Friday, May 12, 2006

Compliments and Blessings

I recently got a very nice compliment from Joe Ahmad @ , which you can find as a comment on my 2006 Trout Opener blog. He also relates that I'm lucky to have had the chance to spend so much time, recently, fishing with "papa." It's not as though we spent all our time catching fish! On the contrary, as the picture above shows, the fellow under the hat, and amid the jetsam of a lunch stop, is the old man catching a much needed forty winks instead... But Joe's comments started me on a meditation over the events of the last five or six month of my own life, and on the tremendous changes that have occurred which have brought some affirming and sometimes earth-shattering realisations.

On December 28th, at roughly 11am, I was sitting at my desk. I wasn't really working, but talking to Mike, when my second line started to flash. The voice that came over the line was my wife's; "my water just broke!" By 11:30pm that evening, Isaac & Samuel were born.

Never in my most delerious moments had the thought ever attempted to cross my mind, that it would be possible for me to feel that Ferraris going 0 to 60 in 6 seconds (or whatever) would seem unimpressive. Dull. Whoop-dee-doo. But I know better, now. Life itself accelerates from 0 to the speed of absolute chaos, in a fraction of the fraction of a split second. As I held my twin boys, fraternal and therefore completely different from one another; proud father, elated and scared as hell, I dimly realised that I had just gone through such an acceleration in Life.

Only the parents of multiples know or can truly understand how the next 3 months would unfold. I can honestly say that I have never before experienced such emotional tumult, nor so much love, nor pride, nor fear, confusion, anger and great, great joy. And yet, in all of this daily chaos and struggle to keep up, there was always a relative involved, staying up late with us or for us, making breakfast, lunch, dinner, cleaning the kitchen, holding one of the babies or bathing him, changing diapers and on and on; and sometimes one of those relatives was my own father.

His caring and his involvement in our new life, as parents, moved me. When you have children of your own, turn back & look at your parents. You see them as children, once, and parents, as they were and are for you, and grandparents now; and you see yourself, as you will also someday be. And if you look down at the little bundle in your arms; suddenly, you no longer merely know that time is a limited commodity for us all, but you can feel it. You can feel it like the icy hand of a creditor on your shoulder, and yet it affirms life and the importance of "now." "Now is the time." "Today is the day" ; every day.

So, I go fishing with my dad, while I still can.

I greet my boys joyfully every morning before I head out to work, and I greet them equally happily when I get back home.

I try as hard as I can to express my appreciation of the incredible heroism of my wife, Laura, and even try to get ahead of her & figure out before hand those little tasks she needs done that will make her life easier.

I hold Samuel til he falls asleep, snap pictures of Laura playing with Isaac and participate, as my father taught me to, in as many aspects of my childrens' lives as I can.

I even promised not to go fishing until next fall. Let's see. Now, that was nice of me, wasn't it!!!


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

2006 Trout Opener

Predictably, this year's opener was rather slow. A warm winter & early thaw contributed to the steelhead beating a hasty retreat to Lake Ontario & Lake Erie. Low and clear waters, bearing only the palest remaining tinge of last week's rains, did not help much either.

However, some stretches of the rivers I fished did make for surprisingly good fishing, providing among others the spawned-out male in the caption, above. I also managed a pair of wild brown trout, which is always a big bonus in southern ontario. Furthermore, I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of a doe and her fawn.

But, best of all on most days I was joined by my father (his first opener), some of my steelheading buddies (Mike & Andrew), my brother in-law, Richard, his brother, John, and his "Schöne," Inge. The highlight of the opening weekend, therefore, was only indirectly related to fishing: a camping style fish-fry by the banks of one of my favourite tributaries. We sat in the shade of newly unfurled leaves, savouring the rare treat of the freshest, butter-fried trout possible. I don't usually like eating fish, but with Mike as the cook, it's a no-miss proposition! He turns it into candy every time.

Close on the list of highlights was the final day of fishing. It was only my father and I, and he managed all the fish! It was a great honour to "teach back" to the man who first instilled the love of angling in me. He's still not used to long steelhead rods & is only starting to get the hang of rigging the float, spacing shot etc... but he catches on quickly. Watching him fight and land a lovely spawned-out hen, pushing 10 lbs, was truly joyous.

So that settles it, again: the sport of angling is not all about catching fish. To be sure, the trout themselves are a precious (in my opinion priceless) resource. But whether one fishes alone or with others, a communion occurs whose blessings and rewards are only partially attributable to the fish or the fishing. There are no words to label it, which is good; only the secure knowledge of time well spent, out of a bank that proves, in the end, far too poor.