Fishing for contentment

  • by 100 Good Things
  • May 15th, 2015
  • 2015, May

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite scarves in the shop is a Laotian silk piece inspired by fishing nets local fishermen cast over waters to haul in a multitude of fish. In fact the fringe of this scarf is knotted using the same net-weaving technique. The brilliant colors are derived from nature: Black from mud, guava leaves and a wild plant Laotians call kungpa; orange-red from annatto seeds, which is increasingly prized as nature’s alternative to synthetic food coloring.

The sartorial elegance of this fishnet scarf aside, fishing, I discovered, is part and parcel of life in Laos. Subsistence agriculture is very much practiced and locals haul up from any waterbody just enough fish to feed the family. An old friend, M, speaks fondly of a diplomatic career stint in the landlocked country that has shown him the virtues of contentment. “I have fished all over the world but nowhere is as simple and true as Laos,” the avid angler muses. “Fishermen take only what they need to eat each day. The Laotians really believe in the balance of nature. I learn a lot about that out there, in the simple act of fishing.”

Incredibly, M was told catfish as enormous as a Volkswagen can be found in the mighty Mekong River. A neighbor offered to take him to this “Mother of Water” one day, suggesting he pack a heavy casting rod and the biggest lure in his tackle box.

He laughs, “I tied on a huge plug I had used in Mexico fishing for Marlin. As I pulled back and cast out, I noticed my friend was no longer smiling. I didn’t think twice about that. I was already busy. Something big had taken the plug and was rapidly running line off the reel. As I strained over my bending rod, trying to slow the run, my friend brushed against me and I heard a sharp ping. The line went slack. I was shocked. My friend had cut it, I could see the knife in his hand. He turned to me and the big smile was back. ‘Too big to eat, no need to bother. Let’s go home’.”

To purchase this lovely fishing net-inspired silk scarf, visit 100 Good Things store.

 

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