This was something I wrote in about 2002. I like it. I save it. I cherish the inspiration of it.
After a near sleepless night, the fisherman arrives at his beloved river in the frosty darkness that echoes nature’s recent changes from summer to fall. In the light, if there was any, he knows he’d see the leaves that were vibrantly green the week before now yellowed and hanging precariously on the branches, soon to fall in an autumn breeze. The fisherman puts on his uniform of waders and boots, still wet from a previous trek, and partially rigs the rod for the walk to the spot – the place in his mind, just upstream, where the steelhead are resting after making their incredible journey.
As the electric blue glow of his headlamp illuminates the well-worn path, the husssshhh of the river comes through the trees, over the berry bushes and grows steadily in volume as he winds through the small wood that lines the moving water. Sounds of rhythmic splashing rise over the white noise of the water, a signal that the salmon are here to dance in the gravel and die or die trying. The irony and beauty of the sound of this natural cycle brings an uncontrolled grin to his face as the angler merges from the wood to the edge of the living water that holds so many mysteries and promises. He’s not after the salmon, but knows they are part and parcel of the cycle that brings the mysterious steelhead upriver to him.
Finally at the edge of the water in the darkness, he rigs THE fly combination that will bring success and sets the rod down.
Then I pray. Every time. It may be quick, or it may take me several minutes. I pray for my family, I pray for my fellow fly fishers if I know their needs, and I pray for myself. I feel closest to my God when I am standing in the misty darkness at the edge of the river. In that moment, I know that all I see and feel was created by a God who knows what I feel, and how I feel it.
As he steps into the water that is now reflecting the predawn glow, he casts a short line out, swinging it out and casting again, with a little more line. He has learned that in the early hours, the fish lie in the slower shallow water waiting for the first light.
While the sky transitions from the blue darkness to the rosy shades of the dawn, the steelhead become active again after a night of piscine repose. If he’s blessed, has the right presentation and the right fly and no less than just the right amount of luck, a familiar tug will pull the line, to be met with a tug on the other end of the line to drive the barbless hook home for the ride…
O sinners lets go down
Let’s go down, come on down
O sinners lets go down
Down in the river to pray.
– Alison Krauss