Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Healing


He slips quietly into the water and gazes upstream. None of the nervous energy that permeates the opening moments of a typical outing is visible in his carriage. Quite the contrary, his shoulders slump with a grave weariness that resonates in the wispy mists that cling to the surrounding liquid surface, the numbing hush of distant whitewater, the dark edges of this secluded sanctuary.

It’s been difficult times.

He stands motionless, his soft stare remaining upward. He looks not for the dimples of rising trout or for the emergence of this morning’s hatch or for the locations of prime feeding lies. His focus, if there is focus at all, is much farther away. Beyond the cascade. Beyond the distant bend. Beyond his understanding, though he tries his hardest. He looks for an answer.

He looks for why.

After what seems an eternity he lowers his eyes and surveys the water close at hand. This trip was to be an escape from that which cannot be escaped, from the weight of it; an unconvincing capitulation to the harsh truth that the stream continues to flow despite his heart’s deepest certainty that all things should have stopped. He did.

But ingrained muscle memory eventually overcomes bone-deep inertia and he gently strips line onto the moving waters, a mossy green strand that drifts away behind him like sweet memories departing on the currents of time. With a quiet ease he retrieves these memories and sends them airborne, his subdued cadence imparting a graceful fluidity to his cast, a quality seldom experienced, before.

Remembrance swirls hypnotically around him in long, lazy loops. He surrenders to the rhythm, puts the weight aside, and lets his mind ride the soaring silk. He thinks of nothing more than the movement of arm and rod and line, the tumble of water, and the silent drift of a dainty wad of deer hair. He loses himself in the minutia. He forgets everything else…

…but for only a moment.

It’s a start.

15 comments:

e.m.b. said...

"…but for only a moment." Which perhaps is why we come back...

Haunting piece, Mike. Beautiful.

Mike Sepelak said...

Thank you, Erin. It is just exactly why we come back.

Sanders said...

The water certainly continues to flow. It's just nice to find ourselves between its banks every once in a while.

beautiful piece my friend.

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks Sean. And between its banks is a fine place to wash away the grit of the world. We don't do it enough.

Travis said...

"…he retrieves these memories and sends them airborne" …love it Mike, i feel that… an amazing piece of literature…. also, I love that leaf picture in the photo bin! money!

Mike Sepelak said...

Travis, my boy! Wonderful to hear from you. Hope all is well and that you are keeping the fires out and the fish nervous.

Thanks for the kind words. We've all had to step up our game to fill the hole left with the departure of The Tailout.

We need to find some water again.

Travis said...

Mike, thank you. Things are well. I still need to learn how to catch trout!! And yes definitely we should fish again. That was such a sweet trip. Keep up the awesome work buddy, I always enjoy it!

Mike Sepelak said...

Well, if you're looking to learn to catch trout, we'd better add Sanders and Chris to the trip again. You ain't gonna learn it from me. :-)

Travis said...

I thought that was a given ;)

Mike Sepelak said...

Ha! It was indeed.

Matt Smythe said...

The moments may be fleeting on their own, but string enough of them together and the memory is permanent. Beautiful piece.

Mike Sepelak said...

Perfectly true, Matt. Life is all about stringing the moments together. Thanks for that.

Austin Orr said...

Difficult times indeed. Inspiring as usual Mike. Reminded me of...

"I am encouraged when I see a dozen villagers drawn to Walden Pond to spend a day in fishing through the ice, and suspect that I have more fellows than I knew, but I am disappointed and surprised to find that they lay so much stress on the fish which they catch or fail to catch, and on nothing else, as if there were nothing else to be caught."

Mike Sepelak said...

A perfect compliment, Austin. ... as if there were nothing else to be caught. Those who know better are blessed. Thanks for the elegant Thoreau.

Gabe Langley said...

Thanks Mike