I careen down a crooked cliff while daybreak is momentarily absent. My only source of light just flickered dead. Here I stand in the shade of dawn with my only guidance being led by a gut feeling.
I know this route like the back of my hand and my muscle memory manages to keep its forward progression. I look over the ledge. I see her and all of her beauty. The stars from above shine in her reflection. She is now my courier to the sanctuary of which I seek. I capriole down one last stubborn boulder of bedrock. I come to rest on the banks of her, the river.
The hue of the horizon is now painted in daylight amplifying through the darkness. Her surface is smooth and serene, almost as if it was glowing. Suddenly an impulsive eddy disrupts the pool’s surface. Life was sure to be bustling below. This was the spot.
I assemble the rod and attach her reel. I feed the line through its eyes and surgically tie a few knots. I tie a damselfly to the leader and choose my path of salvation. I crimp the barb and plunge into the midst of the river.
I wasn’t here to torture or eat. I was here to be challenged and become one with this river. I stumble erratically through the mystery below but my balance and the current accompany each other with poise. I don’t move for what feels like an eternity to allow the environment below a chance to breathe.
Time is frozen in this sanctuary like a statue; it has no beginning and no end. I can feel the warming touch of her through my waders and a chill is sent down my spine. I hone in on my point of attack.
The rod sways with a flexible and congruent civility. The looping line unloads and I present the damsel with precision. It lands on the surface with a rippling effect. I mend the line slightly upstream with ease into her capricious current. It floats with the elegance of a ballerina into a dead drift. The slack line glides through my fingertips and anticipation is pushed away by a belly of confidence. Without heed or warning the bug is swallowed.
The rod bends with the most industrious force that a pound of flesh has ever shown. I raise an imaginary roof with my arms and my hands clutch the reel as though I am praying to the heavens. My fly line darts some seventy-seven and some odd feet through the depths of her. I let the slack run until the pound of flesh seems weightless. I knew what was next.
The trout explodes from the surface beneath, taking one last shot at freewill. It dances with a suffocated beauty through the air. It falls back into its natural habitat ready to fight. I sling the tip of the rod above my shoulder with every ounce of satisfaction I have in my bones.
The hook finally sets itself. I loosen the drag and let it run. It grows tired quick. The weight of the struggle almost brings me to my knees but I am quick to regain balance. The fish rolls over a few times with the last bit of energy it wishes to exhaust.
I pull a net from my vest, as a knight would pull his sword to protect his queen. I gander with amazement at the audacious colors that God painted this flesh with. It is the most divine thing I have ever seen.
I release the hook and cradle it with fragility back to life. I look to the sky and commend the heavens for this dubious duel. I caress the fish of my life back to its habitat. With volatility it swims circles around me and through my legs as a sort of symbolic handshake. In a flash, it’s gone.
My roots are buried in the Dirty South. I grew up learning the importance of God and Southern Charm. I began writing in my late teens mostly through heartbreak and music. I moved out west 15 years ago and live right around the corner from the Fountain Of Youth. Most people refer to it as Lake Tahoe. I play Chef during the day and search for ways to save the world by night, through reading, writing, and believing. I enjoy the side of life that is less abrasive. I look forward to joining you on my quest through Spiritual Sobriety with the Promised Land as our ultimate destination.