When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.
It's not a drenching rain. Just enough coming down to force a periodic drip from the brim of my hat onto my glasses, leaving trails on the lense as gravity pulls them to my cheek. Light is fading fast. It will make the going back to shore from here a bit of a trial if I wait too much longer, but I'm enjoying the monotony of the cast and the swing more than the thought of my hike back to the car. The dense convolutions in the current make for a different arc in my fly line with each successive roll cast. I try, as I monitor the swing, to imagine what the bottom of the river looks like; what's causing the upwellings and swirls. The water is higher today. The current is stronger, more consistent. I can see where in the summer I could wade and fish without difficulty, but those rocks are now next summer's dream, should they still be there after run-off, which is another facet of this river I look forward to. With only a few exceptions, my explorations will reveal to me new sets of hydraulics, which in turn will dictate new lies for the trout. More so here than in probably any other river I have ever fished are the residents so constantly on the move. They are, without a doubt, a hardy bunch, but I know they have to be in order to survive such a hostile environment as this. They are at the mercy of change at all times of the year, subjected to the whims of the people's needs, rather than their own. Pawns in an ongoing chess match pitting aesthetics against utilitarianisms. Afterthoughts. More or less left to their own instincts, a willingness to engage and survive. Darwin was right. What a perfect illustration of that. Then, as if on cue, I feel a sharp tug, and a dark-backed rainbow soars into the misty dying light of this rainy afternoon, throwing my soft hackle as he somersaults upside down and backwards into the water. I stand and watch my fly line now hanging limply directly downstream, suddenly aware of how far I've come from to this very same place where I started, however many years ago. I am aware of the connective tissue that has insinuated itself between me and this water. How it has been my teacher, teaching me so much more than to fish. How it has emotionally become my home. How as far as I may travel from it, it's place in my heart will never be challenged, will never be replaced. And then again, for not the first time or the last, the wetness on my cheek is not the rain.