It is my home. Not my home away from home, but where I belong and feel myself and welcomed. I’ve spent most of my adult life riverside. Almost every important moment I’ve had in my life I’ve come to river for reflection, peace, advice, and vibes.
Rivers do something to many of us. A primal connection embedded there from our ancient past, the same as being around a campfire inspires and instills something within, so to the river does for me.
I miss the river when I’m away for more than a few days, I understand when she is feeling sassy or angry. She speaks some days, lightly whispers others, gives the silent treatment too. But the river is always there. Doing its river thing.
As an angler and a guide I have the privilege of being a part of the river. It’s worked itself into my DNA. My very person. It can be hard to explain to people who aren’t connected. It can make life off river lonely and filled with a lot of arms lengths friends and few really close ones. Which isn’t all that bad.
I spent last night and this morning reconnecting with the Yakima River. My homewater. She sang for me. Like she missed me too. High flows and fast water but nonetheless she was saying things. Caddis percolating, sneaky fish slurping, a skunk, beaver, and otter said hello along the river bank. Eagles playing, swallows zooming, the chitter of stellar Jay’s and red wing black birds, an Osprey hovering over hunting. I’ve learned the language over the years and its like talking with a friend after a long time away but it’s like you never left each other. I need that in my life.
The joy of chasing trout. Traveling and seeing the places they live, and hopefully sharing it with some good people are all any one of us river rat, troutbum, angler/guides can hope for. It’s not a life for everyone. The older I get and the more the off river world changes the less I want to be a part of it. Off river sucks. Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole is what it feels like trying to operate in the ‘normal-sphere’. Its exhausting, and not conducive to the lifestyle I set out to have for myself.
At the end of the day my passion will always be the river. Hasn’t changed in years and I don’t expect it to. I continue to learn more, be enriched and fulfilled in ways others only get a glimpse of on a guided trip. I may not be rich with money, but life and experiences I have in droves and that seems to be worth more these days.
I know I need that normal world to keep trucking along to have this lifestyle. Feeding off it so to speak. But I’d rather do that than be a part of it. There just doesn’t seem to be wasted days or time on the river. And off river seems like it just gets in the way of that precious river time. Selfishly, I would prefer to live like a hobo along the river…a nice hobo that showers everyday, but that non traditional kind of living makes more sense. Having a season of experiencing that in 2019 I want to go back to that.
The real world is expensive, inflated, filled with hate and stupidity. After covid it’s tiresome and who knows when we will all be stuck inside again in fear while neighbors and loved ones die around us. Fuck that, I’m not being cooped up anymore. I want to experience things, live outside of walls, chase fish not just trout, experience the planet through water, rivers, and wildlife before it’s all gone. Before we all die in a wildfire, aliens invade, or what have you comes. I’m not wasting anymore time. I’m getting to old and have run out of my last few fucks to give. I just want to guide and fish, and live that river life. Before I’m too old.
Just some thoughts while spending time riverside anglers.
See ya out there,