Searching for the Rhythm of the Eel

The river swings away from the highway for a few miles, winding through tall trees and underneath moss-covered everything.  Standing halfway through the run, bitter cold of morning stinging my fingers, I notice the water slows to a gentle sound – more like soft voice than the chatter up top in the riffle.  Here the river is in slow motion it seems.  Someone forgot to turn the LP speed up and it all comes to a wonderful, easy pace.  Once a rhythm is established in the cast-swing-step dance, this place becomes very big.  Each tiny step swims the fly into a whole new world of water.  This morning, the water is perfectly slate green colored with the first rays of sun casting beams through the redwood boughs onto the water. Spotlights.  An early grab on the giant marabou prawn is an adrenaline rush and every subsequent cast becomes more intense – this is the ONE.

Climbing back up to the bank, looking at the clock in my truck and realizing that nearly three hours had passed on that one run… “I hardly had enough time to even think.  I didn’t quite fish the bottom as well as I could have.  I should have…”  Well these are the things that signify success beyond anything.  A fish to hand is always nice but success can be found in other, perhaps more deeply satisfying, ways.

Where one piece of water is pleasant and time gets lost, another piece becomes more challenging.  The water is too deep, too slow, too fast, too much of this or needing more of that. Time becomes more apparent, something potentially wasted, time to move on.  Impatience is like sour milk – toss it out and start fresh. So we go to new places. Still, we go to those places again and again just to make sure.  Or maybe we’re looking to find that patience in all the wrong places so when we come to the right place again, everything will be just as it is and fall effortlessly into place. Late in the day, sun casting shadows and light across everything, I find the proper water again.  Still, nothing on the grab, just patience and rhythm.

To be continued…

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