Monday, May 04, 2009

Opener 2009, Finale: The Gift

At the beginning and end of each trip, before I can even start talking about fishing, there has to be a partner who is willing and able to support my madness. There has to be someone who goes through the duress of life alone for a day, for two days, for three...; so that I can take that first step in the quiet waters, in the early morning, just as the sun breaches the rim of the world, and the birds loudly and musically pronounce the glorious first notes of the springtime.

This kind of love is not easy to come by. It is the kind that enables the one who is infused with it, to persevere through circumstances that are often difficult, sometimes exhausting; not only to allow her partner to experience one of his great joys, but moreover so that others may come to experience it for themselves and, in part, through him. Generosity incarnate is my wife, Laura.

Without her, there are not the fish, the fishing stories, the cigars smoked with friends or alone, the laughs, the beers, the early morning drives, the satisfying half hour at the end of the day when we amicably discuss our conquests, the victories we scored against the fish, the victories they scored against us - verily, if there was no Laura in my life then there would be no Steelhead, nor so many of the joys that attend the fishing of Steelhead.

One could think very wrongly that special needs might not have occurred if in some other dream, one had married another - but some things are fated. And I cannot think of a better fate than to share what Life has brought me with the beautiful person I have had the privilege and pure luck to marry.

Our first kiss was better than a float going down, better than a million floats going down; from our first conversation I knew that I had found the woman for me.

And now, when I come home, and I sit tiredly on the couch after a long day on the river, to have my two smiling, handsome 3 year-old sons sat on my lap, I feel the full blessedness of my life. It could not have happened any other way. I wouldn't want it to.

Thanks, luvy, for putting up with me. Thanks for being here to share it all with me.

Ich liebe dich :).


Saturday, May 02, 2009

Opener 2009, Part 3: Dan the Man

Fishing with my brother is always fun and interesting because I like eccentrics, and Dan definitely fits that bill in his own way. Although he is my brother, he always manages to surprise me with one or another of his behavioral gems.

For example, this year: never mind talking to the man, because he's listening to some UFC podcasts on his mp3 player, even while we fish. I cannot count the number of times I had to repeat myself when addressing some observation to him, or asking him a question. In normal circumstances, this would provoke impatience, but I was amused enough to find it funny. It gets funnier every day, in retrospect, even though I struggle to understand how one so overtly and vociferously enamoured of wilderness should substitute the river's chatter and sweet morning birdsong, for droning voices recorded in mono. Such is eccentricity!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we didn't get to fish much together this year. Although the fact that we only got to spend one morning, plying low, clear waters for only a pair of steelhead, might contribute to my sense of humour regarding Dan's podcasts, I wish we'd had more time together. The day I had planned for us on one of our eastern Ontario tributaries held all kinds of promise, but a flu (in one of my sons) prevented it.

Besides the fact that Dan is my brother, and we both enjoy and appreciate eachother's company, discussion and tastes in beer, I also relish observing his innate ability to catch fish, in action. I've always considered this ability to be far stronger in my brother than in myself, and watching Dan make minute and naturally sensible adjustments to his presentation over a few minutes or hours has always been a subject of keen interest for me. He does this whether he has been fishing for days on end, or whether he last fished a year ago. He seems to have some kind of radar which is not species dependent, but applies to all of them, and which guides him in his choices and his approach. I sometimes wonder if he has an unconscious "telepiscopathy," if he can actually read their minds...

Last year, when the previous day's rain forced us to fish for trout in what basically looked like mud, he was the only one who caught anything. This year, after I'd spent the first hour and a half after sunrise, plying a stingy stream, he appeared late as usual and picked up a steelhead on his first drift. It was all very casual, although it probably surprised him, if not myself.

After so many years, I pretty much expect it!