Standing in a river or watching the water go by, you can see the same picture, but it is one that will never be the same. It is constantly changing, just as your life is – whether you choose to experience or even recognize it.
Fishing with flies often seems a solitary venture, but I think it safe to say you are never quite alone – at least at first – and each experience rarely mirrors the last.
The act of fly-fishing helps you get to the place where you are alone.
I have spent thousands of days on the water over 30-plus years of fly-fishing, and the ones I remember the most come to mind because of the mood I am in at the time I begin my fly-fishing that morning, afternoon or evening.
I remember quick trips to a local stream after a very stress-filled day (I worked in newspapers for 30 years). I can still vividly recall finally standing knee deep in the cold or cool trout stream.
I would place my hand in the water and let the flow begin the process of venting out of me the stress that I brought to the river. This act was later – for me – captured in the film “Gladiator,” when Russell Crowe’s character walks in his dream through the wheat fields that surround his home. His hand gently brushes the tops of the budding wheat, and that for me was the same emotionally as placing my hand in the trout stream before I even made my first cast.
There were countless other days – and many more to come, I hope – when I went to the water free from life’s burdens, and the brightness of my countenance at that time is the light that illuminates those memories today.
Our experiences create our memories, and also clarify and shade our perceptions of reality.
I have not come across another activity in my life that provides the seemingly endless opportunities to create a wonder-filled reality like the activity of fishing with a fly.
I’m grateful, and always hungry for more.
I’ll be in touch, and maybe we will see each other on the water someday.