Fed Nation Mosaic

“Big ships out in the night…”

Dateline:  Banks of the Mystic River

Before me,

is the canvas.

The story.

Your story.

I don’t get to choose the canvas, I do though get to choose,

the brushstrokes.

And while I can’t explain, the canvas, I can explain, the brushstrokes.

Can explain, the palate I will draw from.

Can explain, how it is I see what is in front of me.

What it is I see.

As I look at the blank canvas that will be a story.

What it is that I see, is the parts,

not the sum.

Micro, not macro.

What I see, is our sameness, not our differences.  It is what I choose to see, what I choose to put on my canvas.

Some, choose, what separates us, from each other.

But if you look through my lens, you can’t help but see, our sameness.

I think that we tend to forget that, how much we are alike, as opposed to how much, we are not.


Here is what I am presented with…the canvas in front of me…the Cabela's Bassmaster Federation Nation Eastern Division Championship.

And here is how I see it, I want you to see it as I do, so you understand me, so I can better understand you.

Didn’t choose the canvas.

Did choose the brushstrokes.

Of what I will paint,

a Mosaic.

Because life is a mosaic, of all of us in it.

And we are all a mosaic, of each other.

On my canvas.

“…and we're floating across the waves…”

And there he stood, straight, upright, arms to his side, eyes locked forward.

Respectful, of the song…the other country’s song.

The song of “O Canada,” the Canadian national anthem, the song of America, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

This is the canvas in front of me, the wide shot of the Spain Federation Nation President, Haaby standing on stage during the playing of the first two national anthems…but here today…we played three.

The songs of three countries.

We also played, “La Marcha Real,” the national anthem of Spain.

And this is what happened with Haaby.

As his song played, his eyes closed, and silently he mouthed the words.

And slowly, his right hand, rested over his heart.

As did the right hands, of all those around me, when their song played.

When the wind caught the flap of their flag,

and their life unfurled.

And the mosaic under my paintbrush, came to life.

“…sailing for some other shore…”

More photos: National Anthem gallery

I see me in them.

I see you in them.

I see all of us in them.

Them, are us.

At home you see their fish, you hear their name…15 seconds, if that, of fame.

My canvas, backstage in the holding area, a line of guys with bags of fish.


A mystery to many of you who don’t fish…anglers…but, take the angler label off. 

Look at their faces.

They are your neighbors. The dude who fixes your car, teaches your children, sells you stuff, heals you when you are sick, protects you from the bad guys, calms me down on the phone when my computer is nothing but a blue screen.

Look into their eyes.

Look into their smiles.

When I do that, I see what the canvas of this planet is, what it wants to show us.

Not that we are different.

But that we are the same.

In our eyes.

In our smiles.

In the mosaic, you can see all around us.

“…where we can be what we wanna be…”

More photos: Angler Faces gallery


of all the species on this planet, have we been given the gift,

of wonder.

Think about that.

Does a bird, wonder about the next branch.

Does a fish, think about yesterday, does a bass plan for tomorrow.

I hope they do.

I hope they too have been given the gift we all have.

I hope every creature we share this planet with, every living breathing species, knows wonder.


Think about that.

How lonely it would be, if only we knew, that tomorrow comes. 

That there is something called, the future.

And how horrible it would be, if only we, we alone on this planet, control it.

The future.

And how sad it would be,

If we did not want to bring a future, to all the species we share this rock in space with.

If the bird, knows there is a future.

If the fish, knows there is a future.

Would they take us with them, to it.

What if we are the only species that knows of this concept called future, because if all the other species knew, of future, we might not have one.

A future.

Would the duck choose us to bring to tomorrow.

Think about that.

If we weren’t the only one to choose, would we be doing what it is we do.

If the animals could choose.

Our tomorrows.


I think it is our children, they would choose to take with them to the future.

The youngest, of our species, for what it is they will do to help the planet.

Not the old, or the middle age, because of what we have already done.

‘…oh this must be what paradise is like…”

Paint for me, paradise.

The universe has given us the canvas,

but left us free to pick the paintbrush.

Here, on the banks of the Mystic River, in a suburb of Boston called Medford, B.A.S.S. has brought together a mosaic.

Seven states.

Three countries.

More photos: Our Children gallery

That’s the broader view.

But on the canvas they have given me, with the paintbrushes of my choice, you will find the mosaic of life, as I see it.




You will find that what I see, is how we are all the same.

Our sameness.

Not our differences.

And how it took being around those who love the outside, for me to see what is inside all of us.

All about wonder.

It is.

I wonder, what it is that I will leave my children.

A 401K.

A 5-bedroom house.

A filled safe-deposit box in a land free of taxes.

What will be the canvas I leave behind.

That we all leave behind.

It will be the canvas, I found here, on the Mystic shores.

A paintbrush in the form of a duck.

As everyone gathered around the flames of the BBQ, I took a walk down a paved path between the Yacht Club, and the waters of the Mystic.

A lady jogged by.

A man was getting his boat ready for a nighttime cruise.

A buoy proclaimed, “No Wake,” but I thought to myself, it is in fact the wakes we make…that make us.

A few miles from that very buoy, a wake started that went on to become, America.

A wake we call, The American Revolution.

But it was between the Yachts and the flames of the BBQ, where the universe sent me the paintbrush for this story.

By way of a duck.

A duck walking down the paved path.

An urban duck, wary, but unafraid of all the non-ducks around him.

The canvas I was given was a duck with the remnants of a plastic bag wrapped around one wing.

And as the duck squawked at me as it walked by, after it passed, I stuck my foot out and stepped on the plastic bag that trailed it.

And the duck fell.

Fell to one side.

Wiggled around like I had somehow killed the thing.

The jogger stopped jogging.

A man on a bench, stood up.

They looked not at the duck, but at the duck killer…me.

Until the duck got up and walked away.

Without the plastic bag.

Which remained under my foot.

We are given the canvas, and sometimes the paintbrush, but it is up to us, to paint life.

I hope that when the urban duck righted itself and took a second to look up at me…that what it saw was, tomorrow.

That what it felt, was wonder.

That what it knew though, was that it had a future.

I believe, that in the end, we will be judged by the canvas we leave behind.

It is not our canvas to choose.

But it is our brushstrokes that will decide our fate.

My hope, is that when all the canvases are put together, and when you stand back and look at it, you will see the face in the mosaic.

And it will be your face.

And it will be my face.

And it will be the faces of our children.

And it will be the faces of your neighbors.

And it will be the faces of the fish.

And the ducks.

And the bird on the next branch.

It will be the face, of Mother Earth.

The mosaic provided by the paintbrush,

of the Universe.

“…this must be, this must be, what it's all about.”

“So Quiet In Here”

Van Morrison

See you next week at the All-Star event,


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