After this week’s Memorial Mass for our pastor, some of my Church friends and I got together for an impromptu dinner. I thought it would be fun to order take out and meet up for a Friday night dinner and decompress a bit. We texted the others who were in town, and a small group of us convened.

It was a lot of fun. One of the guys hosted and generously offered some amazing wines, another person picked up Chinese food, and it was a team effort all around. It was good to chat about our pastor, the Memorial Mass, and our lives. We also joked a ton. Laughter really is a solace, a relief.

After a funeral, I highly recommend getting together with friends over a long and casual dinner. We had a great time.

This morning, I decided to fly fish. A hard rain had fallen and was still falling, and the rivers were swollen to dangerous levels, setting records for some.

But, I’ve found that fly fishing helps me recover from grief. I had loaded my gear into the car Friday afternoon, certain that I would go in spite of a late night and the bad weather.

I got to the parking area super-early and was happy to have the place to myself. The walk to the river was an adventure. The dirt paths were flooded, side braids existed where none had before, and I walked across a field, usually dry, but now was submerged with water up to my waist. The landscape had changed everything. From far away, I already could hear the river, its rumble constant and sonorous.

When I got to the water, it was a sight to behold. The river was a churning cauldron of white water.

People do not fish when the water is so high, but I had a hunch that the fish slide into a particularly quiet stretch to avoid the current, and I wanted to see if I was right. And, I was fine if I didn’t catch anything.

Later, I walked slowly along the bank, eyeing the soft slick at the water’s edge of a particular bend in the river. My thinking was that, as water was shooting by the bend, the inner side would be relatively placid–and, that some fish would be there.

And, soon, I saw movement. There it was, a lone trout. You can see it in the middle of these photos.

As the world churned and chaos reigned around it, the fish had found a soft cushion of water and lazily finned in its own private and little oasis.

I don’t want to get all allegorical or Hemingway on you, but when my life takes a sudden turn, I carve out my own little space by going to the rivers of New England. No matter what is on my mind or weighing on my heart, a few hours on the water is a relief, a respite from the swirls and forces that pull me around.

Fly fishing, to me, is a series of meditations, when time stands still and the powerful beauty of nature shines through. I often find these outings to be quite spiritual.

I found other fish along that inner bend and while I did my best to catch them, the casting was very tricky and the footing precarious. At one point, I slipped a little, but recovered quickly.

All morning, I felt wet, whether it be from the hard and cold rain or the river, I didn’t know and didn’t care, as it was nice to be outside and to breathe fresh air. I didn’t catch any fish, but the time to be out on the water with no one around was a luxury that words cannot express.

I’m thinking of writing a book. I’m not sure yet what it will be about other than it will involve our family history, things I’ve learned and fly fishing. If anyone has advice on how to write a meaningful book, please reach out….


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