It is only fitting that on the last day of the year, in the last few minutes of light, on the night of a blue moon, and just when it was beginning to rain, I caught a fish. It was not a large as steelhead go, but it was large enough for me. It is what is called a “half-pounder,” and it took my reel out seven or eight times. I landed it and then I let it go. I caught it on some kind of orange contraption I purchased instead of tied, using a 10′ 6wt fly rod. Fishing is a mystical experience. Catching fish is like drinking an ice cold beer on a hot day from the frosted holy grail.
When I arrived at the Cloverdale Airport, which is really two strips of asphalt carved into the upper Alexander Valley below Cloverdale, the sky was leaden and heavy and was spitting short bursts of rain, but nothing that concerned me. I am a fisher-person, intrepid, resistant to the elements, and besides that fairly manly–but only if you ask me and not Cherie or my kids.
The ground was wet and I wondered if I should take my slicker, but I chose not to do so, manly you know. My boots are lined with gore-tex, and I wasn’t wading (next time), so I thought I could stay fairly dry. I did. It never really got around to raining until I was on my way out.
The air was so thick I could almost drink it. The light was so silver I could almost spend it. And the water ran like liquid steel. I walked in this like one who has been blessed–and I have. My life is as good as it has ever been. It has been better in 2009 than most almost all of the front part of it, and it will get better.
This past year I have been gifted with the ability to recognize the goodness and grace that surrounds me in the midst of some real shit. The world seems to be at war. Friends are losing homes and lifestyles. Cherie and I are financial wrecks. But the goodness and grace goes on!
Somewhere in the midst of the chaos I have been gifted with deep, inner peace. While it might be said that I have simply gone wackers and lost what little sense I had, I think it is something else. I have a needlepoint sampler on my wall given to me by an old woman whom I love very much, Lorena. It says, “A fisherman is a jerk at one of the line waiting for a jerk at the other.” This is so good!
I am claiming at the end of this year, that the jerk holding the line has finally hooked himself, and it was a catch well made. I have learned to love, but more importantly, I have learned to allow myself to be loved!
I believe this year, after sixty-six years of faking it I may have finally made it–I think I have finally become self-aware enough to be able to discern the difference between that which is seriously dangerous to me and my life, and is spirit threatening, and that which is simply inconvenient and annoying, and no where close to a tragedy. And the grace here is to be able to inhale the goodness and exhale the bad–and the grace tastes like life itself.
I am looking forward to more fish and to more grace in 2010.