My brain tells me it’s too cold right now to brave blizzards, to stand in a freezing river flinging feather and fur to catch a wriggling piece of cold-blooded muscle. But my heart aches to hear the river rush and the hawk scream, smell the moss mixed with fallen leaves, to see a wild brown trout with red spots as bright as paint jump from a river as clear as gin, pulling on my rod, testing my skill.
It’s stupid to travel five-hundred miles over icy roads to catch dumb fish and drink beer and tell lies. I should stay home and do something more productive.
Not if I want to keep living.
I can drive slower and soak in more conversation from friends I’ve missed. Our stories are of life, hardships and joy, bringing our souls warmth and touching that elusive thing called humanity. The nights after the river are full of laughter at conquering a wily opponent, the brown or the rainbow that took seven changes of flies and three changes of depth to catch. Beer and gin are not the only tonic, nor required to put our minds at rest from the crazy concrete and computer worlds we have escaped, if only for a week.
When I fly fish I step into another world, one of here and now, of casting and drifting, of observing and breathing in nature: a balm that has healed my overworked brain time after time, year after year. Sharing it with friends is more than a pleasure—it makes my year. Without this, my heart would shrivel, and soon my brain and body would follow.
I fly fish for my heart.