I am working on music last week, this week, next week…. I am recording and mixing some of my songs for a CD (Borderlands of Hell) I hope to someday actually release. I fish in the small time slots I find when my ears can no longer take the sounds I am making. I fished on the 31st of December and on the 1st of January, what follows are some thoughts I was able to write after I returned from fishing on the 1st. My thoughts on Home Water are not new for me and they won’t be my last, but below is the first time I have written on the topic.
Cormorant as black as the day is gray. Great blue heron also blending in with the day. Rain, steady and heavy, but not cold. I’m in 3mm waders and comfortable. Hands are a little red, but not too stiff to tie on a fly. I stand above my knees in the Russian River–fishing.
The river runs swifter today than it did yesterday. It is more brown than the steel-color it was. I can see the bottom from where I stand, so I know that if there are fish today, they will be able to see the fly. There are some kids upstream hunting with a pellet gun. I can hear their voices, but cannot make out words over the sound of the moving water.
I have an hour to fish, but today, as are many of my days on the river is actually about just being on the river, standing in the water, feeling the force of the current against my legs–my bodily strength and stamina against the river’s power. The feel of the elements against my skin, the smell of wet in my nostrils, the heat of my body against the chill air: these are the very things that enable me to sense my own life-force.
This is my home water. This portion of water is five minutes from my back door. It is this piece of the river that I allow to define the notion of “home” for me. I have learned these trails, grown accustomed to the sounds, learned to expect certain smells. I have come to understand its surprises. I would not be the same person I am if it were not for rivers and riparian zones. Water: the Puget Sound, The Metolious, The Auburn Ravine, the Eel River, Ash Creek, East Creek, various farm ponds around California, The Pit River, The Upper Truckee, The Carson River, the Yuba River, the Feather River, and the river that taught me so much about water, the American River.
I do not catch a fish today, but in the midst of my revere, a huge small mouth bass leaves the water chasing one of the ubiquitous may flies that are constantly hatching here, leaving the water once, and then again, slamming back in a depth-bomb like splash–one of those surprises.
No fish, but much reflection. The Russian River is supposed to be one of the fastest rising and falling rivers in the United States, and as I stand here it has risen around three inches, and has become gradually more and more murky. My hour is up, and I walk slowly back to my truck, and put my gear away, and drive home, or is it that I leave home?
In the coming week, I will get out to my place on the river once more. This is not a bad way to break up my workday: write, record, fish, take a few photographs, reflect on my place in my part of the world, and then go back to the studio and work a little more on music.