Let’s leave the obsession discussion and just dissect what is going on… In my life of 100 things to do on multiple to-do lists and constant planning, evaluating, judging, discussing, deciding- I seem to always be looking forward, looking to the next thing on the list. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just modern life- responsibility. Only in wilderness are there moments, minutes, hours and maybe even days where all my thoughts, feelings, and intentions are focuses only on that moment. Time stands still- there is nothing else in the world, just this place and this moment. I become attuned to details- the color and texture of the rocks, the layers of current around me, the simple tools of my trade, birds, insects, specs of transparent string, the texture of dry rabbit fur. So much of my life seems to be inside my mind, living in my thoughts except here, where my mind turns inside out and the outside world permeates all thought. All of the world around me is totally oblivious to my presence. Except for a few landed trout and the occasional intrigued bear, I am irrelevant. This has been here for a million lifetimes and will be here millennia after I’m gone. I am temporary. All around me is permanent. This truth is peace.
Another friend was surprised that this would be my 9th pilgrimage. “Don’t you want to go to some other awesome place and catch other exotic fish?” I thought about that for a minute, “Ya, I suppose I do-“ and then I gave him the “rationale” for why I’m going back to the same river basin; cost, have it figured out, world class fishery…. But really I’m developing a deep connection with this particular place, the familiarity is both comforting and enriching. To not go starts to feel like a betrayal. This wilderness has given me so much, how can I leave her for even just one summer? Yes, I do want to cast to other species in other places- but that seems like it might lead to a list.