When we aren’t fishing; when we aren’t tying flies; or tidying our garage; or checking the loop-to-loop connections on our shooting head fly lines; when we aren’t lost in the blogosphere; messing with a crackberry; working at an actual job; checking the tides and long-term weather for our planned fishing trips in August, and September and October and November; when we aren’t making sure that the moths haven’t started eating our lifetime supply of hot orange saddle hackles – – – – –
Sometimes, we do other things. Maybe not often enough. Probably not often enough. But fishing and everything related fishing is so deeply embedded in our psyche, that all things fishing are with us most of the time.
Sometimes we take our family to Sweet Home, Oregon. A hedge of blackberry bushes separates our camp area from property that was formerly a day-and-night bustling Weyco log and lumber handling area. Railroad cars that once were filled with National Forest timber, headed for anywhere and everywhere, have sat, unmoving for decades. The rate of tree-cutting was unsustainable, so the crash was inevitable, but it was devastating to rural communities like Sweet Home. One of the men I fished side-by-sde with on the South Santiam in the 1960s, Bill, worked at the Mill in Lebanon. Years later, I met one of his sons, working at the Lebanon McDonald’s. No Mill Job for him. Wonder what happened to their family.
Sometimes we see an absolutely fantastic Keith Urban concert, seated waaaaay in the back. But Keith usually goes through the crowd, brave man, and does a guitar riff from a little stage back where the non-VIP concert-goers can see him up close.
We might wake in the night to see a big Ford pared about ten feet away, staring silently at us, and hope they engaged the parking brake.
We realize that the recession is more real to some families than it is to others. There had to be at least ten million bucks in new trucks, motor homes, campers and so on, just in the little lot behind Mcdonald’s last weekend. I dove along Foster Lake and Green Peter one afternoon and was reminded that there are way more 100-thousand buck party boats than puny little Prams, Driftboats, or FlyFishing Sleds. We just congregate in different places, so we rarely see each other.
Sometimes we’re up at 5, sipping coffee while our family sleeps in, listening to Brad Paisley sing —
“well I love her, but I love to fish”
Sometimes we lounge under a tarp, before marching off to wait in line to get seats 300 yards from the stage.
We are grateful for our SOTAR sleeping pad.
Sometimes we smile at 4 days of good honest dirt.
Sometimes, we marvel at how a Yeti cooler can keep ice — ice — after needing to replenish the frozen water twice in our normal coolers.
We get home, drive down to Eugene to see Joe Koffler and stand in a fly fishing powerboat, for the very first time. Still in the shop at Koffler’s. The trailer is loaded on a flat-bed, ready for a trip to Portland to receive a dip in the galvanizing tank. A week, maybe, and I’ll be on the water, trying to figure out where the “start” button is on the outboard.
Then it’s home to the work of drying tents, awnings, and re-sorting saddle patches. Maybe I do need another dozen Kingfisher Blue Eurosaddles to palmer my Comets.
Salmon season is just around the corner, I think, and the weekend will involve some sea run cutthroat hunting.
If we come to our senses for a few days, we are grateful for non-fishing time with our family, people who love us no matter what.