandoned for anthropologists and archeologists to ponder over this era? What will you do to conserve the natural areas so that future generations can go fishing with family and friends? Will you provide a sanctuary for college students to enjoy or a leave a cesspool to be avoided? What legacy do you choose to leave for them? It need not be wreckreational fishing.

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