It’s been a long off-season, but it has not been a season off. I stopped trout fishing back when the temps were in the 90’s and the rain had ceased falling, so I guess that was around the Dog Days of Summer. Fishing conditions were restored by early October, but I was consumed by other priorities….. three of them to be exact. Top of the list was to harvest a bull elk on public land. Second was to harvest a whitetail deer with a recurve bow. Third was to harvest a whitetail with my 50 caliber Hawken. Then, the “off season” would be over and I could again chase little blue lines.
Over the last decade my focus has shifted to the way I interact with nature – wanting to be on as even of ground as I can with the game I pursue. Not that I ever was much of a bait fisherman, nor was I one to hunt over bait – but I desired to go a step beyond that and to make it as intimate as possible. So I took up the fly rod, I began tying my own flies, I began reloading my own ammunition, I put away the compound and dedicated myself to the trad bow, and I carried a muzzle loader more than a rifle.
When one chooses to pursue things in this way, and it is a choice, one is choosing the harder path; but the path is much more meaningful. It forces you to slow down, demands time and effort, requires patience, deals many failures, and rewards with ultimate satisfaction.
And that path can take us along many beautiful places. Silent places. Lonely places. Places longing to be explored.
The path will show us things reserved for those who wander, those who seek, those who care to look.
In September a whitetail fell quickly to a 200 grain broadhead launched from my circa 1960 Bear Kodiak recurve. Then, on a crisp December morning, smoke hung in the air long after the echo of the Hawken went silent and the doe fell to rest.
And so another season is ending. I have returned to my tying desk and my thoughts are back to water over rocks and the delicate presentation of a two-weight in search of bright colors.
Seasons flow into seasons as we journey along our path. We choose what binds the story. Providence writes the rest.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. - Proverbs 16:9