It’s the kind of place you find near home, but only after years of trial and error. It’s the kind of place you head to for a day of solitude and beauty. You might go there for the birds and wildflowers, for a hike or easy ramble, for a hunt that only you can define. You might go there to inspect a population of native trout.
You might go there to relax or to forget what’s better left forgotten. You might go there to remember that the world is larger than it was while you were working. You might go there to remind yourself that people aren’t the center of creation.
There are trout and orioles and multiflora roses. Sometimes there’s a good friend with you, one who loves the game as well as you do, one who even claims to understand what it is you’re looking for.
You might go there to roughen up your edges, to enhance the texture of your time on earth. And you know it has to do with wildness.
If you’re like me, you might go there because you’re insufferable on occasion, perhaps a pain in the ass to others who might need some time to themselves. You might go there because it’s good for society (as if you really cared), which gets you out of the store and office for a while.
You might go there to find another green world– a place to renew your hope for all mankind. If you do that, my advice would be to stay open-minded. Nature doesn’t care to work with us, or to conform its ways to fit our personal needs. Be prepared for small surprises and the need for adaptation.
You might go there for the highlight of your week, but it’s possible that the fish won’t
bite. The bugs and heat and high humidity could be an unexpected headache. And that’s just part of the fun you’ll have.
You might go there for a grand finale of some sort. On this particular trip I stopped for a beer at the Old Tannery Saloon. The place was quiet, unlike a neighboring bar where the parking lot was filled with highschool grads and bikers and summerfolk. The grimy walls were covered with everything from a hanging bear trap to a photo of 20 topless ladies smiling on a yacht.
“Oh… it was good,” I answered, surprised that anyone had noticed my fishing shirt and hat in the dim light of the old saloon.
“What were you using?” The gentleman pulled his tipsy wife closer to his side.
“Dry flies. The fish were rising, especially on the East Fork.”
“Blue-winged Olive. It was that kind of weather. Dark and showery.”
The man and woman nodded vigorously, as if the pattern was the most reasonable response in the world. With a wave of the hand, they were out the door, and I finished off my Straub.
You might even go there as Jim Morrison went, who flew to Paris for the writing of poetry and song and never came back to the states alive. You might go there on the power of a song, as well.