Shit’s on Pause

Well. I guess I could blog. Its been rather hard to find the energy and the creativity to write this season. I posted less this season across all my platforms. Just not a lot to say I guess.

At first the pandemic scared me, I still don’t wanna get sick. I spent enough time in the hospital this year with my damn gal bladder finally trying to literally kill me. I also had the swine flu back in 2011 or whatever. It sucked. I was in the hospital, my eldest got it and I got super scared. Fast forward to 2020 and I was scared like everyone else. Then the lockdown took its toll and tanked the early season. I was still scared but was hopeful for the summer and fall save.

Then memorial day hit. And my hopes started to fade. Despite the lockdown being lifted trips still trickled. Blame it on what have you, the scare of the virus, the economy tanking, just a feeling of why go fishing with all this stuff happening in our world. I felt that a lot. Seemed wrong to be out when so many couldn’t. Or I would find myself deep in thought about the myriad of things, election, climate change, virus. protests, the reasons behind them, it felt wrong at times to be out there, and at other times it felt like the only place I should…or could be. Just funk all fucken season.

July hit, and I thought maybe. But no. Like 12 guide days in July when normally I would work 28 to 30 something trips with a handful of two a days in there. August came and brought fires and smoke on top of everything else. So the summer dried up in the aftermath of the pandemic lockdowns and the now every season effects of climate change.

The fall came and at this point….in all honesty…I just wanted it to be over anglers. I had a decent amount of trips for the fall. It ended a week earlier than I would have liked, and the snow and cold scared away the weak as I like to say…but the fishing kinda just fell off at the end too. Bwos never really materialized and the caddis popped early and went quick. Salmon showed up late and in few numbers, and we had some crazy salmon pulses that just fucked with shit. Happens. Normal year, wouldn’t have been a thang…but this season it was like rubbing bleach in the wound.

I had and still have pandemic fatigue. Burnt out on a weird season. Still trying to recover from the previous years shit show of shenanigans. Just exhausted of watching money never even get a chance to get made. Tired of elected people who are supposed to be helping from state to the top…not. feeling helpless. Missing my children, not sure when it will be safe enough to see them. Thanksgiving, and it looks like Christmas plans have changed due to the pandemic. With this past season the funds aren’t there to do anything anyway. You get to a point where it beats you down. Closes you off. Doesn’t even feel like a year has gone by. Someday it feels like 3 years. Other days it feels like I’m back in November 2019. Ugh. FML.

I have been fortunate to have a new person in my life that has eased the sting of this all. And I have endured some hard shit in my life and at least with this pandemic I am in the same boat with everyone else. Having someone to get through this with is a huge positive. Lucky we met a week before this shit went down.

Some other help would be nice, but I won’t holf my breath. That first set of PPP helped, but like every other business it wasn’t enough and the false promise of things going back to normal didn’t help. 2 in 6 small businesses have closed across the country. Half could close by next year after what is looking to be an abysmal holiday season. A new wave of restrictions is already taking its toll on the small communities I frequent or used to frequent.

There is some hope. I made it through the season. And I can tough it out through a dark winter or whatever they call it. February ain’t that far off. At this point I’d prefer to be told to stay inside, here’s a check, wait until the vaccine is ready, or whatever. Fat chance, but I tried to work through this shit all year and it didn’t really work. I did my fucken part. So did so many others. And the lockdown before flattened the curve sure…but it just put that shit on pause. And we all knew better in hindsight. No longer scared, or really fatigued with this shit….just angry now. Things should move faster in the 21st century.

Everything is on pause. From bills getting paid, to flies getting tied, even texts getting sent. That dark cloud hovers over you and sinks you down. Effective against the rona, but not great for well being. Its been about 2 weeks since the river and I still feel the funk of the season on me. I look at the bank account and the funk thickens. I look at the photos and videos from the season and feel the funk seep. We had some great fish this year. I shared some amazing moments during this whacked out time with clients. I have to remind myself to be thankful for that. I have to remind myself that everyone’s shit has gotta be on pause if my trout bum ass stuff is.

I never really felt like I plugged into the Yakima this season. Never got a chance to. Didn’t get to wake with the river in the spring after what was a shitty winter following a hell of a season in 2019. So I never got to feel her ebb and flow, tap in, listen to what she was whispering. I just felt disconnected. It showed in my guiding. Maybe not to clients but there was a funk there. I tried to remedy it. But just couldn’t.

With my offseason on pause now too, I am hoping I can hit play when the thaw comes. I hope things improve this winter. I feel like they will. Its this slow painstaking process but I feel like its gonna get at least a little better. Maybe not for a month, fuck maybe two. But I see it. I won’t really be fishing. I packed the boat up early. Most of the fly rods are busted if I am honest (couldn’t afford to repair them or wait for them anyway), fly lines are worn to hell. I don’t even think I have leaders. Don’t think I will chase steel this year. Travel is kinda outta the question. Hell I can’t even tie the flies I want because I ran outta hooks. So shit is just on pause.

Like previous winters. I will hibernate, I will tie, I will play a lot of video games. I will read. Make videos, posts. All that stuff. Unfortunately un-pause isn’t as quick as you think. Its like you’re wearing a cape of tar or mollases. Every time you try to adjust it or move it, even take the damn thing off! Its exhausting and requires more effort than neccessary. That’s the best way to describe 2020 for me. I will get it off.

It starts with a schedule, even during a semi lockdown or whatever you wanna call the dystopian cluster we find ourselves in. I stay up late and wake late in the offseason. Like an owl. Waking up late morning sometimes noon. I am usually on rivertime all season, but I am naturally nocturnal anyway. I am back on the yoga. 5 days a week for minimum 25 minutes is the weekly goal right now. Eat good, still after the gal bladder. Ain’t gaining one of those 130 lbs back.

But the offseason is also prep time. Even after 2020…2021 needs to be prepped for. Gotta pump yourself up to kick next year right in the sack. I find no better way to work outta this years funk then to prep for the next. Tie, create, explore, read, fine tune, hone skills, try new things, study, improve myself so I can relay that to clients in the coming season. There is hope. And a reason to stay inside and tie flies still. So I guess I will take it. Spend time with those I can safely. Talk with my kids and wait patiently to see them again. Prep for the new season. Fuck we might all be vaccinated and mask free next year! So don’t let this dark winter get ya down to much. All you can do is slog though it. Slogs usually lead to great places. A waterfall with a pool filled with eager trout. A bend in the river not seen before, an opportunity at a moment to behold with a wild fish in a wild place just through there, bushwhack and slog through…its worth it.

See ya in the other side anglers.

Tamarack

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