This is a friend of mine, who recently fished for steelhead:
I first met him when I was fishing a river, and we started chatting. A few months later, at a different river, we ran into each other again. And, again. Eventually, we met for coffee in our “civilian” clothes.
It turns out that he grew up a few blocks away from our house. He is single, doing well at his career, often takes business trips, and while on the road, fishes with clients.
As I’ve written before, I feel incredibly blessed that I’ve become friends with others who also value the environment, time spent outside, and the thrills and chills of fly fishing. “This crowd” spans both genders, all colors, multiple states, various personalities, and a rainbow of political leanings. But, we’re united by our obsession about fish.
One of the benefits of these friendships is to see life through someone else’s life. I’ve never been able to fish for steelhead. You drive a long distance to areas like Pulaski, NY, near the Great Lakes. But, I can live the experience through my friend.
I’m in a great spot right now. But, eventually, it will be just Mrs. T. and I in the house, and my Kepha obligations will be done. Eventually, it may just be I in the house.
I have this recurring and persistent dream, one filled with bright fish and blue-green water.
I am driving a SUV or camper and go from river to river, spot to spot. Some nights, I stay at an Airbnb. Other nights, I sleep in the vehicle. Breakfast may be oatmeal, lunch could be nuts and jerky, and dinner might be more oatmeal. Dessert would a sip or two of Bourbon next to a fire now down to smoky embers.
I fish all day, without a rush, and I tie flies at night. There are no work emails or household chores. During some parts of the trip, I am with friends. For stretches, I am alone.
Along the journey, there are majestic mountain views, verdant meadows, and the clear blue reflections of rivers so ancient they rival the very land on which they course.
I have a Bucket List of waters. They span a large region: Montana, Idaho, Colorado, the Sierras, Oregon, New Mexico, Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Nova Scotia and many, many others. It seems like a ceaseless list. There’s also Iceland, the Alps, Kamchatka, Mongolia and New Zealand.
The local customs, food and languages may differ. But, through it all, there are the constant companions of pure water and trout.
I still do not know if I will fulfill this dream. Perhaps, Real Life has other plans. Perhaps, I am hit by a bus one day.
But, there is this ever-present yearning to fulfill this dream, to drive and fish and sleep and drive and fish and sleep. And, so, I firmly believe this dream will come to pass.
Dreams propel us to see more and to do more. Even if the dreams do not become reality, we still see a glimpse of them in the mind’s eye. There, we live those dreams and hold them dear as if they are already here. They are our constant companions, ever true.
Though challenges and circumstances may delay those dreams, we still hold them as ours and ours alone. We alone possess them, and they give us hope.
I have a dream.