Monthly Archives: April 2013

20/20 Hindsight, Foresight Perscription Needed

Trail maps usually list the length of the trail followed by the difficulty. In this case, things seemed normal. There were three levels of difficulty; Easy, Moderate, and Difficult. The map showed “Trail: 1.2 Miles; Difficulty: Difficult; Elevation Change: 800 Feet”. In my mind it said, “Trail: 1.2 Miles“… A walk in the park. In New Mexico, every single element here is out to kill you. There is no soft cushion of grass or a nice tree limb out there to hold you up when you fall. If there is, there is a rattlesnake in that grass and a black widow in that tree. I had forgotten what an unrelenting place this is. Soft and well worn Colorado spoiled me. No worries about cactus and yucca, just big wide trails. Colorado does have some tough trails made for equally tough people. I know trails that have taken lives. Each time I hit a “trail” in New Mexico, I find myself surprised. However, it is no surprise to me that the fishing a quarter of a mile upstream is so good, if you make it alive.

the steep climb

Looking over the map, lights turned green and I was off with haste. Within 5 minutes I was bleeding and suffering from a twisted ankle. 10 minutes, torn shirt and bruised elbow. 1 hour, soaked from the shoulder down. 1 hour and 10 seconds, the smile on my face would not go away. As I chased fish too big for the stream down river, I dropped into holes that instantly dropped four to five feet from ankle deep. I was wet and sore, bleeding and smiling, cold and thinking.

redbow_edited-1

Losing track of time is not alright when you are deep in a canyon. The sun sets at five and sunset is closer to six, giving a false idea of how much light you have left. With the idea that the trail is 1.2 miles, I poked around the stream a fraction of a bit too long, the fishing was almost too good. Before long, I was fishing in the actual sunset and light faded quickly. Not knowing where exactly I was, I figured simply hiking up the steep hill behind me would reveal the trail. A shortcut, back country style. When I could see the point, to my right, there was also another parking lot. I had hiked in well over a mile upstream. I remembered passing a large dead ponderosa and could see it in the distance, but light was fading fast. It was time to put the screws to the hike. Scrambling over sage and cactus, the incline began to become steeper with each step. Then again, the burning in my legs could have simulated the effect.

When in peril, sunsets begin to fade exponentially. The same can be said about life. They say that just before you die, your life flashes before your eyes. I began to think that if your life flashes before your eyes like the fading twilight, the time is not nearly long enough. Before I die, I want to relive my life entirely or not at all. Every scratch, bruise, the time I crashed my bike for the first time, when I laid in some long lost trail for hours not able to move on, the heartbreaks, and every moment in between. They also say hindsight is 20/20, but no matter how well we can see something we can not feel it, nor can we bring it back. If we planned it all to work out perfectly in the end, where would we be in life. If we saw the future, we would know what to expect and every moment leading to that one event and would be diminished by knowing. I had found my old tree. It came to me then, the tree never asked to be in this place. It just happened to tumble here and take root. Such is life. We can plan and make goals, but our actions do not make our future position. Our lives are one big beautiful tumbling accident. Sometimes, we take root and grow where we never expected. If we try to change it, our roots will be in sand and we will not be able to grow to our full potential.

under


The Ghost of the Ark and Other Conjured Spirits

Sometime in March, somewhere in the ethereal world of note-making, it was penciled in. Maybe a floating red X on the grid of a calendar that marked Sundays and new moons, but never an old one. Calendars who document the past and loosely plan the future can also be viewed as being human in a way. We vividly remember the good and bad times, but only look to the future. We know that the sixth is on Thursday, but the things that happen that day are up to the Gods that dictate randomly unplanned events in life as the lesser Gods follow up and mark a black X on the days that have passed. The X’s creating a trail like breadcrumbs on a path that is leading somewhere unknown. It is that essential element of life that leads us here. Those damned black X’s. Sometimes it feels as though they know. They are on the inside, collecting memos from unseen corporate entities that flank us like hidden armies in the distance. Yet, we find ourselves waiting for the calendar to be that one day that may or may not be set in stone, marked loosely in red.

The asphalt pushes tar between cracks in an aged road that thumps beneath tires. Rhythmically, like a progressive jazz drummer in a metal band, he somehow keeps track of time in his odd way. The seconds melt away in 13/9 time as I build polyrhythms by beating thumbs against the steering wheel. The waiting game. Waiting while moving. Irony in motion. I was not the only one in this predicament. From the north came a man more than willing to meet halfway. Sanders. Although I can not speak for him, I’m sure he was in his car singing along to the radio, I would like to think he was milling over some last minute paperwork. As a friend, he made the trip. Like old friends, we met.

Life catches up to everyone at some point. That calendar and the X never marks the day your life changes completely, it just happens. As humans, we are accepting and adapting to those changes all of the time. Our greatest works come from some of the most troubling times. Our moment to shine is often humbled by our minds terrible way of holding on to matters that are out of our hands. Matters that may not matter at all in the grand scheme of things. Since Sanders and I found ourselves in the same place at the same time, our plans were now etched and we had to deal with our matters in the only way possible. To fish.

Sanders
After a small tumble, Sanders said that it wasn’t a good sign. I know otherwise. A fall, a broken finger, bruised and bloody elbow, torn waders, all mean that your day will end with a bang. Maybe that bang doesn’t happen on the river, maybe a realization long after the fact. In time, that not so great day of fishing turns into a reflection of why you are on Earth. A rememberence of being alive. The day the world threw stones and you stood up. You shook your fist and the world fought you tooth and nail. In the end, you find that she was against you but you made her bend to your will just slightly. A day that you inevitably won. A day that would shake the foundation of any other man. At the end of it all, I couldn’t ask for more fitting friend, a more fitting fisherman, a more fitting writer.

arktrout

Meanwhile, in a snow covered canyon, flurries of thoughts left fresh powder in a room heated by a small wood stove fueled by perseverance. Something overlooked in our push-button society, but not by any who has ever collected wood. Around a table we sat, cultivating a garden of feathers and fur between us. Much like the conjuration of a spirit, three minds in a trance, spirits were created as spirits of another kind were consumed. Alchemy dripped from pillars of brass and steel. The fur of a squirrel, a wire of gold, the eye of a newt, sew together on steel barbs, just another magic trick in the book. Does it float? Will it swim? Does it fly? This was the mantra in the back of our minds and we all knew it. It is all part of the order. Behind the spinning of thread and wire, of bead and fur, of feather and glass, we created. New life was born, new red X’s appeared. Thank you Erin and Jay for being welcoming as usual.erin and jay


The First…

Well, I went and did it. Here’s the part where I clinch tightly and see what happens.