The river is raging. A torrent, chaotic, current, tearing at the very earth that is trying to hold it. It cares for nothing, just rages. Trees, wildlife, people, and places are at the river’s mercy. It reminds us all of its presence, the power it truly wields. While it can bring life it can also wash it away. A cleanse. The river rages to cleanse that which it holds dominion over.
These events are becoming more frequent. Maybe we should listen.
I have a lot of respect for the Yakima River. It feeds an immense valley. It creates a bountiful economy that stretches beyond just farms and fish. It is beautiful, unique, and filled with intricate and intimate secrets for those who explore and listen.
The Yakima has a special place in my heart. It has been there for me through my adult life. I have sought out its waters to cleanse my mind and body, to find joy and hapiness, to work through loss and hardship, to reflect on life’s big moments both positive and negative. I have shared countless hours and days with the Yakima and people who feel similarly about it and other rivers.
The Yakima has tried to kill me on occasion. It has brought me into a world I never knew existed. It still excites me, stimulates me, and makes my heart flutter when I see it. When I see the river during the runoff and major flow events I am reminded of what slumbers behind the dams, the people, the fields, the drift boats. A wild river. I think the Yakima feels that sense of freedom, if it could feel something, when it rages high. It is reminded of its true self. It remembers its power and purpose.
It makes me strangely happy when the river blows out. To me its like the Yakima is waking up. Saying hello with a rage I guess. But like a bear that hibernates sleeping softly, or a trout after the long cold winter water, they wake…ravenous and primal.
I find I feel similar after the offseason. The winter’s are never easy when you spend most days outside riverside from spring through autumn. I yearn for the river. I pace alongside my boat telling myself I am calming my boat…but its really just me talking myself through cabin fever.
My patience is thin as I come out of the offseason, especially this one, and I just want to get back on the river. Like the nicotine I am trying to kick, I feel the need to be riverside. The river causes that kind of gnawing or anxious feeling constantly now.
While the river rages, I have to simmer. Get ready. Like waiting for a lover to return after a long time away. The wait makes it more intense and I am all about more intense. On and off river. Life is short, just like there are only so many days in the season. How do you want to spend them? The river asks me that question a lot. Sharing intense, amazing, adventurous, joyous, moments and experiences with rivers, people, and by myself is the answer I give. Finding and navigating a way to have a lifestyle with that at its base seems like a good way to go through life these days.
The Yakima, and rivers bring me true happiness. Something we are all trying to find and share with others. I have found a portion of that happiness through the water and want to go through life sharing that with others. I see what the river brings so many people. Take away the instagram, the facebook, the blogs, the hooting and hollering, take the boat, fly rods, flies, take all the stuff and the things away…when you whittle it all down to just you…the river…the people with you…and the secrets that lie in the waters before you…you get a glimpse of that thing we are all looking for. That connection. That’s why I guide. That right there. That connection…its like a glue. Puts all the pieces together.
While the river rages that is where I settle. On that specific reason about why I guide. Its not about the most days, the biggest fish, the most in the net, the money, being the best…its about that connection. After 5 years of guiding and all the clients and days, that is what people are really paying for. Whether they truly know it or not.
The river will crest and settle back into a rythym that invites me to join in the dance. The rage will subside. That long awaited embrace. That connection returns and the river life starts again.
See ya riverside anglers.