A Different Message
1 – ONE LITTLE PROBLEM – Cobblestone Investment Trust, Chicago, Illinois, October 1993
“Bobby, I’m prepared to offer you the position of Director of Real Estate Investments, but there’s one little problem.” He leans forward, elbows on a Herman Miller executive desk, dips his head, and looks at me over the top of his reading glasses.
Chronic Acts of Friendship
Dad would talk to anyone, even Kenny Rogers. No shit, Kenny Rogers. I was quite embarrassed actually. Not about meeting Kenny Rogers, but because of Dad’s chronic acts of friendship. He’d walk up to a stranger on the street with a familiar gambit, “Hi, I’m Wes Wilberg. What’s your name?”
Return of the Sun
An endless, temperate, late spring day lay before us when Dad and I stood waist deep in the cold green water of Crystal Lake. We were fishing for pan fish.
“I got another one,” Dad shouted. His fly rod arched, pointing toward the hooked sunfish that swam circles beneath the water’s glass-like surface. We had fished for a couple of hours. Dad’s creel, a fabric pouch he strapped to his waist just above water line, bulged with the day’s catch.
Catch and Release
I fish for trout and pan fish. My gear includes a lightweight fly rod, artificial flies for bait, and fish line that breaks with a tug from a fish larger than two pounds. I want to give my fish a fighting chance. So, when I hooked a musky that was significantly larger and heavier than a pan fish, my fly rod pointed in the direction of his retreat. Like an alligator, he slid past me. His green back glowed in the afternoon sun. My fish line broke when he plunged into deeper water.
“Oh, no, I lost him!” I shouted into the silence.
“Heck you did. You didn’t loose him. You never had him,” Dad’s reply echoed back from a memory of another time.
Dad was right. We can’t loose something we never possessed. My real loss was the hand tied, artificial fly that I fixed to my line ten minutes earlier and lost with the musky.
My piano teacher said, “Music communicates in many ways. What if you composed a melody where your music goes down the scale from higher to lower notes? In most of your songs, melodies ascend.”
How could I do this? That evening I struggled to compose a descending melody. Without a point of reference, or awareness of an example, it’s difficult to create new music.
This morning I heard a descending melody on the radio. I never heard the descending melody in the song until my piano teacher asked her question. When we pause and pay attention to what we experience, we raise our awareness in the present moment. If we increase awareness in one part of life, we elevate attention in other parts as well.
About the Author
I write personal essays, creative non-fiction, flash fiction, and self-development articles from my home in Madison, Wisconsin.