OK, so I’m lousy at New Year’s resolutions! I tried to keep up with weekly posts, but the last couple of weeks just got away from me. My sincerest apologies to whatever few regular readers I have out there!
The call of trout waters has finally about overcome me, and I’m going to try to break away later this week to feed the monster for a day or two. It’s still a few weeks too early for the best of West Virginia’s wild trout waters to really turn on, so I think I may explore some hatchery-supported streams in Western Maryland that I’ve been wanting to get to know a little better. Plus, it will do me good to shake off a little bit of the wild-trout-elitist attitude I’ve been fostering the past several years. I need to remind myself that there’s nothing wrong with catching stocked trout on pretty streams that can’t support wild fish. Especially if I can save 30-60 minutes of driving time each way to do it.
So I sat down at the bench today to tie a few flies and begin restocking my supplies. My primary fly box was pretty well decimated by my Montana trip last year and I haven’t tied a single fly all winter to refill it for this year’s season. I usually tie sporadically from about the end of December through early March, but I got a little lazy about it this winter for some reason. Anyhow, I got a start on it today, and hopefully I can gain some momentum over the next few weeks to get caught up.
The whole notion of trying to get caught up actually sums up the way life’s been around here this year. Excessive obligations, often coupled with a lack of energy with which to deal with them, have formed a season in my life that has been defined by an almost desperate feeling of running behind. I know some folks who overcome that feeling by just knuckling down and busting their hump until they get caught up, but for me it tends to lead to deeper lethargy and an overall feeling of listlessness. It’s like the more I need to be motivated, the less motivated I seem to become. And so the obligations pile up, and the energy to deal with them decreases.
Our Lenten sermon series at church has dealt with spiritual disciplines, and this week the topic was breaking the habit of “hurry” and finding the space in quietness and solitide where we can experience more of the fullness life offers. That’s probably what has been lacking most for me during this season of over-commitment and depleted spiritual energy. Usually, that’s something that can be cured by a few days of woodland trails and moving water. The places where trout like to live are the places where I tend to hear the quiet whisper of God most clearly and most deeply. It is at once like a pressure relief valve and a source of refreshment and renewal.
It will be a few weeks before I can break free long enough for the kind of multi-day expedition that I really need to completely recharge my batteries…an extended trip to my beloved Elk River or one of the many headwater brook trout streams I’ve become so fond of since I lost enough weight to hike into them without risking serious health issues. But until then, a brief respite on some new (to me) water should at least provide a measure of relief. Just to feel water flowing around me, to enjoy the smells and sounds of Creation, and to enjoy the mysterious duality that flyfishing offers–complete focus on the task of catching fish coupled with an equally complete opening of the mind and spirit–should be just what the doctor ordered.