Dateline: Cabin 23
It's the river of life.
The current between yesterday, today, tomorrow.
It's what takes us from here to there. From birth to death, the one constant is time.
Tick, tick, tick...
But there is a secret out there, a secret so personal none of us dares talk about it for fear of losing it.
If we mention it, will the universe yank it away? The sacred bond between us and things unknown, forever broken.
For some, there are ripples in the stream of time. Tiny moments in the river of life when time adjusts.
When time slows down.
All around this ripple, time flows normally... but inside, time is different.
It's the moment in time when the Hall-of-Fame hitter can see the stitches on the ball being pitched his way.
It's the moment in time when the whole field of play pauses for everyone except the quarterback about to throw the winning TD.
It's the moment in time when Tiger Woods steps up to sink the winning putt and when he looks up, the cup on the 18th hole is the size of a basketball.
That moment in time is the greatest catch.
It's this ability to catch time that makes a champion.
And when a person can summon it at will, it's genius.
The Feeling of One
The chaos around you is gone.
It's quiet. Peaceful. Outside your ripple in time, the world is streaking by in its normal frenzy.
You notice none of it. Suddenly, as if a railroad track switch was thrown, you and the universe line up.
"The racquetball would come off the wall and just hang there," said Jerry McKinnis, Bass Hall-of-Fame inductee and "damn good racquetball player."
"The court was silent, it was like the other player I was playing against wasn't there, the ball would be just suspended in air waiting for me and every move I made I was one with that ball."
It was during cheesecake dessert with 18 year Elite Pro, and friend, Mike Wurm and his wife Mary Kay, where the real insight into this moment in time came to light.
"It's like suddenly you have hyper-feelings, hyper-sensitivity. Suddenly you are not aware of anything, anything else at all but the matter at hand."
It's at this point that you are doing what you were put on the planet to do.
"I have no conscious feeling for time. I couldn't tell you how long it lasts; in fact, I couldn't even tell you if there was someone else in the back of the boat."
Everything is as it was meant to be.
"It's like I could do no wrong. It's surreal, it gets a little weird here db, but it's like whatever wavelength that fish is on, so am I."
And then it's gone. In fact, only when it ends do you know it just happened.
"If you start to think about what you're doing, it goes away. Most times I only know it happens when I snap out of it."
It's euphoria. It's your own personal eureka moment.
A few days back, I was sitting at a picnic table with Skeet Reese when I asked him if he had ever experienced anything like this.
Skeet: "I have, I know exactly what you mean... it just flows, you're just one with whatever it is."
A few hours ago, I saw him hoist the Bassmaster Classic Trophy above his head as he became, and will forever be, Skeet Reese, Bassmaster World Champion.
And I knew that somewhere in these last three days out there on that river that Skeet had made his greatest catch, when he caught that ripple in the stream of time.
Don Barone is a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Association. Other stories of his can be found on Amazon.com. For comments or story ideas, you can reach db at www.donbaroneoutdoors.com