Solace

Rivers are blown from here to Montana, Canada to Oregon. It’s been a late big snow year. Snowpacks are in the blue for most places and the rain and moisture coupled with cooler temps are giving us a more normal year. We forget that big snows and big water into the summer are the normal. The snow coming so late not so much.

Even the Cedar River in Maple Valley where I am staying is high.  Fished a little side channel today. Was fun to cast. I fished the basin lakes a little, but it was slow and dusty, and now the thunderstorms and wind are ripping through the area.

Things have settled a little. I’m not getting into anything other then saying things have settled a little. Still in the storm but

Here with friends, doing normal things, talking about other things, all helpful. I feel foreign, but everyone knows me. I just want to fish but the river has other ideas.

I ran errands, did people things. Getting the rig ready for the rooftop. I might be borrowing one until I can get the one I have lined up to me or look at a other option. I’m cleaning gear, organizing for a season of trout bum guiding and living. I’m planning on being solo for some but have places with good people to stop in and frequent.

I’m going back to work on the 11th if the river will simmer. Probably won’t until later but I’m moving forward with work. I’ve made plans to take time to fish in Montana and Canada, spend time with my children, reconnect with old fishing peeps, guide buddies, and fellow river rats. I want to meet new people. I’ve spent the past 2 years with someone who is no longer here; filling my life with new people, places and experiences seems like a good mindset moving forward. Time. Time is where I’m at. What I need and what I will take.

I guide for a living, I fly fish for my life.

I can’t sit still. Since I started working and living the outdoors I’ve become accustomed to moving. I don’t like to be bored, or sedentary. I get anxious within a few days of sitting still. After covid it is harder to stay still. After everything recently it’s almost unbearable to sit still. I want to move. I want to range. Work my way into highlands and mountains and follow the rivers and waters back out and down stream to find more places to roam and move through.

Only ever seen going to and from, at put in and take out, that run to this riffle, that river to the other. Hard to hold down, hard to find but always around and showing myself when I want or I think is neccessary. I want to be quiet for a while, only write things. I talk enough at work. To the point I lose my voice.

The one that starts the campfire but walks away from things first. The first one on water and the last one off. I’ve done a lot of talking lately. Deep conversation. Scary and moving, intellectual and silly. Contemplating and curious. But things have settled. And that sinking and lonely feeling I know all too well is there. But I have never felt lonely in the solitude of discovering fish through fly and rod. It takes up to much of the mind and a river is always a familiar companion.

The trees that sway and sing, the rocks that make the river babble and chat are familiar and friendly. The Herons, Beavers, Otters, Osprey, Eagle, Bear and other critters keep the feeling of utter isolation at bay. The few people I choose to spend my non guiding time on water and at camp with lately have been fulfilling, enriching, moving, but also sad, and maddening, beautiful but frightening. The calm of that solace I find on the river solo is ever creeping into me. The desire to fuck off and be away. There’s enough hurt, solitude does little to cause more pain or to bring it up, except when a trout is uncooperative. It heals in a strange way but one I know the power of all to well.

And I want to discuss trout technically and dial in hatches and teach casting and reading and boat rowing and all the things that I love about guiding. But I also just want to be lost in the act of fly fishing and all that it encompasses. No pressure from clients, or other anglers with me, no yielding the run to others, no sharing, no talking, no Instagram photos, no hollering or cursing. Just fly fishing. Like I’m barely there until the trout realizes that it’s a fly and not a natural. Then I’m a part of it. I am fluid and moving with all that surrounds me. It’s familiar to me but in essence the river is indifferent to my presence. When the fish is released it is again as if I was not there. Save for my heavy breath, my soppy footprints as I walk to the next riffle, and the anticipation of becoming a part of it again with rising trout in the tailout.

Maybe see ya riverside anglers.

Tamarack

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