I just finished standing over the hot stove, reducing my neighbors gift of orange and yellow pear tomatoes into a concentrated sauce of evaporated juice-essence, a mingling of curry, cardamon pods, and honey bubbling with a little bit of sweet chili paste thrown in for good, spicy measure. It takes time to create a delicious sauce. One must take raw ingredients and create a dancing reduction of flavors. For some reason, this makes me think of this evening spent wading the waters of the American River.
I went to nature’s cup-board in search of summer steelhead, but the shelves were bare. .. not a grab, bump, pull, nor nip. This was par for the course for me these last weeks. The river would throw me a bone from time to time but, for the most part, the grocery store was closed. Okay. If you can’t have fresh ingredients then make a stew. And so, instead of catching, I started thinking… I left the river not with the pull of a surprised fish but instead , I went away with the reminder that catching fish, relative to this human being, has nothing to do with serious life or death consequences. I will not starve if my hook doesn’t find bone and flesh. I am not an Eskimo of the brutal, uncompromising North who must feed his wife and children with fresh blood and blubber because the nearest super market is thousands of miles away over the frozen tundra.
I fish because I love to submerse my being in the wetness of water, and observe the unfolding of a fly line’s beautiful oval.. I might have been a famous water polo player, inventor of the hangman’s’ knot, Christopher Columbus, captain of the tv episode, “The Most Deadly Catch”, or St. John The Baptist. But no. I simply am a recreational fisherman. Sure, I too am a professional who pays his rent and buys plastic covered USDA chickens with the earnings of an instructor and fishing guide. Hell. I simply love to fish… feel the pressure of a trillion acres of a mountain’s melting pushing against my legs. The water’s onrushing power reduces this fragile recipe of the flesh and blood of my being into a reveling bowl of ephemeral stimuli. My feet dig into the gravel of life in search of a foothold, for a sense of balance. I am a indentured space filling with sensation. Fishing is a place-setting of spoon, fork, and knife along side a banquet ware the main course is a dish of today. I can only hope for the desert of tomorrows. Bon appatit.