Sometimes, you can get swept up in your own little agenda to such an extent that you wouldn’t know a good time if it bit you on the ass. We can get so self centered that what are seminal moments in the lives of those near and dear to us pass us by because mentally we are elsewhere. Or so I rediscovered this weekend. Initially it started out as a weekend born of frustration. A trip to the Black Canyon is always one of the highlights of my annual fishing calendar, especially during the stone fly hatch. It is a special place any time of the year, but the opportunity to throw ridiculously large dries at ridiculously large shameless fish is a hard one to pass up. But pass it up I did, as a combination of work and family commitments saw me reluctantly remain in Salida.
I had visions of a great video report showing the Canyon in all it’s splendor, and me catching a bunch of large fish to boot. Visions of camping out with some great friends, lots of beer and good food, and no cell phones or email. But after taking the decision to forego the opportunity, once I acknowledged a combination of parental and professional responsibilities, I actually impressed myself by realizing that maybe, if I payed attention to the here and now, and didn’t devote too much time and energy focussing on “what ifs”, a silver lining would emerge. How often does something happen that at the time makes you think “bummer”, but with the benefit of hindsight turns out to be a blessing?
Firstly, I determined that if I couldn’t go and fish, I would at least indulge in my second favorite passion this time of the year, mountain biking. So up early on Saturday morning, I set off to ride a local, quasi legal trail that begins with a seven mile climb. Imagining myself as Lance Armstrong, I completed the climb in record time, for me at least. As I gained the summit in severe oxygen debt, and sat down gasping for breath, a younger rider smiled and cheerily waved “Hello” as he rode effortlessly by. A note to all those of youth out there [ namely anyone under forty ]: make the most of it, because the day will soon come when you can no longer scratch your ear with your big toe, or stand next to a wall and pee higher than your head.