Fly fishing absorbs me. I have no sense of time. I don't feel I am existing within a specific measurement of time's passing. It is instead a world made of many movements. Each has its own measure, its own variables, its own manner of contributing to the whole.
Fly fishing is my movement. As surely as the glimmer of my fly line disappears into the willow's shadow over the current before me, it inserts me into the verse I have emersed myself in, the poetry of all movements combined.
Somewhere in the air is the invisible shadow line. I can't see it until my line, then leader, then fly, find it. I know it is there only when I send something into it. In turn I know I am most wholly aware, that I have found my proper fit, when my actions find other invisible lines and help me cross over them. It is what I don't see and yet come to know, the birth of an understanding and the intimate intuition which comes with complete involvement, that are the rewards of my efforts. These are the lures I rise to. That and the fact that I am good enough to catch fish. Catching fish is definitely part of it too.
Swallows find the shadow line. They flash in and out of it so fast it is difficult to keep track of them until they are away, banking in steep, incredibly facile turns. Below them a lucky fisherman is caressed by fat light. Color is never richer, the world could never be as beautiful as it is right now. How can each sunlit evening be so specially blessed? The shadows claim the creek's banks. Inside the shadow the water still flashes, no longer with the sun's blinding glare but with captured fragments of deepening blue sky. Blue is a cold color, but summer sky blue is always warm. I have never tried to figure it out. I don't need to. It looks great in the water that way.
The afternoon has been a good one. I've caught several fish and missed many others. It is getting late. In the final minutes I start rushing, taking two fish on two casts from the exact same spot in the pool above the bridge going into the farm. The second fish feels a little matter of fact to me. It is time to quit.
I can taint a wonderful afternoon too easily by finishing it in a frenzy. There isn't enough light left for me to make it back to Picket Fence Pool tonight. I don't mind. I know the fish are feeding there. Far back under the bridge, in the deep dark you can't see into, a big fish will splash once or twice. The spinners are dancing. A few will find the webs where I will see them displayed tomorrow. The valley turns away from the sun quickly at last, or at least so it seems.
There is something very nice about ending a day by removing my fly and listening to my reel gather up line in the twilight. Bats are out. The shadow line has been replaced by the silhouette of the willows and trees against the last of the light in the sky. This is the line the bats cross back and forth over. They have just started their night's contribution to the movement but it is time for me to end mine for now. I take the short cut through the graveyard again, crawl under the fence. Not far beyond, I pause to rest for a moment. It is a harder go, climbing up the hill. I check my bearings against a lone tree growing beside the stone pile on the skyline, then turn to look out over the valley and lose what is left of my breath.
Every star in heaven has come down to dance in the meadow. It is awash with fugitive twinkling from side to side, except for a dark channel snaking its way through the middle. The fireflies are out. I've never seen them like this. Beyond them the dairy farm's yard lights are on. More warm lights are shining behind curtains in the farm house windows. The real stars hang above the ridge tops and the Milky Way spans from side to side.
When I am ready, I turn to climb again, moving in the wake I made earlier, kicking the grass back in the opposite direction. I am walking in old footsteps and I know that regardless of which way I follow them they will always take me where I want to go.
Copyright © 1998 by Bill Logan. All rights reserved. No part of the preceding may be reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the author. All inquiries should be addressed to the author via this websight or by e-mail to the author. "
Click here to
view the archived articles.
to send comments or feedback on this
here to check out a river near you.