Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fly Fishin - 2

            I soon found that it wasn’t that easy to just change lives.  My old friends called me regularly trying to talk me out of my crazed decision.  I realized then that some of them did really genuinely care for me, and for those that did, when I told them this cabin made me happy-
            That was enough for them.
            And as for the others, I learned to not care about what they thought.  Most of them, I realize now, looking back, were as chained to those handcuffs as I was, and just didn’t understand what it meant to be free.  I can tell you, I didn’t know.
            Unfortunately, they weren’t the whole problem.  Nor were they even half of the problem.  The real opposition I encountered came from the local population.  Most of them were angry that I, a Californian, would intrude on their backcountry lands.  They wanted me to go home.  I won’t lie in saying that it wasn’t hard.  I often came home on the verge of tears after someone had roughly told me that I didn’t belong in this neck of the woods after I told them where I was from.
            Even though I found myself loving the land, I realized that I wasn’t happy here.  I had no friends, I had no job.  As much as I hate to admit it, they were right.  I didn’t belong there.  I was a fish out of water.  I didn’t know what to do with my land.  I hardly even knew how to care for my cabin, and as old as I was I could only work for a few hours at a time.
            I was in this depressed state when I found something that would change my life forever.  I was fishing around in the old cellar below the cabin one day, and I stumbled upon this old fishing pole, but it wasn’t like most models I had seen in California.  It wasn’t large with a huge reel like those deep sea fishing ones.  Instead it was tall and skinny as Abe Lincoln.  And perched precariously at the bottom was the old circular spindle full of orange line.  I didn’t know what it was.
            But I was curious.
            The next day I took it in to town to see what they could tell me.  The man behind the counter in the gas station laughed rather heartily when I asked him what it was.  He said it was a fly pole.
            A fly pole?
            Yeah you use it with flies out on the river.  And he jerked his hand over to the fishing aisle where now I saw a bunch of little boxes full of these little flies.  Not wanting to look silly I bought a few flies, and a fishing magazine I saw on the side and headed home.  I was rather flustered by now.  I hadn’t had the courage to ask him how to use it, and now I was somewhat angry with myself.  How was I supposed to use this stupid thing?  I only hoped the magazine would have a few answers.
            It did.
            The next day was a day I’ll never forget.  I had spent the whole night poring over the magazine figuring out just how to fly fish.  I learned how to tie a fisherman’s knot by threading the line through the fly and then turning the fly in circles while holding the two ends together.  At my age, it was difficult to hold my hand steady on such a small scale, but in the end I managed.
            I still remember the morning mist on that silver river that morning as I walked out the back porch of my cabin.  The sun was slowly appearing over the top of the mountains.  I looked into those clear blue depths-as pure as a virgin’s soul.  The rocks in the shallow water glistened like gold.  The birds’ songs floated down like honey-dew on a cold spring night.  And there I stood-at the edge of the river’s bend.  I took a deep breath and cast out my line, bit by bit just as the magazine had told me to do.  I caught a couple snags in the brush behind me, but in almost no time at all I had it figured out.  Up and down went the swish of my pole.  My old creaky joints gained new life as that line wizzed through the air.  The fresh arid air burned my lungs with joy as I cast over and over again.
            The sun crept over the mountains, and I sat still for a moment.  The mist over the water dissipated, revealing their silent depths before me.  For the first time, I really heard the rush of the river that had somehow escaped me until then.  It sounded like the soft patter of thousands of men, or horses on a long march mixed with the high pitched singing of the Sirens.  I was entranced.  I couldn’t see any fish, but that didn’t seem to matter.  I was free, and yet the river held me captive.

            I fell in love that day.

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