Who among us can say exactly what happened to summer? Just yesterday it seems, the trees were budding out, the kids were fresh out of school, and the anticipation of the season lay out before us like an untouched banquet. Plenty of time to leisurely sample the delights of warm summer nights, camping trips, biking, vacation time, shorts, skirts and flip flops. Then all of a sudden, you realize its September, and half the things you set out to do are still in the ‘Yet To Get To’ bin. Leaves are starting to turn, the nights drawing in and getting cooler. At my age, I am pleading with life to slow down, so rather than say ‘why can’t winter go by as fast as summer?’, I ask ‘why can’t summer go by as slow as winter seems to?’
Of course, when you are guiding, it is even harder to take time out as summer is the season for making the proverbial hay -having a lot of free time on your hands is not a good sign. But still, wouldn’t it be nice if there was say one month every year where the normal rules of economics, not to mention supply and demand, were suspended, and we could all just take time to follow our bliss. Instead, fleeting moments of relaxation and leisure must be planned and jealously guarded.
Fortunately, for most people taking a guided trip, a day on the river is such a moment, to be savored, enjoyed and filled with as much laughter and frivolity as possible. Taking things too seriously is a no-no. Acknowledging your mistakes, celebrating your inadequacies as much as your victories, and relishing the decadence of a cold beer on the river before noon are all part of the experience.
This day was just such a day. The high drama of missed hook sets, fish broken off, lines tangled and flies lost were all in evidence, as were the joys of inch perfect casts, flawless drifts and beautiful healthy fish in the net. I never get tired of hanging out with people who are intent on having a good time, and who’s first inclination is to laugh when things don’t go according to plan. Such people are fun to be with, exude healthy energy, and while summer may have gone by in the blink of an eye, they help make sure it leaves me with a smile on my face.