Wednesday, 10 December 2014

I Should Be Fishing

I should be standing knee deep in an ice cold, rushing river, my legs protected from the bone-chilling cold by the insulation of my neoprene waders, my feet firmly planted on the river bed in my felt bottomed wading boots. I should be feeling the pulse and push of water winding its way from frozen mountain tops to the wild Pacific, its twisting dance a test of my balance and strength, its spray as it hits rocks flashing droplets of chill on my face.

I should be holding a powerful, flexing fibreglass fishing rod, bent near double under the strain and pull of a wild salmon running away from this unknown force dragging it from the safety of the river bottom, the wet of the line in my hand as I balance the retrieve and slow the free run of the level wind reel using my nylon rutted thumb as a brake. I should be shifting, adjusting my position to keep myself vertical and this denizen of the deep hooked, using my body as both a standing post in the water and a flexing willow as I work my way towards the shore.

I should be watching around me, checking for others who are doing the same dance with destiny that my catch and I are doing, making sure that I don't get trapped in other lines, making sure that there are no creatures of the forest lurking shoreside to make short work of all my efforts, taking their dinner from my endeavour in the river.

I should be fishing.

Once this was my life, standing on the banks of wild rivers, casting and retrieving until fate honoured me with a catch, feeling the bite of the icy wet wind rolling across the dark and dank forests bordering these coastal rivers, smelling the rot of now dead salmon who have given all they had to bring about the next generation, seeing the scavengers make what they can of this annual harvest of protein, bulking themselves up for the cold of winter almost upon us.

Once this was my life, traipsing the river bank, seeking the spot, that place where I could feel the power of the water, sense the salmon beneath the surface, where I could know that success was simply a matter of time, patience, and perhaps a bit of skill. It was my life to walk the forests along the riverbank, dodging the drips from condensation heavy cedar boughs, picking my way over the moss covered giants that once stood tall in this land of green. It was my life, and then it was not.

I should be fishing. I am not.


  1. Hi Richard. I think you have a beautiful way with words. I found myself here after doing some research. Two friends of mine have faced the battle with ALS. Have you ever considered pulling your favorite blog posts and publishing them? Self publishing has never been easier, and you can do it at almost no cost. Especially if you use your own picture or a picture you have taken as a cover.

    1. Hi Debra. Many people have suggested that I publish these entries. I will leave that up to my children. There's lots of ALS books out there.