Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Before the Storm

Before it started to rain I thought to myself I should go fishing. I saw the river yesterday and it was green with delight, and I believed that she was hiding secrets from me. I came home and bathed my children and put them to bed. I told my wife that she should get some sleep, go take your bath love and leave all this mess to me. I will clean it up gladly. All the chores and the preparations for steelhead were done quickly - as are all jobs where there is no interference from others, even those you love. A sparkling kitchen, a clean living room and ready gear, tackle and fresh offerings.

I know my duty and how far I can seek my own time, and I know also which days are best. I knew that today wasn't and I also knew that I would go fishing. I woke up with my family and fed them, and I laughed with my sons a while. Two years old and full of curiosity, laughter, applause, light. I finally slipped out the door, with a wink to Laura, dressed for work, going to work, but making a pit stop on the way.

So I went fishing.

When I got there I donned my uniform; trusty old breathables, wading jacket and old woolen gloves. I set my rod up and trudged through the snow. And trudged back to the car. The river mouth was still covered with ice! But this is not where I was yesterday. Back into the car, back higher up the river. Here there is water. Cars are parked everywhere but there are no fishermen in sight. I try a little known stretch where the shy fish slink away and hug a granite wall. I cast and the float slowly cocks.

Sometimes a whole day happens in five minutes. In five minutes you have reached the apex of your day, and you may have accomplished what you had set out to do, though you did not know it at the time.

I mean two things. That the float went down, that this was the only time it would do so from a steelhead. And yet it wasn't a lost day or even a lost few hours. Now, as I write this, and it is night and the rain falls outside, melting walls of snow and flooding the rivers for a time; I am rather content. This is what I could not put a finger on, two weeks ago, one day ago, that was missing. Not the fish alone, but fishing. Fishing by a river pregnant with the threat and promise of Spring. Pulling from her her secrets, and keeping only the memory of having known them if only for a little while.