"A Chance to Settle In"
Fall has arrived, bringing with it the anticipation of the coming winter. The outside world responds with a gentle sigh, and begins to settle in. If I allow myself to absorb this reduced pace, it will bring calmness to my inner world as well. A recent trip into the canyon to fish with a friend revitalized the process of observation, of acceptance and of slowing down. It is early October. The weather is magnificent; sixty-five degrees with light winds. The river flows have dropped and the angry rapids are replaced by soothing sounds reminiscent of backyard fountains. The energy of the river is alive as always, yet seems to accept that now is the time to enjoy the journey, instead of rushing into the present.
Each trip into the canyon brings new excitement and the anticipation of a stirring in my soul. Walking along the river's edge, I again find the peace and serenity that the river offers. I accept its greeting of beauty in both sight and sound. Today we will play together, complete in our journeys, opening new doors and strengthening our friendship. My fourth cast entices the rise of the first trout. It is a smaller rainbow that has chased a red ant pattern. I am slow to react and miss the opportunity. Shortly thereafter I hear a muffled holler from downstream. I witness the delight of my friend, his rod bent into the shape of a question mark, and smile as he lands the first fish of the day. Life has allowed itself to be unfolded through another joyous moment.
An hour passes without any more fish being brought to net, but the time has not been wasted. Gentle breezes cleanse my soul, which has been warmed by the radiant sun. With my shadow casting a threatening form, fish scatter away from the river's edge before I can lay my flies on the water's surface. A pair of ducks feed across the way, acknowledging my presence and accepting our proximity. I watch my friend work a section of water, patiently casting time and again, and then slowly moving downstream to restart the process. Even he is working the pockets of water at a slower pace. His rod is now bent again. We both smile as he turns his back to the river to untangle his flies from the naked limbs of a small tree. A small distraction and a necessary part of the why we are here.
It is nearly two hours into the day and I have yet to land my first fish. I have ventured further downstream in hopes of solving the mystery of the river. Climbing down the rocky banks, I encounter a large beaver lodge, constructed within the last three weeks. I often see signs of beaver activity along the banks...downed limbs lying in the water or along the shore, the tree trunks stumped in a gnawed and pointed fashion. This is the first completed beaver structure I have found. It is a magnificent piece of work, another gift of the river. Just upstream from the lodge, I manage to hook another rainbow...a bit larger, but he, too, manages to break free. I smile at our moments of play, the interaction cut shorter than I had planned. Sometimes I am not in complete control. It is only a short while later that I land my first fish of the day! It is another beautiful rainbow, this one taking a small copper john nymph. He is slightly larger than the other two fish I failed to land. After getting him into the net, I gently release him back to his world, grateful for his beauty, thankful for the moment.
The sun is now glancing off the top of the canyon walls as I return home. My desire to stay has been pushed aside, because I cannot enjoy another day in the canyon until this one ends. Later that evening my Tai Chi session runs nearly twice as long as normal. The flowing movements are much slower and are filled with the gentle energy from the river; fitting the resonance of the day now expired. The background music fills the mood expertly, knowing too, that all is reduced in pace and absorbed in completeness. I close my practice, gently swaying to the movements of water and sound. Life's energy is reverberating through my hands and then escapes into the universe beyond. Another journey into the canyon lies ahead...moments of time to be captured in the riffles of water, moving towards a destiny yet to be discovered.
© D. Miller 2009