There are things you can do every day, like the crossword puzzle, and there are things that can only be done when time and opportunity present themselves. Sometimes the windows close so quickly that a passion once so simple and ever present appears remote and complicated.
Cats kept indoors too long will still spring to life at the sight of a live mouse; the instinct to hunt never goes dormant. So it all comes together: a short trip to Florida, a window of time along a shoreline, a fly rod in hand.
I’ve heard musicians talk of the phenomenon of the space in between notes. Maybe it’s like that…the spaces in between the routine that produce moments of electricity.
This is all to say, I hadn’t been fishing in a while but I went, and it felt good.
I once heard someone¹ claim that Johnny Cash with an acoustic guitar was more heavy metal than almost every band who claimed to be that, and it stuck with me because I know it to be true.
Simplicity in music can be so devastating. Case in point, Esmé Patterson performing this stripped down version of one of her songs. Most of the time she’s barely touching two strings, and it’s just her voice coming through on top of that. And it kills me.
1. (OK, it was the wrestler Chris Jericho, but the words still count.)
Jim Harrison, reading some of his work.
He’s lived in the house next door since 1956 and he’s always up early working in his garden or, since the fall, raking leaves. He’s 91 now and he’s lived alone since his wife passed away.
The other day he fell down the stairs with such velocity that he crashed through the drywall and broke his hip. Bloodied, dazed and unable to walk he dragged himself across the entire first floor of his house and somehow knocked the phone off the wall and called for help.
After the blizzard, another neighbor and I shoveled his driveway for him and I noticed the sticker on his back fender. “World War II Vet. Semper Fi.”
You may lose a lot of things when you grow old, but toughness, it seems, never fades.
When the fish have migrated there are the mountains. Regardless of what some say on the other side of the Divide, they exist in the East. Skiing is a lot like fly fishing in that despite the heavy investment in time, energy and equity there is really no point to its pursuit. Which, to many, is precisely the point. Wiser souls agree:
“Living’s mostly wasting time, and I’ll waste my share of mine.” –Townes Van Zandt
Thank you TVZ, I believe I will throw another log on the fire.