Wow has it really been 2 years ? That is a long time to be away from something you love or in this case several things you love , those things being taking people fishing and telling stories about it . My hiatus started innocently enough ... It had been a long season and I realized I wasn't getting any younger . Things (like knees & ankles) were starting to hurt , plain and simple and I found myself secretly envying the people at the desks inside , safe from the slippery rocks , flash floods , freezing cold wind , pouring rain , etc ... I noticed 2 things about them . 1st they weren't limping and 2nd that they often just sat around watching TV, texting with their I-Phones (and laughing ) or kicked back reading about fishing in the safe comfort of a leather chair or couch .
As you stand there hypothermic , with water still dripping down the back of your neck , observing these truths , a little voice that seems to come from your aching right knee says "what are you , an idiot " ? The voice then follows this with "isn't it time to grow up " ? While you are searching for an answer it then states , rather smugly , "you'll make more money " ! This last one hits home driven there by the images of those you were secretly envying and you find yourself unable to field a reasonable rebuttal to the little voice and so it begins ...
You take on more resonsibility but get a cool sounding title (manager) and receive a substantial raise , life seems good ! Your knees quit hurting , you sit in a comfy chair and join the fellows at the reading couch debating this or that fishing technique and celebrate the fact that this is much easier then actually doing it . For awhile all is well . Then one day you begin to realize that instead of dealing with picky , stubborn fish you find yourself dealing with their human counterparts and that these counterparts are far less predictable ... Still , for awhile , you tell yourself you made the right choice and your bank statement backs up this contention .
Time rolls along , life changes . These things are facts . In the past , when things had gotten confusing , there was always the river , the trout , the wind and the wax wings to clear my mind and set things right . There are no wax wings behind the big desk . You can't hear the wind inside the building and the river becomes something you look at instead of something you try to become one with . The little voice then changes it's story . Now it acts like it never said anything about growing up or more money . It asks very simply , "are you happy" ?
Now there is a good feeling that comes from playing the business game and getting better at it . You develop a new revenue source , the numbers soar and you find yourself chasing those numbers almost as hard as you once chased trout . You soon find yourself "living" for the numbers with life being good when they are and not so good when they are not . The numbers now define you ! They are you , you are them ! The little voice then says " I didn't ask you if it felt good , I ask if you were happy , they are different things " . It takes awhile but you finally realize that indeed they are . Happiness comes from peace of mind , peace of mind comes from joy and joy comes from love . There is no true happiness in chasing numbers because love is a stranger to them . Love cares not if you make $50 or $50k . Love simply is .
Finally the day comes when you admit to yourself (and the little voice) that you are not happy . In fact you are anything but happy . The thing is though now you tell yourself that you have to do it , happy or not because you need all that money , how will you ever survive without it , never stopping to remember that you did just fine for years with 1/2 as much and were always smiling . It was at this point in the dialog , at the end of a very stressful day, that 2 pieces of advice that I had given others for years were handed back to me , by a brother, like a gift returned... "When the worst thing you have to face on a given day is how to fool a spotted fish it's a pretty good day " and "life is short , you gotta stop and smell the brown trout" .
I did what anyone with even a lick of sense would do when faced with such incontrovertable truths . I fished . I started fishing every day again taking time to listen to her song and watch the wax wings . Slowly but surely it all started to come back to me . This is what I came here for , this is who I am . Numbers can be chased anywhere but only here can you wet wade , waist deep , pondering how to tie something small enough to match those little white things they are feeding on ...
This decision to fish a couple hours every day soon put me on the fast track to the place where I am standing right now .
To hell with growing up , I am happy and I am home ! See you on the river ! Elkfisher