” Despite all, I shall always return for more, for I can think of no other place that soothes as it rankles me, crushes yet caresses me, and no place I hold higher. Times spent on Silver Creek are mercifully not measured by fish count. They are gauged by the hours spent wading the currents, reveling in the surroundings and relishing the whole, in spite of the sometimes agonizing parts. ” A River Journal -W. David Joye
my daddy wrote about rivers.
he understood rivers- or at least spent the better part of his life trying to.
because every devoted angler must know and understand each curve and current of his playing field. my dad was more studious than most. he and the river spoke to each other- and would dance together in the knee deep current for countless hours.
i can still picture him there in his waders with fly rod in hand, standing in the sway of a mountain stream with the warmth of late afternoon sun falling down around him. these images are intrinsically woven into my childhood.
when the sun sheds a golden hue down and the world somehow feels less harsh for a moment.
it stirs my heart and soul with nostalgic thoughts and longings that have been luring me for a lifetime. luring me to look for beauty and the luster that life can sometimes offer.
its the same luster my father sought so unashamedly after and drove his pursuit for wild beauty until the day he died. he was tireless and unwavering but he knew the pursuit to be maddening and sometimes wanting. because perfect beauty most often comes in illusive flashes and parts instead of a satisfying fill.
still he chased on. after adventure and the ideal. he dreamed and wandered and reached and thrashed under the weight of every dreamer’s affliction.
the affliction of wanting out of life what sometimes it cannot offer.
at least not as a whole.
and so those of us who carry this affliction must learn to receive those parts as they come. to let the beauty settle down on us like the warmth of the golden hour. we can’t hold it tightly- for it vanishes within our grasp. we must learn instead- to remember.
to hold and keep in our souls, the beauties of life in their parts. to somehow absorb them through our skin and let them find a home there. and to understand that this quest will be met with it’s share of angst and tension and disappointment- right along with it’s glories and breadth.
the clever thing is to figure out how to hold loosely to both parts. to learn the art of catch and release.
just like fishing for wild trout. the end goal can’t be just the catch. it’s also about the fight, the hope, and taking in the moments on the river. because an experienced fly fisherman knows he is merely entering into the movement of what already exists. he is entering the river with as much grace and ease as he can muster to join in nature’s dance and cast his line ,catch his prize, then to let go. release.
this is what keeps it all in balance. it’s the creed of all respectable fly fishermen. this is why my dad always taught me to not take myself so seriously. he knew the art of holding and letting go and of taking in life’s beauty in it’s parts.
ironically, we spread my daddy’s ashes in the pristine waters of his beloved Silver Creek. it was a sacred and sober moment for us, his 5 children as we stood creekside at dusk. with the warm sun upon us and the evening hatch falling gracefully onto the water’s surface, we said a final good bye. he would have hated us for dirtying the water but in the end we decided it was where his remains should be left. because , after all, this is where his parts felt the most whole.
so whenever i can, i stand in the river’s current and let it wash past. trying not to miss the parts as they go by…for if there is anything i have learned thus far in life..it’s that if we miss the parts, we’re bound to miss the whole.
for daddy who had a way with words and rivers and fish. and though he was an imperfect man, he loved me well. i will always picture him standing knee deep in those gentle waters of the Idaho rivers , waiting and hoping for a fish to rise. every golden hour reminds me of him and its because of him that i keep fighting to find beauty…wherever it lies.