Dateline: Midnight, LaGrange, Georgia
By Don Barone
To the moth, light, is perfect.
What brings the moth to your back porch light, I believe, is the search for perfection.
I'm sure the scientists know the biological reason, blah, blah, blah, but for the moth, perfection, lies just beyond the window screen.
Life is our window screen, the filter that stands between us, and perfection. But, as so the moths, sometimes there is a hole in the screen, and perfection comes to us, as it does the moth who swoops and dives to touch the light.
I believe the pursuit of all sports, is for that one moment in time, when we find the hole in the screen, and flow to the perfection. When we dance in the light, and everything works.
You feel it; like the particles of matter that we are, mixing with the particles of all the matter that are around us.
The seams of the baseball are all you see as it leaves the Pitcher's hand. The noise of the stadium disappears and all you hear is the football cutting through the air, hear only your feet on the turf.
You see underwater, while standing on the deck of your boat. Knowing, instead of thinking, where to throw to, BEING the line as it floats in the air, feeling the hit before it comes.
I know why you fish.
I know why you search.
As does the moth, for the hole in the screen.
You search for that magic moment, when you go underwater, while standing dry on the deck of your boat.
And you dance around the light, called perfection.
"…comes as sweet and clear…"
This story is not even close to the story I told Glenn and Keri I would be sending in. I got an email from Glenn about five pm Friday night asking if I would be sending in a story for this week. No boss pressure stuff, just another boss wondering what the hell it was I was up to.
When you pay me you are allowed to wonder about those kinds of things but cash does not necessarily bring answers, because most times I have no idea of what it is I'm up to.
So I send an email back to Glenn saying to the effect, “Yep, I will be sending it in tomorrow,” even though I had no idea what it was that I would be sending his way.
I had some ideas but not a word on paper. Vague works well then. So under the pressure of deadline, I went out to dinner with friends Jodi (the Big Green Egg Marketing Queen, and her husband, Charles (the banker who just wants to retire and fish.) We ate, drank some Margaritas, tall on the rocks, no salt, and yelled at each other across the booth as the band played.
The food was good, the Margarita was more water than 'rita, and the band played so loudly you couldn't hear what the song was.
We went outside.
I love downtown LaGrange, Georgia… a town that somehow doesn't charge the people who live in it ANY Property Tax, and the property I've seen around the historic downtown and LaGrange College is some pretty cool looking no taxed property.
Downtown, they have a street block roped off for the First Friday Street Party and a great local band (The Corbette Jackson Band) is playing. They rock, good stuff dudes! As I'm leaning against a garbage can listening, Elite anglers Timmy Horton and Paul Elias walk by, and stop to talk.
After a bit we walked over to their truck, parked in the downtown square area, and just started talking.
We talked until midnight.
It was one of the most interesting talks I have ever had with anyone in the Elites, and it was lead by Timmy Horton.
"…as moonlight through the pines…"
Under the sweet, beautiful Georgia night, I leaned up against a wrought iron bench and watched the water light up the town square fountain as moths danced in the floodlights.
In front of me standing in the street next to his truck was Timmy. To my right leaning up against the truck was Paul, to my left was David Walker's dad, leaning next to me was a friend of Timmy's, a tall gentle speaking man who's name I never caught. I learned later that he was Ben Parker’s father.
We talked of a bunch of things, the practical, the impractical, the philosophical, and frankly not knowing Timmy very well, I was surprised when he started talking philosophically.
I quickly went from being surprised, to being impressed.
"db, there is an ebb and flow in tournament fishing. It's like a hole. Sometimes the hole is tiny, and things don't work out well, but sometimes this hole grows, and suddenly everything works."
And Paul is leaning up against the truck and shaking his head yep as Timmy continues, "It's like when it happens EVERYTHING works, everything you do, was meant to be done."
So I ask Timmy "what do you like doing better, FINDING the fish, or CATCHING the fish," and almost before I finished the sentence every guy there said, "FINDING."
I asked then, "What is it that you chase, the trophy, or this thing you describe as a hole opening up and everything lining up perfectly."
"Well you know, the trophy of course."
The politically correct answer.
"But you know…"
And Timmy just shook his head yes, and broke into a huge smile.
The real answer.
Whatever it is that you love to do, you know that sometimes, you get a gift; the gift being a feeling you have inside that something special just happened here.
Every great, Hall of Fame athlete that I have ever talked to has spoken of that moment to me. Spoken in almost spiritual terms. Spoken as if in church.
If it has happened to you, you know what I'm talking about.
If it hasn't happened to you, I wish for it to happen soon.
I believe the moment to be, when the universe tells you, THIS, what you are doing right at this moment, is what you were put here to do.
It's the message of how good life could be, if life was nothing more than a continual series of those moments.
If you held Perfect, this is what it feels like.
Here is where I think we get Perfect wrong. We seek it. We, like the moth, chase Perfect.
But I think it is Perfect that seeks us. Perfect is all around us if we allow it to happen. Searching for it, instead of allowing for it, is the screen we have placed between us, and perfection.
Last night, in the town center of LaGrange, Georgia, Perfect came to us.
I'm betting, and I haven't asked them, that the four guys who were out there with me, would echo that comment.
Something directed the events of the day and night that put us all there, at that time, and allowed all of us, to see under the water while standing on the deck of the boat.
When I came back to the hotel, there was this huge green moth grasping the screen of a second floor lit window. I Googled huge green Georgia moth and the picture of a Luna Moth came up. It looked like that to me.
Perfect. An inspiring talk under the Georgia moon, capped off by a Luna Moth chasing perfection, so when I got into my hotel room I texted this exact message to Timmy Horton:
"Thanks for taking the time to talk. writing a story now about it… why the moth is drawn to the light… I think because it views the light as perfect as you do when the view of it all opens up for you."
And this is what Timmy Horton texted back:
"A moth sat on our wall unmoved here for two days. As I went to bed last night it began flying around. I thought why now? TH"
Why now? Because it knows, Perfection, this way comes.
"…the road leads back to you…"
Georgia On My Mind