Friday, November 23, 2012

Healing Waters

Got out fishing today so I didn't write anything. But you can check out a guest post I did over on The River Damsel.
Update Nov 27: I've pasted the complete text of the guest post below.

Last week, Emily's husband, David, received a kidney from his sister. I pray that all is going well for both of them and that they'll be back at something resembling normal soon.

Writers often wax poetic about the healing powers of our sport. The syrup that is poured on the topic would put a six-year old sugar junky off the thing. But there is something to the notion.

I find that time on the water helps me physically distance myself from the stressful noise in my life. It's more difficult to stop the mental machinations and it can take several consecutive days before the voices in my head turn from work to fly selection and reading water; eventually my head emerges from hunched shoulders.

Efforts like Casting for Recovery and Project Healing Waters take folks wounded by chance and by war and introduces them to the things that most of us find each day on the water. While I'm sure it's not everyone's game, I bet some wounded find the connection to that something we all know and move forward.

Last weekend I stood in the sleet and snow in Pulaski, NY. After two days of Indian Summer, the weather turned to what most know as typical Steelhead weather.

The morning started out gloomy. Just before the weather turned almost a dozen anglers stood under gray skies in the run below where Jonny and I were fishing. Everyone was doing their best to put in the time when the bite was clearly off. While I didn't feel crowded by the other anglers, it was clearly different from the normal, solitary existence of a small steam angler.

As the weather shifted and the sleet, hail, and snow fell I was shocked to see the masses scatter. Aren't Steelheaders known for their hardiness? Within fifteen minutes we had the entirety of the run to ourselves. Far too much water for one to fish but very pleasing to have to one's self.

All that was left was the rhythm of the cast, the rush of the water, and the sound of pelting weather on my jacket. The only thoughts I had were of fly selection and sensing tension on the line. In the next hour I caught nothing but released much. If not for the clock running out on this trip I could have done with a bit more casting and stepping through the healing water. And I wouldn't have minded another tug by a fish-shaped, nickel-bright object.

Life is busy right now. Demands both personal and professional seem to have peaked and there's precious little room for anything else. Like most of you I will continue to tuck away quick trips to the water; to find and preserve that something else that exists.

Some days it is just fishing. But mostly, it's something else.


  1. I actually like syrup, but in moderation and not on everything. I mean, you don't want syrup with everything, do ya?

    Nice piece there.