Twenty Twenty has been an interesting one. The world has effectively made us all turn down a road that isn’t on the map at all… one where there is no cell service to pull up Google Maps and try and see if you are even going in somewhat the right direction.
Because of this I realized pretty early on, way back on March 25th to be exact, that I would need another way to orient myself on these unknown roads. Something familiar to be my companion as I ventured into the next strange part of the road that is 2020. That something for me ( as you may have guessed ) has been fishing.
On March 25th I was walking home from my little slice of “home water” and I made a pact with myself that I needed to just keep fishing through it all. Rivers are a safe space for me. It’s a place where the worries of the unknown fade away as the ritual of selecting a fly, and casting takes over. The sounds of water rushing by, of osprey overhead, or me often talking to myself ( and typically cursing at the wind ) completely consumes my senses. I knew that safety, that harmony with nature was the medicine my soul needed to travel down the Roads Life Goes.
And I’ve kept that promise to myself. I’ve just kept fishing. Every day since that Wednesday back at the end of March, I have followed the drift inside of me back to the water. Thunderstorms, rain, sleet, hail, snow, winds, snakes, ticks, mosquitoes, broken rods, and crazy hot temperatures… I’ve just kept fishing.
It has been a challenge some days to make it happen. There are days, just like with anything else in life, where my mind has put up a fuss and made me question why I keep returning each day, but even if I only spend fifteen minutes on the water casting, the question of why has always been answered for me.
Today was day number 150 in a row of finding myself out on the water. I woke up before 5am to make the trek out to the place where I first started to fly fish – The Crooked River. I had the river to myself for a few hours this morning, and like all the 149 days before, I had a chance to reflect on this crazy world, and check-in with myself while standing in the water.
And I’ve started to realize that this unknown road has led me to a place where I almost feel like I’m thriving. I really feel that my family and I have done our best to adapt to the changes instead of fight them. We have chosen to float with the current instead of fight it, even when it seems like there is a crazy ass rapid around each bend.
When I arrived back at my house, and sat down to start my day of work after my dawn patrol on the Crooked, the uncertainties and stress of the daily grind creeped right back in. The media, and the wonders of the internet still do their thing and remind me of the uncertainty of the road we are all traveling down. There is plenty of negativity and sorrow in the world these days. But I just remind myself that I’ll just keep fishing through it all, one day at a time, and the river will remind me that everything will indeed be alright.
I want to thank my family for putting up with this crazy daily ritual of mine. I could not do it without their support, and I’m super thankful that a great number of these days have happened with them by my side ( either on the bank, on a camping trip, or next to me in the water ). I love you all so much Teagan, Kaydee, and Becky.
I also want to give a shout to my bro Bob – who during this time also reminded me that a similar solace that I get on the river can be found by standing on a high point on this little rock floating around space, and eating a cold breakfast burrito while watching the “sun melt into the horizon”
Be kind to yourself, to our mother Earth, and to others. And just keep fishing.