Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Brink

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There is a borderline, a thin membrane that covers the world in all aspects. Your life, your job, your car, and of course your all-encompassing fishing addiction. On the opposite side of that borderline lies greatness or destruction. Maybe that membrane covers something as miniscule as a thought. Each floating thought stopped by a net that only bears two outcomes. Life or death. Maybe it is our will to survive that forces us not to complete a thought for fear of that one percent of failure. We strive for the familiar.
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One such story involves myself and the South Platte River. I hiked over a hill into a particularly fishy looking hole. It seemed a particularly brilliant plan. Fish where people won’t go. Dropping an 11th hour for well over an hour produced nothing. Time was running out and I knew the hour of fishing to come would turn out to be a better experience than the hour before. I tried different bugs to no avail. Sometimes while fishing, we change flies. This is not a normal practice for me. Yet, I changed the pattern. Knowing a new tactic would only inhibit my catching ability. This process pulled me out of the realm of familiarity. I knew what would work, and it wasn’t tied on. I looked up.
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When you are on the brink of greatness, you do things you wouldn’t normally do. You tie your right shoe with your right hand and left with your left. Accidents, like the tying of an RS2 because of your determination to tie a better comparadun. Then you go and do something crazy like tie on your original fly that didn’t work and fish the most overpressured water you can imagine, and it worked.
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I looked up again, death began to fall from the sky. A death I have become to familiar with. Lightning. I pushed the limits as fish began to rise to the bubbles pushed down from falling rain. I had made it this far. In the brink of life and death was success.
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What Dreams Are Made Of

There is a particular section of the South Platte River in Colorado that they nicknamed “The Dream Stream”. Who are “they”? I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that they need a stern talking to. Granted, in this context, dream simply means a state of perfection. Boring. With that being said, my mind automatically races to the irrational. For example, a place where the tables are turned, and while underwater you fish into the atmosphere for hot air balloons with gargantuan insects leading the way like reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh. With this thought, I really had to see what I was missing out on.
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The grass broke away before me. A slow downhill slope created by millions of years of water flowing through a nearly level valley. No trees, rocks, or marmot here, just a long slow walk into the unknown. The path arrow straight, from fence following fly fishermen, and a damn fine fence to boot! Trust me, you’ll have time to appreciate it on the hike in. Did I say hike? I really meant walk. The long plains grass issued forth moths and no big terrestrials, just boring, normal grass. Looking forward, the trail pinpointed into nothing. Much like a long straight road in Arizona or Nevada, it seemed to get smaller and smaller until disappearing into some void of another dimension. Truth be told, it might be a tenth of a mile, but it feels longer when you are awaiting Dali’s “Persistance of Memory”. Keep analyzing the fence, it helps.
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Upon arrival, you won’t be awestruck by what you find. No melting clocks, no insects pulling hot air balloons, and you didn’t even forget your pants. Lucky you! Just a plain old boring river with gigantic trout. After catching a few fish, I wondered what exactly makes this place dreamy. I sat on the bank next to a quiet bend pool, quietly pondering the dreamy origin of the river. Slow water, no cover, tons of fisherman, big fish (plus), quiet, slow flowing, relaxing… quiet, trickling water… relaxing, quiet… My sitting turned to laying as I was lulled to sleep by the river. That was it! I had found the reason for the dream part of the stream! It gently sails you off to sleep, to dream of the place you thought you might visit. The river was so quiet that the splashing of fish was my alarm clock. I woke up to the sound. My eyes cracked open to a perfectly clear blue sky, with little black dots. I rubbed my eyes, blinked, still there. I tried to focus on one, but there were blankets of them drifting in the breeze. I sat up and Amy’s Ant splashed the surface and was gulped in the same moment. The fish waited for these bugs. Fish after fish for a good 20 minutes and the blankets of bugs were gone, so were the fish.
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This continued for the rest of the day in the same bend. Sleep, alarm, bugs, fish. Every single time, I looked at the sky for those bugs. If they weren’t there, I went back to sleep. When I woke up for the last time, I smiled a smile that you can’t wipe off. The sun was setting as I walked back to my car. I didn’t even notice the fence. It wasn’t the most beautiful scene, as would be a high country sunrise. It worked as my lone cowboy ride off into the sunset and away from a place that I might never return to.
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Recollection

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Images of colors become flashes of hallucinogenic images. Images that began as a budding idea that pierced the veil of reality. A thought incidentally walked through the portal to become what we know now as a memory. Maybe it was real, maybe it was just a figment of your imagination. In our hearts we know it happened, but the insane also believe their memories are truth. It is a shame that memories are not tangible. Pictures might just be a white sheet of paper that our mind paints to be an image of the past, or maybe we just portray that to the outer world. Who really knows?

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There is a specific place that contains many of my memories. Ones that stand stagnant in a pool awaiting my arrival. Like old friends, crossing that threshold where the memory began, I smile. It is an acknowledgment of sorts, as well as a respectful admiration. Driving along the river, I slipped in and out of reality. Those hallucinogenic thoughts being revisited, if they ever really happened in the first place. The salad bag, the thin ice, the lost fish, the island, the slow day that Sanders broke the silence, the cutthroats, the shared beers and cigars, the carp, the stone, the massive hatch, the jerk, and my first Elevenmile Brown are just a few. The things that happened on this day were a culmination of all of those, small reminders of those big memories.

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Wading the river, the many thoughts found there way in. I spun a web as if it were through the act of casting, catching drifting memories as well as fish. This river, an old familiar friend, somehow spoke. We communicated through our silent connection, laying line out on the water as she moved it in directions she wanted it to go. A dance of mending, casting, and moving. I was alone on the river, we bonded. As we spoke, she told me of a memory to come. Throughout the day she showed me images of the present that became the inspiration to write of the past today, which is now gone. She holds them there now, within her canyon walls, always awaiting my return.

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