I haven’t fished in over twelve weeks… not since my son (and fishing partner) left for the Army, and my life quickly filled with work obligations, home chores, and hunting seasons. As late summer changed to fall, I was forced to choose between pursuing brook trout or pursuing meat for my freezer. The deeper I fall in love with fly fishing, the more I feel like I am feeding two wolves come October… do I head for a mountain stream or do I hang a stand over a scrape line? Maybe someday I will have time to do both.
And just like that, it is now winter, and we sit on the brink of a new year. I’m not sure I was done with the current year – so much left unfinished, too many experiences missed, and moments taken for granted. Regardless, such evolution is the way of life.
The milestones of our lives often come unexpectedly, with varied emotion and impact, and sometimes they are so subtle we miss them. Other milestones are more rhythmic, more predictable, more planned…. a cadence by which we can measure time and comprehend change. Either way, we navigate what comes, we learn, and we move on, all the while time quietly eases past.
As I look back, and as I look ahead, I see the same need for me, and for all of us. We need a little less negativity, a little less news, less screen time, less noise. We need more silence, more stillness, more books, more quiet hobbies. We need perspective. We need compassion. We need to ask more questions and express less opinions. We need to be truly present with the moments of our lives. We need to spend more time in prayer.
May we all look back over our shoulder with appreciation for what the year taught us, for what we got to experience, and for what we made it through. Then may we look forward with quiet excitement for what comes next.
And tomorrow, as the sun comes up, we will step out into the next evolution of time. As we step, step softly, and enjoy the trail.