Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Coincidentally, about the time these musical medleys emerged I encountered a mortal reconciliation. Seated quietly among the flowing grasses and wildflowers on the banks of the Henry’s Fork waxing in the afterglow of a memorable morning, fully absorbed in the rivers encompassing beauty this disturbing contemplation eroded the tranquil moment; how many more years do I have left to fish these waters? The thought set me upright, fractured any sense of contentment I was experiencing, left me perplexed, distracted and contemplating a timetable of life past and present. I still vividly recall that moment.
Not long after that, the reality of that intrusive thought sat before me; flesh and blood. He was a rather distinguished gentleman with graying hair, full mustache with a shouldered slouch creeping into his once erect posture. There was a hint of brightness to his eyes, but the realization of life’s mortality had eroded some of that. His presence and our ensuing conversation affixed emotions of my own fresh ponderings. As we talked, a mounting sadness permeated the room.
My friend had come to the end of his fly-fishing life, a life once filled with vivid anticipation and adventure on the worlds waterways. In his hands were his tools of the trade; rods, and reels of an era gone by, each with their own narrative, the test of time worn well into each unique piece. A vest tattered lay limp across his nimble legs. With sadness he handed these items over to me to sell, knowing that family nor friends would give them the considerations he felt they deserved. Quietly I watched him leave, those encroaching thoughts resurfacing from that reflective morning.
Much has changed in my life since that moment several years ago bathed in sunshine while contemplating life. Fly-fishing now lends occasions to wander the world’s waterways with a more contemplative outlook, where the catching of fish is no less celebratory, but overall yields to a smaller gesture of fulfilling circumstance. Given the fortunes of my time, each outing bears an enhanced significance, each wandering however brief more poignant, each fish appreciably unique more noteworthy. Similar to the older gentleman who I had shared that introspective moment, there is a growing appreciation for time in general, especially time on the water, and to fish for the simple pleasure and solace it affords the just reward.
Posted by Steve Schmidt