Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.
Children learn to smile from their parents.
As you can see from the above pics, it was a good day.
My camera worked.
In my last post I promised to keep me (and anyone else who might stumble into this blog) posted, so here it is; the OFFICIAL follow-up to my previous post.
As I(and you) may recall, I was looking forward to fishing with my son Aaron, the Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutics (sorry, I just love seeing that in print) who had a small window of time with which to wet a line with me. It's not often I get the opportunity to share fishing time with him, so, as could be expected, I was pretty excited.
And, since the only real game in town at that time was still (but not for long now, finally) Rocky Ford, well, need I say more. Besides that, in the preceding months I'd discovered THE COLOR of a favorite food source always available to the big, rather feisty rainbow population there and had been subsequently enjoying the spoils of my scud 'research' in each ensuing visit. All I had to do now was to make sure we got out there, which was easy because I'd kept him up to speed with periodic reports and now he was champing at the bit. The possibility that my high fish counts were influencing his decision was not lost on me.
I have to hand it to him; I've never seen anyone be so productive on such little sleep. I'd like to think that ability is in his DNA, but it's more than likely a product of both the intensity of his years of college and graduate school and mostly his penchant for not only overcoming but overwhelming anything that might be considered an obstacle. In other words, I'm pretty sure his ability to make all the thousands of hours of sleep deprivation pay off for him did NOT come from me.
He didn't arrive until after ten Friday night, and wasn't in bed until after I'd slapped a new leader and tippet on his fly line, which put it a little after eleven. The next morning, after our traditional bowl of oatmeal and raisins we were on the road by four-thirty, nursing steaming mugs of Gold Blend, with road music provided by Mr. Hendrix and Mr. Beck, respectively. That's yet another unbelievably cool thing about my son; his taste in music.
I've driven the hundred and twenty-six miles from Spokane to Rocky Ford for a lot of years, but I've never once thought I'd gotten there too quickly. At least, not until our drive Saturday morning. Not only did I have company, I had the best companion ever. It's such a gift to travel with someone (and there are blessed few of them) who's presence I really enjoy. I know he was eager beyond words to get there and feel again the bend in his rod, and so was I, but this outing, for me at least, was so much more than that. They always are when we go fishing.
To put it simply, the older I get, the more I appreciate the few parcels of time I can spend with Aaron. It goes way the heck beyond fishing, although to spend that time with him doing something that is so close to my heart is of course an added bonus. And he's a good fisherman.I know, as I watch him, and I know that if he had more time to apply to it, he'd be world-class. There are some things that can be taught, and he's learned these lessons well, and then there are the intangibles; things that deal more with creativity, hunch, and other senses that one either possesses and is able to tap into and utilize, or not. I've known many fishermen in my lifetime, and I know that not all of us have these more innate abilities.
He's got them. All of them. About the only thing he doesn't have going for him yet, besides time, is the fact that, like his dad, he's as much an out and out perfectionist as he gets impatient with himself. But the years will take care of that. They'll spread an experiential patina of patience over his fishing. I know of what I speak. I can look back on my years and see that same thing happening to me. It's an ongoing process. It's made me such a better fisherman to this point, and I know that it will get even better. Why?
Ask me that in ten years and maybe I'll be able to tell you.
I can see the light through the trees now, but I'm still pretty much in the forest. And let me tell you, that light is not a freight train. The closer it gets, the more it looks and feels like the purest satisfaction, the greatest peace that I have ever known. I know that shit happens, but now, when shit does happen, it doesn't seem nearly the catastrophe that it once was. Oh, I'm still prone to occasional fits of disgust with myself, but somewhere along the way I seem to have discovered a more efficient way of dealing with them. To me, the ability to effectively deal with 'the shit' is worth a thousand big fish brought to hand.
I'd barely gotten Aaron set up in the spot where I usually start my fishing, having then moved upstream about fifty feet. I was still pulling line off my reel when I heard him yell, "Fish on, dad!" I dropped my rod and raced, or, more or less stumbled through the cattails as I dug out the camera, praying that the benevolent god of good memories was with me; that my finicky Minolta was going to work.
Hot damn. It did. For awhile, anyway.
Just long enough to capture a couple of memories, for which both he and I are thankful. Never mind that fact that I threw a nice shadow all over his fish. Talk about disgusted with myself!
No sooner did I get back to my position when I heard the sound of a splash; the kind of sound a large trout makes after leaping crazily into the air. He'd hooked another one. Two fish in five casts! How cool is that! And there I went, dropping my rod again as I repeated my stumble back down to get another shot,
So it was a great day. Me? Oh, I hooked a few fish here and there. I know I lost more than my share because of my inattentiveness, but that's okay. This day wasn't about me, wasn't about needing to catch as many fish as possible. It was about just being happy to be there with my son. It was about watching him relax, watching him get lost in the moment, and most importantly, just being out together. That's more of the sweet stuff that I mentioned in an earlier post, if there's anybody out there...
Turns out my scuds were The Ticket for the most part, too, although Aaron got creative in the afternoon. He started fishing a scud with one of my soft hackles on point, and hooked some really hot fish with that set-up. I remember at one point we were set up about thirty yards apart above an area on the creek where the channel narrows and runs through a series of huge granite boulders. He was casting directly upstream along the bank and put the flies right smack dab in front of a large bright buck that was slowly foraging along the weed line. I watched the flies slowly settle, saw the trout instantly come to attention and dart straight toward the scud. His mouth opened and Aaron was spot on with his strike. That fish instantly hit the afterburners and lit out for the other side of the creek, and I wish I'd had the camera ready because it was such an awesome sight to see Aaron, rod high, pinned at sixty odd feet to a very hot ten pound fish. That will stay with me forever, as I'm sure it will with him! And there were several more of those as the day progressed!!
Those are good memories. They will be with me forever, as vivid and fresh as the moment they occurred. And, I live for the creation of more just like them.
"... preserve your memories, they're all that's left you."
Simon and Garfunkel