It was a boom year this past winter and that meant working long
hours and weekends.Looking back, it was hard keeping all of the
threads together. Family, work, paper trails, other commitments.
It all needs time. A loose end here and there is not the matter so
long as the house is made of brick.

The company I contract to wanted me to bill for the extra time put
in but I wanted the time back in my pocket. Two weeks. Lots of time.
Time for ……… hmm? What were the things I used to do, who
was the man I once was?

Eyes front, head and hands to the task. A decade and now my boys
are growing strong, the youngest is six this year. Six and sixty. The
ages of independence. As a family, we gain greater mobility with
each passing season.

Spring break up came late this year and with it came my two weeks.
I didn’t know what to do with this leisure and didn’t get off my butt
really for the first week, just some odd chores around the house.

My thoughts turned to the river of my youth and I remembered well
the freedoms found there. That the river flowing through my city was
a world famous fishery drew a parallel irresistible to follow.  My fly
rod has been in storage (lost I had thought) pretty much since I got
off the plane from Argentina but find it I did and made my way down
to the Bow.

The day was bright and the water cold as I stepped into the past
and was a young man once more. A swirl of breeze on the water,
spring fluff dancing in the air, anticipation the key emotion as I cast
to the edge of the main current where a trout might lie.

They say a river is like a woman. Just when you think you know
her she changes. An old mans tale, that. A river I can understand
the change and see the reason for it. Like just about anything complicated
and diverse, women included, a river takes time to get to know her.
And so with the first cast came not a fish, but a window.

Every day save one in that second week I was there on the river,
casting from the bank or wading to where I could cast to the head
of a pool. Between four and seven fish each day I caught, browns
and rainbows, the largest maybe half a pound in size.

My sons became caught up in the excitement they could see in my
eye and a fishing trip was panned and planned for the approaching
weekend. On the Saturday we had an outing and barbecue with
the cub pack and so on Sunday I, the boys, and one of their friends
found ourselves on the banks of the river.

Anxious to be out there myself, I set up four spin rods to bottom
fish using nymph flies to set out for the boys. A chance of success,
at least, and as the boys are just learning to cast this method allowed
for a tangle free experience while freeing Dad to fish rather than untangle
lines. Teaching will come later. Right now the fever is with me and the
fervor will lessen only with each cast into the dark calming waters.
Fifteen minutes later and the Bow opened her doors to me. A light
take on the fly but when the hook was set the reel started its reeeeeeeeeeee
as the trout broke water and then stripped line out to the backing.
Two more runs and the rainbow made way to the shore to have its
picture recorded. Two foot in length, a head almost as big as my
dogs’ head. Skinny from the long winter but still well over five pounds
in weight.  I can’t see the grin on my face as I am the one with the
camera but it is recorded too in the memory of the moment.

I put my fly rod up and away. Now was the time to encourage my
young fishermen, having set the proud example. The example I set
them was not so much catching a fish as the exhilaration surrounding
the catching of a fish.

You can stay young forever, but only for a time, now and then. Here and there.
May be on the river.