Along what is now a long path, I never really put too much thought into birthdays...well, other than anxiously looking forward to my grandmother's chocolate birthday cake. Some birthdays marked significant milestones like turning 16 and getting my driver's license, turning 21 and finally buying alcohol legally. On my 40th, my mother called to wish me happy birthday, telling me "you've now reached the age you've always been"! She had a way of keeping me well grounded.
At 70 you can't help but glimpse into the rear view mirror of your life. For me it's not to mourn my misspent youth or wonder what might have been, but rather to reflect on how the journey's been so far. I've always been more occupied with wondering what was around the next bend. Unfortunately you can't help but realize that the miles are getting short...something I don't particularly like to dwell on.
I've come to realize that my life so far has been more like a leaf that fell into the the stream from a cottonwood. I've drifted along with the currents. Sometimes hitting rapids that scared the shit out of me, but somehow managing to survive. I've drifted into foam filled eddies and just turned circles trying to find a way out. I've run through some fine riffles and had long stretches of calm easy currents where I could enjoy the ride.
Along the way I've had the incredible fortune to meet and befriend some interesting, talented people. I don't know how much I added to their life experiences, but they damned well enriched mine.
I had a long and successful professional career, didn't make much money, but hopefully made lasting contributions. It was for the most part fun, and at the end of the day I can look in the mirror and be proud that my honesty and integrity remained intact.
At an fairly early age I recognized I was a borderline type A personality, and had the good sense to keep it in check lest it destroy my family. But I found that fly fishing was the only way I could relieve stress of work and relax.
After my Mother passed away I was concerned that my Dad would just give up. About a month after my Mother's passing, I called him and told him he had a choice to make. He could sit in his chair and die, and if that's the road he took, whatever I inherited would be spent fishing all the places we had read about, talked and dreamed about. Or, we could both hit those places together. A few days later he called and said he'd never seen a casket with pockets or windows- let's go fishing! For ten years until advanced age took away his mobility, we fished two or three time a year. He was the one that pointed out how each day on the water my stress would wash away.
Maybe on some level the love of fly fishing was their final gift.
Next week we head to Montana. My kids will be joining us. Both my son and daughter have come to enjoy fly fishing though I'm not certain their passion for it is a strong as mine. But now I find I am no longer hellbent to hammer the water, but rather to relax and soak in the full experience, getting an added degree of satisfaction from their enjoyment.
I came to the Drake out of a curiosity about the 'new age' of you youngster fly fishers and discovered you're a hell of a lot more fun than those stuffy old geezers!
So to my new friends, those I've met and those yet to be met, thank you...you've helped keep me forever young!
I think the "BM" on this mound actually stands for "bowel movement"; one of Franzen's, if I'm not mistaken...
Best wishes and enjoy the trip north.
180 Degrees South
Thanks for the perspective.
"I took a Japanese whaling approach to panfishing as a kid." - Boomin
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Happy birthday Bigguy, and many more.
Next year you should celebrate by hosting Mitch.
"When I found the skull in the woods, the first thing I did was call the police. But then I got curious about it. I picked it up, and started wondering who this person was, and why he had deer horns."
we were basking in goodness here with our everyday drivel that we enjoy.... the rest of this is horseshit, flybug.pa.
Enjoy your trip!
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