Fly fishing often through the pandemic allowed extra time for thought and reflection on what matters in life. 2020 was a mixed bag of emotion. Sadness when several friends died. Sorrow for those who have a hard time coping with isolation. And selfishness as I slipped away to the river instead of sharing in household duties or meeting a deadline at work.Alone on the water, I fished. But more than that, I walked upstream to see what was around the corner. I spent more time flipping rocks and studying bugs. I took photos of birds. I spent time doing things I would have passed up if my time on the river was more limited. Looking back, I was crossing things off my “Someday I’ll Do” list.
As a former fishing and hunting guide, I would offer pieces of sage advice to clients new to the outdoors. A favorite quip was ‘The more you look, the more you see’. During this past year, I observed more and saw more, while my curiosity grew larger than ever before.
Watching trout is as addictive as angling for them.
Recently, curiosity caused me to abandon good citizenry and trespass by walking the railroad tracks. In the past, I have made an effort to be law abiding. However, after hearing about a deep green spring hole at the bottom of some cliffs that had large brown trout in it, I squeezed through the barb wire and stomped past the signs threatening prosecution, to see the trout oasis for myself. The spring was as described with shimmer green water and spooky trout cruising in its depths.
There is no going back now. I’m a law breaker, a bad housekeeper, and uninterested in my day job. The pursuit of good fishing and big adventures, combined with COVID’s lessons of the fragility of life, have permanently altered my behavior and life’s trajectory. I have removed “someday” from my vocabulary and replaced it with “soon”. I encourage you to do the same.