Journal notes from quality destinations across the country...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Cycle of the Seasons and Our Lives

Whether thou liv’st more winters, or thy last
Be this, which Tyrrhen waves ’gainst rocks do cast.
Be wise! drink free, and in so short a space
Do not protracted hopes of life embrace,
Whilst we are talking, envious time doth slide:
This day’s thine own; the next may be denied.

23 B.C.

We often overlook the joy of hanging out together casually when we are fishing.  I was grateful to everyone who came out with me in 2013.  There was a different face on my boat almost every outing and I enjoyed that.  But I didn't stop to think about it.  Not until January when I answered my cell phone and heard bad news on  a gray, rainy afternoon. 

Mike, my brother in Michigan, fell victim to an aneurysm and was gone at the tender age of forty-six, leaving behind a grieving wife and six kids, not to mention the entire congregation of the Bible Church he pastored.  I had just talked to him at Christmas about the air miles I was saving for the fall and the rivers we would fish together.  Instead I spent the miles on a flight to snowy Michigan in the heart of winter to attend a funeral that broke my heart.  The snow and ice and nine-degree weather seemed oppressive and all the hugs and tears only worked to amplify the nagging feeling that the world was either coming to an end or was stuck in time in a place I didn't want to be.
The seasons cycle as they must.  Winter will turn to spring shortly and then I will be surprised to be out on my favorite lakes again so soon.  Life cycles, too.  We just don't like to think about it.  I thought I would pass before my little brother but God had other plans.  I took for granted all those casual times we fished together and now I vow I won't do that with my friends and family this coming season.  
The seasons of life having cycled, there will be no more trips with Mike.  I wish it wasn't that way. 
But I look forward to seeing him in eternity and I trust, as many do not have the faith to do, that God will let us fish again together.  After all, everyone knows the disciples were fisherman and John, Jesus' favorite, was a dry fly fisherman...   I have faith.
Rod and Mike (1975)
Fishing a creek from our childhood in western Washington (2006)

Bass fishing together in the Everglades - his favorite place (2000)
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."
Jn 11:25-26

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
Ps 116:15


2013 Was a Great Year

What to say about the year past?  Another big year on the water should result in a lot of great memories but for some reason I go into 2014 thinking about the year to come instead.  I guess I'm writing this so late that I am already excited for spring to arrive.  But I can't shake the nagging suspicion that last season was all a prelude for what will follow here shortly...  Hope I'm right. 
I hit all of the usual haunts in 2013 and fished with more people than usual - I must have been out with 25 different folks and that's a lot for me.  They all shared various levels of interest in the sport, by which I am hinting that some were lowly gear guys quickly blessed and forgiven for their sins so we could enjoy a selection of venues together. 
Here is a sampling of what we saw together.  And here’s hoping your time on the fly was even better.
High desert lakes on the east side of the state dominate the spring.  Bass are mandatory fun in May but I am sick and tired of being outfished by my friends.  Dang it!  One of these years the best Bass photo will be of one I caught. 
A healthy Largemouth Bass

A boy and his truck equal good times
The bay boat on Banks Lake
Mid-July to September was all about the lowly Pink Salmon.  A pest to the guys who chase Kings and a godsend to in-shore shallow water boys like me and my compadres.   Up at 4AM for each outing and out on the salt in time for sunrise.  There were 26 trips made and 88 fish landed.  It's too bad the word "awesome" is over-used...  So is "epic" and so is...  Well, you get the point. 
View of Mt. Rainier from Puget Sound

David with a nice 6 1/2 pound Pink Salmon
Sunset on the salt
A little lake in October became the stuff of dreams as I found one eighteen-inch trout after another to slam the Sealbugger I was slinging.  One guy was doing better than me with Chironomids but I figured I was having more fun strip-setting on aggressive takes than he was half-asleep waiting for his bobber, I mean strike indicator, to wiggle.  A couple other guys paddled by looking a little downcast and having trouble finding any biting fish.  I wished them well, knowing that could easily be me on the next lake.  But on this day I was king and enjoyed my time in charge of the kingdom. 
Lilly pads and quiet water
A fat Rainbow Trout in western Washington
There were thirty-seven outings in 2013.  Not bad for a guy with a day job.  And with any luck, I'll have a similar story to tell next season... 
The Seattle skyline
as seen from a boat launch in West Seattle