Taco ‘Bout It

BREAKING NEWS: Life is Beautiful

By Taco Olmstead

Photo by Roger Gupta

It’s easy to lose our way, to lose sight of how good we have it. When I was a kid, there were three channels to choose from and the news only aired for an hour a day. There were no hand held devices constantly marketing to us, playing off of our fears. Today, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of negatives peddling poison and conspiracies lending more to paranoid anxiety rather than our lucid, logical selves. Our news, whether it is the “mainstream media” or  another source calling itself “alternative”, are all peddling fear. Rather than simply telling us what has happened, there is a constant running editorial establishing a chosen narrative that does little more than tear down our psyche. Once you become aware of this, it becomes easier to stay positive, to see through the smoke and mirrors of the marketing.

Something we all forget is how easy we actually have it. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling and living in the third world. You don’t even have to go that far however to understand how good you have it. On my honeymoon I spent a day with Elise exploring the hills and hollows of the southern West Virginia coal fields so that she could see first hand what widespread poverty looks like. Just a few hours down the road from some of the most wealthy towns in America you can find communities without clean water, no proper sewage or sanitation systems, no jobs, no homes, just a wasteland of forgotten dreams.
A few months later, back at home, I’m sure I was complaining about the lack of take out options in my area. I’m sure at some point, I took a look at my perfectly functioning car and decided it wasn’t good enough for me to be happy. I’ll bet there were dirty dishes and laundry that needed done that also contributed to thoughts beholden to the idea that my life needed more. After all, the television keeps reminding me that I need more, so there must be some truth to be found there.
Just recently, I found myself obligated to be out late and awake early. There was gnashing of teeth and much wringing of my hands over this. I thought about how difficult my life was at times and how many miles I’d driven this summer and how difficult it was to keep a steady schedule in my life. I thought about how I was just so busy and didn’t make enough money despite all of my time and efforts. To make matters worse, a good friend of mine had died a couple days prior and despite attending a celebration of his life, I really just wanted to feel sorry for my self.
Indeed, this is just a glimpse of what I occasionally deal with in my own mind. The funny part about this is what happened in the morning after. That night I left Baltimore around 1 a.m. I got home around 2:40 a.m. I didn’t get to sleep until maybe 3:30 a.m. I had to wake up at 6:30 a.m. and be at the fly shop until 6 p.m. then go home and pack to be at a music festival that night. I would then leave the music festival on Saturday to attend another music function in Washington D.C. Somewhere in all of that mess I had to meet my daughter, get some quality time in with her as well as make arrangements for my son to be brought to the music festival and find some quality time with him as well.
This all ran through my mind over and over again as I drove to the fly shop through a thick dense fog. I arrived at the fly shop, received instructions for a drop point for two fisherman and their kayaks. I quickly loaded up and got on the road. The drop point for their gear was at the mouth of Antietam Creek on the Potomac River. I wandered down to the river where the sun fought with the fog and began to reach through and spread its fingertips across the water and glisten in the silence and solitude of a crisp fall morning. I looked to the water for a sense of turbidity but saw only clarity, but not just in the water but in my soul as well.
The truth of the matter is that I was blessed the night before to be surrounded by friends and family in a musical setting laid down by LITZ to celebrate the life of someone who had loved and was loved by so many, Paul Micah Baranson, or quite simply, Pauly. I may have stayed later than initially planned but inspiration knows no schedule. I then had to wake up and work in a field that I am arguably the most passionate about, fly fishing and spend time in the healing arms of Mother Nature. What a fantastic way to awaken than to the beauty of our natural world greeting you in a post card manner to simply remind me that life is not just good, but it is great and beautiful and magical and I am in the middle of all of the things about this life that I love.
Take the time to recognize what you have. Don’t wait to be reminded, you may miss out on a kiss from the divine. A blessing can happen at any moment, but you need to be in the right frame of mind to recognize its occurrence. Life really is beautiful…