My life could have been otherwise but it wasn't.
Jim Harrison, Off to the Side
I think I was almost ten when my dad decided that he was going to teach me about flyfishing. In the process, I know I put his paternalistically low patience level to the test as we slowly proceeded through the casting and knot-tying. Soon I was allowed to accompany him on several local forays, eventually traveling with him to Canada.
And then, early into my teens, I put it all down. For close to thirty years I was away...
I'm sure that somehow, when human beings are confronted by the endless ways in which they might possibly wish to live this life, it could probably be fairly attributed to genes or the DNA within that effects(not affects) much of the process in making certain specific things happen that enables, or empowers, or just plain pushes us to step in the direction we see as our destiny. Right down to how we reacted to the thousands of seemingly meaningless events once taken for granted as being not life-changing, or to be so innocuous as to bear none but the most superficial of scrutinies in future retrospections. Maybe, after all is said and done, there really weren't that many options out there, many ways to go, given the fact that 'it was in our genes'. That would certainly nullify the need for a lot of unnecessary introspection as well as going a great distance toward understanding what it was through our lives that really should have given us the most reason for concern. It's almost as if in looking back at our lives through this 'new and improved' lense, we'd wish to have had this foresight earlier, to totally dispense with, or disavow ourselves from certain rituals, events, or most anything that caused anxieties dealing with our unknown futures.
Trouble is, we have no way of knowing any of this now, with the 'standard' lenses, while we're in the midst of our journey through all the ongoing circumstances that arise. There's just no way, yet, of seeing around corners. The forest is too thick, the tunnel has too many bends, to see clear on through to the origin of the light. So, we are dutifully instructed by those who have already basically shaped our fate, and we innocently, naively comply, eager to join in the parade and are soon off, skipping lively down a yellow brick road to somewhere, never realizing for so many years that it was all pretty much decided before we went skipping off.
At least that's how I look at my life, now, wishing I'd been more skillful at sifting through the crap years ago to have had this vantage point where the view on my own life is at last so clear.
But all that's neither here, nor there, either. I can now say with some conviction that my journey down that yellow brick road was an education, but while I was skipping along, I never had a vision,or a dream that drove me. At least not one that I could attach any significance to. I didn't seem to be magnetized by any particular objective. The road led me here and there, and I have to admit that while it was a lot of fun, it lead me nowhere. But, as is so often the case, it's hard to know where you're going if you don't know why you're going in the first place. There I was, skipping along like everyone else, the difference being that for me, it was all about the skipping. Soon enough, the road forked. Some went this way, and others that way, and then it forked again, and again, and pretty soon there I was, skipping along all by myself. Skipping and singing and having a great time, while the road kept on and on...
It's like this (I need to re-connect what I've been talking about to where I am now).
One day, there came in the road I was on, a fork, looking at first glance, not unlike so many I had not taken. But, for reasons that are now clear to me, I took it. And, in doing so, I saved my life. It led to my parent's cabin at Priest Lake. It led me out to the beach in front of the cabin, where I stood and watched a ring, and then another, appear on the water close to the dock. It lead me back into the cabin where I saw my dad's fly rod above the mantle. And it led me out to the dock where I stripped line off the reel as I approached another ring.
I finally saw a destination. The road had cleared my vision, as well as my head. I had arrived. I had a purpose now. I had my life. Finally, I had my life.